The Campus Responds on Human Resource Initiatives

Gregory: 'We Want Staff to Help Us Make Sure That Any New Programs Designed for Human Resources Will Meet the Needs of Berkeley Employees'

Human Resources Director Alice Gregory has sent the Office of the President a set of recommendations based on campus responses to the Human Resource Initiatives presented in Phase I of the review process.

The initiatives, which outline concepts for wide-ranging revisions in human resource management, are part of a trend toward simplifying administrative processes. The new Payroll/Personnel system, the Berkeley Financial System, and Project HIRE are all examples of the move toward streamlined processes and distributed authority.

Gregory said last week, "It's absolutely vital that employees read the Human Resource Initiatives, ask questions about them, and give us their input on the ideas contained in the initiatives.

"The responses we've received so far prove that Berkeley employees have a lot to say about their personnel programs. We want staff members to help us make sure that any new programs designed for human resources will meet the needs of Berkeley employees."

As outlined in the Sept. 28 Berkeleyan, staff and managers had several opportunities to hear about the initiatives during Phase I, at open forums, and in meetings with smaller groups. (The initiatives apply to non-academic staff members in the Staff Personnel Program, Administrative and Professional Staff Program, and the Management and Professional Program, as well as Executive, but not to employees covered by collective-bargaining agreements.)

The comments received in Phase I were extremely valuable in developing the preliminary campus response to Office of the President. In Phase II, the Berkeley Campus Personnel Office will be hosting additional meetings, setting up work groups, and developing more detailed proposals. Employees are invited to continue sending written responses and questions to Personnel, whether or not they are able to attend information sessions. Personnel may not be able to respond to each person individually, but will use the questions and comments to plan Phase II and develop further proposals.

Send questions and comments in writing to Alice Gregory, director of Human Resources, 207 University Hall, #3540.

The Human Resource Initiatives document is available online on the Office of the President gopher under Universitywide News. Review copies are available at the Doe Library reference desk and the Berkeley Campus Personnel Office, 207 University Hall, along with copies of the systemwide reports "Developing the UC Workforce for the 21st Century" and "Sustaining Excellence in the 21st Century."

Summary of the Campus Response

1. The consultation process should take into account the significant differences in cultures within the campus community, particularly the differing needs and perceptions of faculty, managers, and employees; of academic departments and business units; and of centralized offices and small local units.

Recommendation: It is critical that campuses have time for extensive consultation. Each major area should be reviewed systematically, and change should be incremental. Our experience with re-engineering our employment process (Project HIRE) has confirmed the need for this approach. The compensation portion alone will require a major commitment of time and energy.

2. Effective implementation will require extensive training as well as new assessment techniques and accountability measures.

Recommendation: As a first step, we have developed a campus Training Master Plan, and we are exploring the possibility of mandatory training for supervisors. However, significant resources must be available for training and assessment, and training has to go hand-in-hand with tools (primarily technological support).


Most people acknowledged the importance of a human resource philosophy statement. Criticisms were few but valid: The philosophy statement should be as specific as possible so it can direct the actions that flow from it.

Recommendation: As an example of more specific language, in place of "We value diversity," state diversity is critical to the University's success, and therefore programs will support and encourage diversity. We are working with the Staff Affirmative Action/Diversity Office to ensure that the final document emphasizes the importance of diversity.


1. The comments reflected agreement that the four-tier system is too complex. Most respondents felt that although one tier sounds nice, it would not work in practice. The differences between exempt and non-exempt employees seem to suggest a division along those lines.

Recommendation: Learn from other institutions about their experience with tier systems. We may not be able to operate effectively without at least two tiers (exempt and non-exempt, or perhaps management and non-management).

2. Employees did not understand why the presidential policies were confined to an appendix, and why the employee development policy had been deleted.

Recommendation: The presidential policies should be at the front of the document, because they are the foundation from which other policies will flow. We recommend they be minimal, based on legal requirements and areas in which inconsistencies among campuses would present problems. We believe that Employee Development deserves a statement included in the presidential policies, as does diversity.


As expected, employees expressed more concerns about compensation than any other area. There was general agreement that the classification system is too cumbersome. However, many respondents were concerned about what they perceived as threats to compensation. They felt:

* The movement away from steps might lead to smaller or less equitable increases and term appointments might create less job security.

* That non-base-building increases represent a takeaway.

* That merit increases could not be determined fairly without significant (and mandatory) training for supervisors and better assessment tools.

* That administrators need to be trained to evaluate and reward teamwork.

* And that greater attention is needed to bringing salaries up to the market rate or to recognizing cost of living.

Recommendation: Compensation is the area in which we should proceed most cautiously. We are moving ahead on simplifying the classification system, but we need to consult extensively before making other changes in compensation. Most important, we need to recognize that pay-for-performance cannot work without adequate funding. Until we know that funding is available, we should not make significant changes in the merit-pay system.


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