Human Resources Initiatives, Policies, and Management Skills Development


Prior to introducing process streamlining tools or pursuing specific process improvement projects, key Human Resources foundation tools were needed. These cross-cutting, underpinning tools aim to reinforce behavior that simplifies administration; de-bureaucratizes the organization, flattens it and reduces its size; outsources when feasible; and fosters team-based innovations.

Analysis showed that classification policies pertaining to management positions rewarded bigger budgets, organizational layering, organizational complexity, and bureaucratic rigidity. Analysis also revealed that some managers were reluctant to pursue downsizing, radical restructuring, or outsourcing due to classification disincentives or concern about the University's mediocre track-record in re-employing displaced staff. Finally, performance evaluation did not reinforce team behavior, innovation, and process streamlining to the extent needed for consistent support of campus administrative improvement goals.

The following programs address these problems.

UCI Re-employment Program

A program to provide support for employees affected by layoff was implemented at UCI, with these objectives:

  • Minimize number of employees laid off
  • Enhance opportunities for constructive re-employment for competent, experienced staff displaced by either budget cutbacks or work redesign
  • Demonstrate support to employees affected by layoff
  • Maintain morale and productivity of staff who remain.

Program Attributes:

  • Consultation by the manager with Human Resources and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity when making layoff decisions
  • Vice Chancellors responsible to attempt reassignment through internal transfer and re-training wherever/whenever feasible
  • Institutional commitment to internal recruitment
  • Six-month trial employment for laid-off individuals, during which either the manager or the employee can decide whether a good fit exists
  • Full funding of one University Extension course per quarter for individuals affected by layoff, if applicable to re-employment
  • Waiver of the membership fee for the Women's Opportunity Center for laid-off employees, including access to the Job Search Resource Room
  • Availability of external outplacement services at UCI expense
  • Continuation of employees' health insurance coverage for four months beyond normal eligibility
  • Campus funding for one month's salary to support a training period when a department hires a laid-off employee -- an incentive for managers/units to rehire a displaced employee.

The key success factors in this program are the six-month trial employment feature and the one-month salary/training incentive. The University's prior preferential rehire policy had been only marginally effective due to the lack of a probationary period for rehired employees. This program has received support from the Staff Assembly and collective bargaining units, and has paid for itself in terms of reduced unemployment claims, reduced recruitment and training expenses, and avoided grievances. This program was recognized by a 1995 NACUBO Innovative Management Achievement Award.

Size-Neutral Managerial Position Classification

In support of right-sizing imperatives and strategic directions now being pursued by the University, the job factors affecting classification within the Management and Professional (MAP) and Administrative and Professional Staff (A&PS) programs have been redesigned, removing reference to size factors. In addition, in order to reduce the tendency of some managers to pursue reclassification by adding functions at the margin, a policy change now requires that greater than 50 percent of a job's content fall clearly into a higher classification level in order to warrant reclassification.

Program Objectives:

  • Eliminate incentives in classification process for managers to build large, complex organizations and to engage in related dysfunctional patterns
  • Eliminate disincentives for managers to simplify processes, streamline operations, or downsize their units.

Program Attributes:

  • Removal from classification factors reference to number of staff, size of budget, amount of square footage, or layers of organization for which position is responsible
  • Applicable to nearly all UCI management and supervisory classifications.

Management Skills Development

In an effort to augment the management skills of UCI managers, Administrative and Business Services sponsors a Management Innovation Series, a series of breakfast seminars focused on change management, innovation, and customer service.

Program Objectives:

  • Create a steady infusion of good management ideas, practices, and innovations from outside the institution
  • Improve administrative effectiveness, productivity, and systems
  • Stimulate innovative thinking.

Program Attributes:

  • Speakers/topics selected to support UCI philosophies and improvement objectives
  • Examples of topics: Human Resources Innovation, Essential Elements of an Effective Team, Option Thinking vs. Logical Thinking, The Human Side of Change, Sailing Through Change, Managing the Surviving Workforce, Energize That Creative Lightbulb!, Costs of Organizational Distrust, Fun at Work, Leadership: Why We Need New Models.

In addition, A&BS sponsors training workshops outlined in detail elsewhere in this booklet:

Technology Basic Skills classes
Management Uses of Technology Workshop
Business Process Innovation Workshops
Team Facilitator Training

Training completed by A&BS managers/employees is summarized in the Progress Report Section.

Renewed Emphasis on Performance Evaluation

Chancellor Wilkening has emphasized the importance of performance evaluation at all levels in the University as a key tool in pursuing the campus strategic objectives. In Administrative and Business Services, managers performance evaluations are linked to Action Plans, Business Process Innovation projects, and performance objectives that derive from the campus strategic goals.

