Meeting summaries for the current academic year are found below. Archives can be found in the menu at the left.
Presented by Todd Burson, vice president for finance.
When he arrived at Kenyon, President Decatur asked Senior Staff to develop an evaluation program following staff reports of dissatisfaction with the inconsistency of the current practices.
The Employee Performance Program Committee spent a year doing research and came up with the program, which will be implemented over the course of this academic year. The group looked at a variety of systems including 360 degree evaluations.
After creating a mission statement and a set of principles, the group worked to create a system that addressed the stated issues with the current annual review system.The new system requires at minimum quarterly check-ins between employee and supervisor and a more robust review every three years. An annual survey will also be used to gauge employee satisfaction.
The triennial review will provide an opportunity for supervisors to recommend bonuses for project-based work and merit raises. These will be reviewed by the division head and Human Resources.
Supervisor training and professional development are both core aspects of the program. The required training will set a baseline of expectations for all supervisors with specific focus on the review process.
The check-ins and annual reviews will be managed through documents in Google Drive.
The program will affect all non-faculty employees; discussions are ongoing with unions. The committee is aware that there are some difficulties specific to academic departmental administrative assistants due to the reporting structure. There will be a meeting on October 24 to discuss this in more detail.
Q: Could there an aspect of the triennial review process discussed when employees first arrive?
A: Part of the supervisor training will be about introducing new employees to the process, and specific objectives (expectations) will be discussed with new employees. Expectation setting will also be discussed at the quarterly check-ins. Updating job descriptions to match the review objectives is also part of implementation. Supervisors will be trained to set clear expectations.
Q: Could there be input from all groups with which an employee interacts (students, faculty, other staff)?
A: No — it’s not feasible to implement a more 360 degree process. The responsibility lies with the supervisor to gather additional feedback and discuss it with the employee.
Q: Will there be a process for employees to provide feedback when they are facing challenges — especially if they don’t have a clear single supervisor? Employees need a clear path to critique their supervisor(s) and to feel safe about speaking up.
A: The difficulty of implementing this in the academic division is currently being discussed. The ombudsperson and Human Resources will continue to be available for issues like this.
Q: Will this do away with the current compensation system?
A: No. It’s about reviewing performance and ongoing development, not really about pay scales — ranges and rates won’t change.
Q: What criteria will be used to award bonuses?
A: Documentation from check-ins — it will be specific to individual positions.
Q: What if a supervisor is not recognizing/rewarding performance?
A: This would be an issue for Human Resources, and will be covered in supervisor training.
Q: Will this affect years of service increases?
A: No. They will stay consistent regardless of how long an employee has been here.
Q: How will this work for supervisors whose employees are also supervisors? How will they evaluate how well their employee is supervising other employees?
A: Only the immediate supervisor and employee will have access to the check-in forms, but evaluating how well someone is supervising will be part of the triennial review.
Q: How will the implementation of the three-year review process work?
A: There will be stages — the details are still being worked out. LBIS and Finance will be the earliest adopters, with other divisions following over the course of the academic year. It is likely that, while all employees will begin the check-in process this year, the triennial reviews will be staggered. The committee has not decided which groups will be eligible for the triennial review first, second and third.
Q: How will the supervisor training be implemented?
A: It will be available for all divisions at the same time. Documentation is being prepared now, and online training will be available. Some supervisors will begin the check-in process before undergoing full training.
Q: Could the triennial reviews be implemented by longevity rather than by division? Could supervisors state a preference for when to conduct their first reviews?
A: The details are still being worked out.
Beginning this fall, a committee of eight Senior Staff members and will meet monthly to review all open non-faculty positions. Each position will be reviewed to determine whether there are more pressing resource issues. A number of options will be considered: fill the position as it is, wait a number of months, combine the position with another position, not fill the position. The committee will require additional documents from the supervisor and senior staff member.
Q: Will there be a form and process for employees to submit their open positions for review? Who will decide who does the work if a position is rejected?
A: There will be a document with a set of questions. If a position is rejected, the workflow will be part of the conversation.
Q: How will “greater need” be defined in terms of deciding that a position is unnecessary?
A: Needs will be defined as part of the budget process each fall.
Present: Rachel Curtis, Kyle Eddy, Ellen Harbourt, Shanon Hashman, Jared Hoffman, Alex Johnson, Emily Lindo, Miracle Mahle, Rebecca Matney, Susan Morse, Beth Pae, Nancy Sowders, Lisa Train, April Woodward-Ginther, Ashleigh Zarley
At the Thursday forum about the Employee Performance Program there will also be an update on the new Position Review Committee.
Jennifer Cabral in Human Resources provided the following information about the committee:
“The PRC was created by the Senior Staff last summer. The main objective of the committee is to ensure that limited financial resources are being spent prudently. Since 42 percent of the operating budget is spent on personnel, which is the largest expense item in the operating budget, Senior Staff felt that it was appropriate and necessary that when there is an open position, that the division heads of Senior Staff meet and review the effectiveness of the position in its support of the academic mission of the College. The monthly PRC meeting provides an opportunity for the division heads to understand the job duties of the position and determine if those financial resources could and/or should be used elsewhere on campus. The College is no longer in a position where it can continue to just add costs to the operating budget. If something is to be added to the operating budget, then something else must be taken away. The PRC provides an opportunity for all divisions around campus to have a voice at the table. Since the academic division currently has a review process for open faculty positions, the PRC only reviews non-faculty positions.”
