Training and employment procedures
Note: Delphi Question 506 consists of four parts. A response is provided at the end of each part of the question.
Delphi Question #506 (received 12 September): While it appears that UCAR encourages career development for administrative staff, management and supervisory classes appear to be limited to people who are presently managers or supervisors. If there are unfilled slots in a class, administrative staff may be permitted to attend. What is the best way for an administrative staff person to gain training in management and supervision? What type of permission/support does that person need from a supervisor or division administrator? How will such training be evaluated if an administrative person applies for a management or supervisory position?
Response (received 14 October): UCAR is working to provide managers and supervisors with training to maximize their effectiveness in working with all levels of employees and to best advance UCAR’s mission and strategic plans. Because of limited offerings for these classes we must offer participation first to those in the target audience. However, there are numerous classes in the FY04 Staff Development Catalog that are appropriate for those working to develop their interpersonal skills.
UCAR encourages staff to pursue internal and external professional development opportunities, and many of these are listed on the Staff Development or Career Planning Web pages. College classes or degree programs may be funded through UCAR’s Educational Assistance Program, and classes are available through professional organizations such as Mountain States Employers Council, although these must be funded within the division or program. The Skills/Learning Exchange at https://www.fin.ucar.edu/sle/slmainmenu.jsp provides resources for employees to connect with one another. There are many online learning sites, books, and videos on professional development topics. Rich learning can also be provided through exploration with one’s supervisor regarding special project work or other such learning opportunities, with Human Resources staff on career development avenues, and with those in the field in which the employee is interested.
The supervisor must provide advance approval if time is to be taken from work to participate in learning programs. This ensures appropriate funding and coverage for the work that must be done. A common theme here is that it is the employee who owns his or her career development. UCAR can provide resources for that development.
Applicants for a supervisory or management position are evaluated on a range of criteria such as experience, education, and training, including education and training both inside and outside UCAR.
Question: Several administrative staff have stated at meetings that while they have taken courses and developed expertise in an area of interest, e.g., Web design or meeting planning, and they do quite a bit of such work as part of their jobs, these tasks are not in their job descriptions and they are not successful in being interviewed for IT or meeting planning jobs here. What do such administrative people need to do to become qualified applicants?
Employees who would like tochange fields or advance to higher levels within their current field of work are encouraged to prepare a career development plan. Human Resources staff can work with individuals who would like guidance in this area.
Question: Many administrative assistants have stated that they do much more sophisticated work or a greater percentage of such work than would appear from their job descriptions, yet have run into a brick wall when trying to get reclassified. There is much speculation as to the causes, from an attempt by the institution to keep wages depressed to an attempt to keep good people from leaving their positions for greener pastures. What gives?
Response: UCAR does not attempt to suppress wages; in fact we are considered to be a leading employer. We do, however, have budget constraints. The employee may have skill sets that exceed his or her current classification, but the job is classified based on the actual work performed whether it be in computing, scientific, or administrative groups.
The dynamics of our work world is that jobs change rapidly, especially as new technologies become available. For example, when computers were introduced word processing was a new way of doing work and that specialized skill may have commanded greater pay. However, word processing soon became the norm and no longer warranted special pay. More recently we have software that allows many of us to work on Web pages without extensive knowledge of design and HTML.
We integrate new skills into our jobs on a regular basis; sometimes it changes the level of the job and sometimes it does not. Employees should work with their supervisors to update the job description if there is a significant change to the job content so that Human Resources may review the changes. If the employee believes the supervisor inappropriately denies additional review of the job description, the employee may access the Problem Resolution Policies and Procedures in an effort to resolve his or her concerns on this or other issues.
Question: From reading the list of new hires in the daily calendar, it appears that not all positions are posted on the weekly announcement of open positions. How does this system work?
Response: All jobs are posted on the Career Opportunities Web page unless there is an approved waiver of the normal requirement to post a position, as specified in the Search and Selection Policy 2-1-3 and Procedures. This occurs infrequently. In addition, scientific visitors need not be competed through our search and selection process, but when a visitor is on our payroll he or she is listed as an employee.
•Terry Woods, manager
Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the Delphi Coordinators. They should be submitted in written form, preferably via interoffice mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential. They must be signed. Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, section 4-1-2, and on the Delphi Web site, www.ucar.edu/delphi. Staff Notes Monthly publishes questions and answers of general interest to staff, and the Delphi Web site has a log of all questions submitted since 1995.