Category 4: Valuing People

 

4P1and4P2Credentials, Skills and Values of MCC Employees. MCC has invested considerable time and effort over the past several years improving the quality of job descriptions. Part of this focus on job descriptions has been to ensure that we are accurately stating the variety of requirements needed for success. The hiring process itself, particularly with respect to full-time employees and all faculty, is highly structured and monitored by Human Resources (HR) staff. Manager evaluations of candidates are evaluated by HR staff prior to inviting candidates to participate in the selection process. Disagreements between the hiring manager and HR staff are reconciled early in the process. In addition, the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) signs off on each full-time new hire validating that the candidate possesses the minimum qualifications. A similar documentation process is in place for part-time faculty.

4P3and4P4 Employee Recruitment, Hiring, Orientation and Retention. The recruitment process is highly structured and includes the involvement of internal stakeholders while retaining for the hiring manager the final selection decision. Open competitive efforts are conducted for most positions and advertising is conducted in appropriate markets depending on the nature of the job. Each selection process is well documented. HR staff maintain and are constantly updating an exhaustive inventory of recruitment sources organized by type of job. MCC is a charter member of the Higher Education Recruiting Consortium. The college annually updates its Affirmative Action Plan using an outside consultant and the data in this plan influences the recruitment efforts of the College.

4P5 Human Resources Planning. MCC’s office of Human Resources has developed a systematic approach for planning for changes in personnel. While no formal succession plans exist, HR does a great deal to track and measure employee retention and strengthen hiring and recruiting practices, both of which are well-developed and communicated throughout the organization.

The college’s compensation and benefits plans, its organizational stability and reputation, and its positive working environment produce a long-term turnover rate of approximately seven percent and most of this turnover is the result of retirements, promotional and growth opportunities and spousal transfers. An additional key factor contributing to retention is the open, transparent communication efforts of the President and senior management. The organization deals directly with dysfunctional or substandard performance and HR staff invest considerable time and effort assisting supervisors with such situations. While adhering to the principles of just cause and due process, employees are coached and as necessary, disciplined and exited where their performance is detrimental to the organization. Success in this area is largely dependent on the capacity, courage, tenacity and strength of individual supervisors.

Monthly recognition of outstanding faculty and staff, annual appreciation activities and a commitment to professional development opportunities are also factors in our retention success. While the College does not have a formal, structured retention program, a variety of factors influence the low turnover rate which is the key measure of retention. Results for employee retention appear in Figure 4-4 below. A formal orientation program is conducted for all new full-time faculty and staff and a comprehensive orientation program is conducted by Academic Affairs for new faculty.

4P6Organizational Productivity and Employee Satisfaction. MCC designs a number of its work processes to contribute to productivity and satisfaction among employees. The organizational culture is one of openness that requires stakeholder involvement in process design. The HR Office has created a cross-functional task force representative of the employee population; this group is convened on an ad-hoc basis to provide input when HR is initially considering new approaches (such as the revisions to the employee recognition program described in 4I1 below).

4P7Ethical Practices of Employees. All MCC employees operate under a comprehensive conflict of interest policy enacted by the Board of Trustees. This policy, which appears as item 5808 in the Board’s Human Resources policies, states that “Employees must not engage in any activities, transactions, or relationships that are incompatible with the impartial, objective and effective performance of their duties.” Specifically, this policy defines conflict of interest as a situation when “an employee is in a position to influence a decision or transaction in connection with or arising from the business dealings and relationships of Mott College, that may result in a benefit or personal gain for that employee or for a relative.” The entire text of MCC Board Policy 5808 may be accessed here:
http://www.mcc.edu/board_policies/5000.shtml#bp5808

In addition to Board policy, MCC Faculty and Student policies dictate the need for ethical practices on the part of all. MCC’s Academic Integrity policy begins with the sentence: “Ethical conduct is the obligation of every member of the Mott College community.” The entire policy appears here:
http://www.mcc.edu/policies/student_acad_integrity.shtml

Managers, supervisors, and other employees with the ability to purchase goods and services must sign a conflict of interest disclosure form on an annual basis. The form may be accessed here:
http://www.mcc.edu/hr/pdf/Conflict_of_interest.pdf

The MCC Purchasing Department abides by the highest standards of excellence and integrity in all our Supplier relationships. MCC is also committed to adhering to the Code of Ethics promoted by the National Association of Educational Buyers (NAEB).

4P8and4P9 Employee Training Needs. A number of different processes are used to determine employee training needs at MCC. For both faculty and staff, individual managers are charged with the development of the employees that report to them. Training needs for faculty are reviewed and determined in several different ways, including reviews by academic deans, program coordinators, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, as well as program advisory committees. For faculty, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) determines and provides training. In academic areas, professional development is often based upon assessment of student learning results. More detail about the CTL may be found in 1P11 above.

Training that is aligned with short-term planning is usually focused on new processes or systems. One example is MCC’s recent conversion to GMail as the college’s primary e-mail platform. Because nearly every college employee uses e-mail on a daily basis, this training was scheduled for all employees. Other types of mandatory training, such as Sexual Harassment Prevention Training, are deployed across the campus to all employees regardless of employee group.

