This summer campus managers and supervisors will get some new clues in their search for a roadmap to the stunning array of changes they encounter. The Employee Development and Training unit of Personnel is sponsoring a full-day workshop called Taking Advantage of Change.
The workshop, along with a workshop on delegation that will also be offered this year, is part of the campus effort to help managers and staff prepare for the Berkeley Financial System (BFS), new personnel policies that will take effect July 1 and the Human Resources Management System (HRMS).
For example: Suppose you're the MSO of a medium-sized department, and you're working on your budget for next year. You know you need to include the cost of Windows and Excel training for the administrative staff, and you also need to find time for them to be trained on the new Berkeley Financial System. You have a suspicion that you might even have to buy new computers to handle the BFS.
While you're thinking about the BFS, you remember that you're supposed to decide who's going to have signature authority in the new system. You wonder whether you're really ready to change the way you manage controls over financial transactions; you also wonder how to prepare your staff for these new authorities.
Meanwhile, you just talked with your department chair about reorganizing the department. You need to start thinking about who will be doing what next year, but you know the staff is going to be nervous when they hear about it. Should you tell them in advance or wait till all the decisions are final?
These issues and many more like them are faced by managers every day. Between budget cuts, administrative reorganizations and new systems like the BFS, managers have no choice but to prepare for change. The "Taking Advantage of Change" workshop is designed to help managers and supervisors learn how to plan for change instead of simply reacting to it.
After she attended the same workshop last winter, manager Anita Joplin of Molecular and Cell Biology said that "this is not a typical training class on change management. The focus is on overcoming resistance to change, providing practical systems to keep people on track, and effectively communicating change strategy, progress and success." Assistant Dean Leslie Leonard of L&S liked the workshop too; she said it gave her "practical suggestions" for planning changes and managing resistance.
Administrative departments at Berkeley have been planning for the new financial and human resources systems for a couple of years, ever since the vice chancellors approved the Berkeley Administrative Initiatives. Implementation of the BFS will begin this year; funding for HRMS was approved by the chancellor in December, so that system will be implemented later.
The BFS is an online computer system that will provide more reliable and meaningful financial processing, reporting and information, based on a redesigned chart of accounts and a relational database management system. It's intended to eliminate duplicate entry of financial information across campus. The HRMS will automate personnel transactions and provide human resources information for planning and analysis.
As campus planners thought about the changes needed to implement these systems, they realized that users would need sophisticated computer skills. In addition, the systems meant that work would be done in different ways; for example, both BFS and HRMS involve changes in work processes and signature authorities.
In 1994 the Vice Chancellor's Administrative Council formed an interdisciplinary group called the Management Council to identify issues and challenges the campus would face in preparing for BFS and HRMS. The Management Council considered the impact of these systems along with the many other changes taking place.
The Management Council decided on the term "Organizational Readiness" to describe the state when "executive leaders, managers and staff in Berkeley departments are prepared to accomplish work in new ways using technology and streamlined processes."
This definition includes both technical and non-technical needs; the council went on to recommend specific actions to support campus managers and staff trying to reach the state of "readiness."
How Does Training Fit In?
Training is one major area of support identified by the Management Council, and the Organizational Readiness project in Personnel is based on a comprehensive curriculum designed to build the skills that will be needed. The first classes have centered around the technical and management skills needed to integrate BFS and HRMS successfully into department processes, since those systems will be implemented over the next several years.
BFS installation begins this year, with 12 departments chosen to pilot the system. The HRMS implementation team has recently been formed and will begin planning in May. The CALPACT (Cal People and Computer Training) program, co-sponsored by Personnel and IST, is assessing the computer training needed for the two systems, including basic computer skills as well as Windows and Excel classes specifically tailored for BFS and HRMS users.
Along with computer-related classes, the Organizational Readiness program includes non-technical workshops like Taking Advantage of Change. Later in the year, managers will have a chance to attend a workshop on delegation of authority, taught by Lynda Chenoweth, former director of the Management Analysis Group. Additional short sessions, taught by Chenoweth and Carolyn Smith, manager of Policy, Planning and Systems in Accounting Services, will cover delegation issues related to work flow and business processes.
Last year, many managers and staff members also attended sessions in a series "Working in Teams." Supervisors participated in a redesigned Performance Management series, which included a year-long curriculum focused on performance standards, performance appraisal and communication.
While those classes were being planned and offered, a campuswide committee has been working with EDT to identify the "core competencies" that managers need to be effective in their jobs --both current and future--and to build a training curriculum that supports those competencies.
Where to Get
Among the issues identified by the Management Council is the need for communications on the wide range of projects, programs and reports addressing change at Berkeley. Just keeping up with the names of all the groups and initiatives has been a challenge.
The Management Council's 1995 report, which includes 17 recommendations, is posted on Infocal under Campus Directives. Information about many of the Personnel Office training programs is available on the Personnel gopher, in the EDT catalog of programs and services, in SuperVision newsletter and in Berkeleyan. When Human Resources launches its World Wide Web site later this year, campus staff and managers will find information about the Organizational Readiness project and other related programs.