Chancellor Wilkening has emphasized that performance evaluationstarts at the top, and has utilized the following self-evaluation checklist at UCI's executive level. It contains many elements that support the campus pursuit of strategic objectives and sustainable administrative improvement, including key leadership attributes; analytical approaches that support strategic thinking; and management behavior that fosters teamwork, performance improvement, innovation, service, and quality:

Executive Behavioral Performance Attributes

1. Leadership

  • Recognizes leadership as a shared, earned responsibility rather than as the equivalent of authority.
  • Focuses the organization on what it can become, rather than on what it has been.
  • Communicates respect for people at all levels and fosters a climate of mutual respect.
  • In making decisions, considers the goals and good of the whole.

2. Evidences strategic thinking

  • Employs analytical models to develop strategies for improvement and converts strategies into effective action.
  • Focuses on how to apply allocated resources to best advantage, rather than on what could be done with what one does not have.
  • Evaluates and acts on systemic aspects of problems, rather than immediate, superficial issues.
  • Anticipates problems rather than reacting / engaging in "crisis management."

3. Builds and gets the best out of a diverse workforce

  • Exercises care in making high-quality, diverse appointments.
  • Instills pride in performance, service, resourcefulness, innovation, and quality.
  • De-fuses entrenched situations and rechannels them into accepted solutions and constructive outcomes.
  • Understands and acts on the need of people to feel valued and competent -- to believe that they can have a positive effect.
  • Understands the difference between constructive and destructive competition, and manages to avoid the latter, with its undermining effect on individual self-respect.

4. Stimulates improved organizational performance

  • Fosters teamwork through cooperative efforts and support for shared success.
  • Rewards experimentation, responsible risk-taking, innovation, and learning from experience.
  • Effectively aligns responsibility, accountability, and authority.
  • Sets specific, mission-linked, and measurable performance goals for unit, teams, individuals, and improvement endeavors.

5. Fosters a climate of openness

  • Supports and stimulates constructive criticism, forthright appraisal of problems, and tolerance of disagreement in the interests of improving organizational performance, and accepts criticism of self.
  • Evidences respect for facts, data, and objective analysis.
  • Faces disagreements, misunderstandings, and performance problems forthrightly and sensitively, rather than withdrawing from conflict.
  • Combats an organization's denial of its own defects and their causes.

Incentive Award Program

In an effort to recognize staff employees, individually and in teams, for their contributions in support of organizational objectives, the UCI Incentive Award Program was established. This single, streamlined program consolidated three prior incentive award programs.

Program Objectives:

  • Reward staff accomplishments that further UCI's strategic goals
  • Emphasize and reward outcomes that improve customer service, eliminate waste, or simplify processes
  • Strike a balance in awarding individual and team accomplishments, communicating the importance of team participation and team successes.

Program Attributes:

  • Nominations may be submitted by a supervisor, manager, co-worker, customer, or by self-nomination (award decisions are made by management)
  • Team awards are applicable to teams which are either unit-based or which cross departmental lines
  • Award eligibility criteria require a recent performance evaluation
  • Awards range from $300 to $3,000 per recipient (non-base building)
  • Managers are encouraged to celebrate and publicize conferring of awards.

Survey of Management and Organizational Patterns

A survey (administered to all A&BS employees) measures value-based management behaviors and traits along four dimensions:

  • Emotional and ethical consistency
  • Accepts responsibility and acts responsibly
  • Open-minded behaviors and attitudes
  • Communications traits and behaviors

The survey also measures desired organizational performance patterns outlined throughout this Model -- in such areas as teamwork, addressing problems, sharing information, sharing responsibility, taking risks, resolving conflicts, valuing innovation, and respecting coworkers.

The survey's measurements enable the Model to be validated to the extent that significant correlations are evident between management traits and behaviors and desired organizational performance patterns.

Streamlined Performance Evaluation Program

The staff performance evaluation process has been simplified in response to customer needs expressed during an extensive consultation process involving managers and employees.

Program Objectives:

  • Establish a single performance evaluation process and form for use across all personnel programs and exclusively-represented employee groups (replacing four distinct processes)
  • Make the process and the form itself simpler, shorter, and easier to use in order to increase the completion rate
  • Encourage supervisor-subordinate dialogue leading to mutual agreement regarding priorities, goals, and training plans
  • Emphasize and reward team participation and contributions
  • Support, encourage, and reward innovation, process improvement, and administrative streamlining.

Program Attributes:

  • A single evaluation form, relying predominantly on a checklist format
  • Performance criteria emphasize team behaviors, innovation, and process improvement
  • Features a section to highlight goals and training.

The new performance evaluation form includes several measures of teamwork attributes and an emphasis on process improvement.