4P10Employee Performance Evaluation. Employee evaluation at MCC varies by employee group and is subject to several collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with organized unions. Over the past several years, a concerted effort to bargain the principles of continuous improvement into personnel evaluation systems has taken place. The most developed example of this orientation appears in the contract for Faculty, the employee group that constitutes the majority of MCC’s total employees:

Faculty Evaluation and Development

The purpose of faculty evaluation and development is to establish a continuous improvement process focused on improving instruction and student learning and supporting professional growth through a meaningful faculty development program. When performance is significantly weak or unsatisfactory, the content of performance evaluation will be linked to the progressive discipline process. [Article X.2.b]

Figure 4-1 Faculty Contract Language on Evaluation and Continuous Improvement

A wide range of resources are available to managers in all areas to use personnel evaluation processes. Prepared and maintained by Human Resources, those resources may be accessed here:
http://www.mcc.edu/hr_protected/hr_supervisorinfo.shtml

Many of the personnel evaluation systems in place on campus are described in collective bargaining agreements (CBAs). The table below outlines the contractual provisions for MCC’s employee groups where applicable:

Employee Group Provisions for Evaluation
EA Full-time faculty members are probationary for the first three years of employment; continuing contract status granted after successful evaluations by Deans or designees and faculty committees; part-time/adjunct employees evaluated every other semester.
Exempt Exempt employees have no collective bargaining agreement (non-union); personnel evaluation not specifically documented outside of the materials available on HR web; varies from supervisor to supervisor.
M&O Employee performance provisions in contract linked to progressive discipline procedure.
PSO Personnel evaluation not specifically documented outside of the materials available on HR web; varies from supervisor to supervisor.
PT Contract specifies evaluation of non-probationary employees and includes development goals, listing of strengths and weaknesses, etc.
Secretarial/Clerical Personnel evaluation not specifically documented outside of the materials available on HR web; varies from supervisor to supervisor.
S&M Performance assessments specified in contract; every 12 months a written performance appraisal reviewed by employee and supervisor.
Figure 4-2 MCC Performance Evaluation Processes by Employee Group

A presentation of MCC’s orientation toward employee coaching and development is described in a document prepared by Human Resources which may be accessed here:
http://www.mcc.edu/hr_protected/pdf/rolloutpackage0305.pdf

4P11Employee Recognition, Reward, Compensation and Benefits. Given the College’s labor environment, compensation and benefits programs reward and recognize longevity. MCC has no compensation or benefit program linked to performance or contribution except to the extent that superior performers are provided promotional opportunities.

MCC’s compensation and benefits programs are at or above market and the institution has used a total compensation approach in bargaining. Where costs for components of total compensation are excessive, attention has been focused to bring such costs more in line with the market, even when this requires bargaining over many years. An example of this is the reduction in the cost of the College’s defined contribution retirement plan, which took several years to achieve through bargaining with three different units.

4P12Motivation of Faculty, Staff and Administrators. At present, MCC has no formal institution-wide process for employee motivation apart from the employee recognition activities described in 4I1 below. Individual managers do consciously determine key issues related to motivation of faculty, staff, and administrators; they analyze motivational issues and select courses of action independently. During standing meetings—such as faculty, division, and department meetings—various strategies are employed to motivate employees and keep them informed of important developments.

4P13Employee Satisfaction, Health and Safety. To promote health and wellness, Human Resources has contracted with HelpNet, a confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for MCC employees and their families. In addition, Human Resources maintains a web page with links to various health and wellness services provided by the various insurance providers. The Health Sciences Division also operates a full-service Fitness Center with hours Monday – Thursday. MCC operates its own police department (for a detailed description of public safety processes, see the answer to item 6P3).

MCC has also created a large group of employees in every campus building as members of an Emergency Response Team (ERT). When an emergency has been declared on campus, members of the ERT wear yellow vests/jackets and provide directions for taking shelter, exiting buildings or other safety instructions. MCC employees are trained to quickly and accurately follow their directions.

4R1 and 4R2Measures and Performance Results for Valuing People. Currently, no systematic process exists for the evaluation of satisfaction for current employees. Human Resources does conduct exit interviews with regular, full-time employees who leave the institution. An analysis of the exit interview reports from December 2005 – August 2008 show a high degree of satisfaction on a number of indicators:

Question Strongly Agree / Agree No Opinion Disagree / Strongly Disagree
Overall, a nice place to work 91% 6% 3%
I felt proud to have been an employee 91% 3% 6%
Policies were consistently and fairly applied 64% 12% 24%
Lines of communication were open between management and staff/faculty 76% 6% 15%
There was good cooperation in my department 85% 6% 9%
My supervisor was knowledgeable about his/her job 79% 18% 3%
Employee morale was positive 79% 3% 15%
I felt I worked up to my capability 88% 3% 9%
Figure 4-3 Employee Exit Survey Data, 2005-2008

The only potential area of concern in the data above is the nearly 25% of respondents who disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement “Policies were consistently and fairly applied.” It should be noted, however that of this 25%, only 3% responded that they strongly disagreed.