Vice President for Finance Todd Burson will give an update about the Employee Performance Program on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 11:10 a.m. in the Community Foundation Theater. Ellen and Emily will take notes, which will be available online shortly. Todd will provide handouts at the forum. Academic admin assistants will have an additional meeting about the program on Oct. 24. The need for additional presentations will be evaluated after tomorrow’s session and following meetings with individual divisions.
Nancy and Ashleigh have been attending fortnightly Campus Senate meetings. The Senate is made up of students, faculty and staff members. So far, the meetings have focused on business, reviewing the membership, function and structure of the group, and some specific updates from areas like residential life.
Benefits and Policy
The committee has met twice and will meet again next week. Current work involves finalizing the process for donating and banking time off, and they will discuss what other topics to tackle this year. Ellen and Miracle are co-chairing the committee.
Ellen will follow up with Micah about the Staff Council member posters. Emily and Tristan will work on an email template for the lunch reminders and send out a save the date soon. A Staff Council hashtag will be promoted/tested at the October lunch.
90+ people showed up for the September lunch. Alex will send the menu for the October lunch to Tristan as soon as it is available. It will likely be soup, salad and sandwiches. The lunch will include a costume contest with the addition of a runway and parade this year. There will be ballots for voting and trophies. Athletics and LBIS are lined up to sponsor the certificates for the next two lunches. A combined Thanksgiving/holiday lunch menu is being worked on. Susan will follow up with Senior Staff about reported concerns regarding not having a December lunch.
22 cheer baskets were sent out in September! There will be another appreciation award for the October lunch. Winners can receive a coupon if they are unable to attend that month’s lunch.
Staff are concerned about how the West Quad construction will affect parking. Seth and Communications are working on a timeline. Emily has communicated the need for communication to the Communications team. Suggestion: an employee appreciation initiative that involves a reserved parking space for a week.
Present: Rachel Curtis, Kyle Eddy, Ellen Harbourt, Shanon Hashman, Jared Hoffman, Emily Lindo, Miracle Mahle, Rebecca Matney, Lori Moore, Susan Morse, Tristan Neviska, Beth Pae, Nancy Sowders, Ashleigh Zarley
Emily and Ellen volunteered to form a group to review the Staff Council bylaws this year. Other KSC members interested in the project can contact Emily.
Members discussed staff training in general at Kenyon: is it adequate and accessible? The communications subcommittee will compile a list of available training opportunities offered by various offices including Human Resources, LBIS and the Office of Communications and follow up with HR about listing them in a central place. KSC agreed that its role in facilitating training should focus on tips and tricks rather than specific technical/software training.
Members decided that Staff Council does not need to have it’s own social media accounts, but it would be fun to experiment with a hashtag promoted at the first lunch on Sept. 20. Proposed: #kenyonstaffcouncil
Members discussed whether Kenyon staff should write a freedom of information statement similar to the one published by the faculty. It was decided that staff don’t need to write a separate statement at this time: many of the concerns addressed by such a statement as they could relate to staff are covered in the staff handbook sections about employment policies and standards of conduct and/or could be raised in conversation with the College ombudsperson. The members affirmed the role of staff in supporting faculty and students in their commitment to freedom of expression.
The co-chairs reported on a request from the EPP committee to give an update on the status of the program and implementation timeline. Rebecca volunteered to follow up with the committee to confirm the presentation style (a feedback forum, discussion groups, a straightforward presentation with time for questions) and discuss logistics. Staff Council recommends organizing two sessions so that as many staff members as possible can attend. Members agreed on the need for clarity in communicating which staff members will be affected by the program.
Dates have been set for this semester’s all-employee lunches: Sept. 20, Oct. 25 and Nov. 15 with the additional College-wide holiday party taking place in December. New this year, the outreach committee with use a random generator to select a staff member to receive a KSC Appreciation Award, which will include a small gift bag and a free lunch.
The next Staff Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 4. in the Office of Residential Life conference room.
At the first meeting for the 2017-18 academic year, Kenyon Staff Council welcomed new members and introduced returning members.
The Staff Council subcommittees were described and members signed up:
• Benefits and Policy: Robyn Bowers, Ellen Harbourt, Shanna Hart, Jared Hoffman, Miracle Mahle
• Communications: Ellen Harbourt, Lauri Lange, Emily Lindo, Tristan Neviska
• Events: Shanon Hashman, Alex Johnson, Rebecca Matney, Lori Moore, Beth Pae, Lisa Train
• Outreach: Rachel Curtis, Kyle Eddy, April Woodward-Ginther
Elected positions: co-chairs Ashleigh Zarley and Nancy Sowders, treasurer Kyle Eddy, secretary Emily Lindo, election coordinator Rebecca Matney.
The next Staff Council meeting will take place Aug. 2 in the College Relations Center conference room, and Staff Council will also participate in a leadership retreat along with senior staff and the Faculty Executive Committee on Aug. 14.