In the absence of direct measures of employee satisfaction, historical turnover rates demonstrate a constant rate of attrition. MCC’s turnover rate is low, and the exit interviews and surveys referenced in 4R1 and 4R2 above indicate that employees’ reasons for leaving are largely external. Historical turnover rates are tracked by MCC’s Office of Human Resources:

Employee Group 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
EA 3.39% 6.32% 6.26% 7.58% 3.54% 6.15% 5.40%
Exempt 24.16% 7.29% 0.00% 3.63% 3.61% 7.12% 6.96%
M&O 2.33% 4.83% 7.16% 0.00% 4.19% 0.00% 2.22%
PSO 11.59% 24.15% 29.35% 24.60% 24.15% 17.27% 50.86%
PT 14.86% 6.49% 12.76% 9.40% 12.19% 8.56% 4.31%
Secretarial/Clerical 8.03% 8.21% 4.85% 8.51% 1.77% 8.39% 5.05%
S&M 9.10% 0.00% 7.41% 4.59% 4.61% 4.56% 6.91%
Total 8.34% 6.73% 7.86% 6.90% 6.02% 7.69% 9.13%
Figure 4-4 Historical Turnover Rates 2000-2006

4R3Evidence of Employee Productivity and Effectiveness. MCC currently collects no specific measures of productivity and effectiveness for faculty, staff and administrators. For this reason, we have no performance results to report on this question. The SIEF report data reported in 3R2 above is one potential measure of productivity and effectiveness for faculty employees (see Figure 3-2 above).

4R4Benchmarking Results for Valuing People. While MCC does collect and analyze some performance results on processes for valuing people, at this time we have no comparison data from other organizations. In the future, MCC plans to systematically gather measures of its processes in this area—in particular employee recognition, motivation, reward, safety and training—and seek external measures for benchmarking our results against higher education and outside organizations.

4I1Recent Improvements in Valuing People. MCC makes continuous efforts to find ways to make improvements to processes that value people, some formal, others informal. Since AQIP Conversation Day in 2005, these improvement efforts have become increasingly more systematic and comprehensive. One notable improvement is the creation of the Bear Bistro, described in detail in 9P3 and 9P4 below. Another significant improvement in this category relates to MCC’s annual employee recognition event. The previous, long-standing event had become routine and not well attended. When an endowment for a small cash award ran out, Human Resources used that opportunity to study a way to demonstrate that the organization valued current employees and those soon to retire by creating a new type of event.

HR replaced the yearly award with an “employee of the month” program. In the place of the formal program and previous “Golden Apple” award, HR designed a new event with a rolling time frame and less formal setting. The Employee of the Month program, along with other employee recognition initiatives, is described in greater detail here:
http://www.mcc.edu/hr_protected/hr_employeerecognition.shtml

This year’s event was themed as a Hawaiian Luau; food, events, games, and raffle drawings were organized at MCC’s Event Center. The event featured live music by the Mott Middle College High School Steel Drum Band, a limbo contest, and other fun activities. Employees were encouraged to wear Hawaiian shirts and take a break from their day to attend the event. Throughout the event, the college President presented honors to retirees and two outstanding employees of the year.

One significant portion of the retiree recognition program was retained: The Friends of the Mott Library continue to honor MCC retirees by purchasing and donating a book selection of the retiree’s choice. Often times these choices are a mix of academic or recreational reading. For many years this has been a meaningful and popular way in which to honor retirees.

4I2Improvement Efforts for Valuing People. MCC’s culture and infrastructure create an atmosphere that is conducive to valuing people. A common method of discussing improved performance in this area is the frequent President’s Open Forum; these are events organized by the President’s Office. Open Forums are regularly held for students at MCC’s major locations. The President and senior college administrators usually make a very brief presentation and solicit comments, questions, and feedback from the students in attendance. A note-taker records the student comments and these are discussed and evaluated by EC, which develops appropriate action steps. An example of notes from a recent Open Forum for students may be found here:
http://www.mcc.edu/student_services/incl_ss/notable07-08/notable_presforum07.shtml

Open Forum events are also scheduled for employees; these are usually focused on a particular topic of interest to the entire college community. In the recent past, these events have focused on financial issues facing the institution. The President also used these events to gather input from MCC employees and community members during our transition to AQIP in 2005, the strategic planning process in 2001 and 2006, and the selection of initial AQIP Action Projects in 2006. At present, MCC has set no formal, institution-wide targets for improved performance in this category.

The President has also encouraged a group of MCC employees to schedule and promote off-campus events that are not officially sanctioned by the college. The Social Activities Team (SAT) was formed in 2008 and has organized non-college events for employees and their families. The purpose of the group is to foster social connections that extend beyond daily work life at MCC. Recent events have included a family night at a corn maze and a laser light show at the local planetarium.