May 27, 2016

Dear Staff and AAP community,

Thank you to all who participated in our 2015 Community Survey!  We received over 900 responses from all four campuses and were able to collect valuable data on the experiences of our community.  You can find the complete survey results here to see what the community has said.

The Staff and AAP Advisory Council will use these survey results to shape the Council’s agenda for the coming year.  From your responses we were able to establish the following list of priorities based on a weighted response.

  1. Evaluate the University’s compensation competitiveness (i.e., how our compensation structure compares with other local  non-profit and higher education organizations)
  2. Create opportunities in addition to merit increases for formal recognition of outstanding performance by Staff/AAPs, such as monetary bonuses, spot awards, additional leave, etc.
  3. Expand Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) benefits to include professional development
  4. Institute an exit interview process in order to better understand the employee experience and decision  to leave the University
  5. Offer commuter benefits to incentivize non-driving commuters
  6. Create a robust manager training program
  7. Implement an annual employee satisfaction survey
  8. Explore additional paid time off (PTO) options to include day of service/volunteerism and leave bank/leave donations
  9. Develop a comprehensive and timely new employee orientation and onboarding program
  10. Create a Staff/AAP ombudsperson, who is a neutral advocate, able to confidentially assist and advise employees on matters concerning performance issues and other disputes
  11. Work towards establishing a smoke-free campus environment
  12. Eliminate paid time off (PTO) discrepancies between Staff and AAPs
  13. Update the current parental leave policy to include options for the birth or adoption of a child
  14. Create opportunities for employees to learn about various areas of the University through cross-training and temporary assignments
  15. Develop an optional mentoring program for employees
  16. Improve air quality including anti-idling enforcement and mitigation of dust and debris during construction
  17. Provide backup care options including day care, adult care and elder care
  18. Expand Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) benefits to include GU alumni Staff and AAPs for repayment of undergraduate student loans for GU tuition

This is also a great opportunity to share with you work that is already in-progress regarding many of these items:

Analyzing our compensation competitiveness: The Human Resources department is in the final stage of completing a comprehensive overhaul of the compensation and classification structure used to determine position grades and compensation at the university. This new structure will take into account our competitiveness with other employers and establishes a more transparent method for position classification. The Council has met with HR four times and participated in open forums where the project was discussed, to ensure this process takes into account the opinions of staff and AAPs. While this overhaul will not lead to any immediate compensation changes for existing employees, it should serve as a long-term improvement to Georgetown’s competitiveness and internal equity. The Council has noted that the compensation and classification project was completed using current job descriptions for all positions.  A natural next step in this process is to encourage departmental review of position descriptions to ensure they are up-to-date and reflect the position’s current roles and responsibilities. A current position description is the essential element to ensuring that all employees are in positions that are appropriately classified.

Create opportunities in addition to merit increases for recognition of performance:  The Ad Hoc Committee on Merit Increase Transparency spent a year or more meeting with various administrators, financial officers, faculty, and staff across the university.  The work of the Ad Hoc Committee highlighted a number of interconnected issues that surround the annual evaluation and merit process.  Many of the concerns raised in these discussions appeared in the staff survey, including:  (2) creating opportunities for recognition of outstanding work beyond the merit process, (4) developing an exit interview process, (6) offering a robust manager training program, (7) implementing an annual employee survey, and (10) the need for a staff/AAP ombudsperson.  The work of this group has been shared with some key executives and another detailed conversation is scheduled for the end of June.

Establishing opportunities for formal recognition of outstanding performance: In 2015 the President’s Excellence Awards Program for staff and AAP employees was established.   These annual awards recognize and celebrate Staff and AAP members who have demonstrated outstanding service and/or have made truly distinctive contributions to the University.   The awards recognize individual employees or teams of employees who are models of excellence – demonstrating performance above and beyond the outstanding performance expected of all University employees.  The Council discussed the need for recognition opportunities during many meetings with HR, financial affairs, and the Chief Operating Officer in 2014-2015, eventually leading to the implementation of this program and we continue to discuss and recommend other opportunities.

Creating a robust manager training program: Mary D’Amato was recently hired as the University Director of Talent Development and is in charge of the university’s talent management strategy.   This includes cultivating a culture of high performance through employee engagement, training and development programs and developing a culture of effective performance management.  One of Mary’s first tasks was development of a management training program, which was recently held for the first time in April. We have not had the opportunity to discuss and evaluate the program, but intend to soon.

Working towards a smoke-free campus environment: The Workplace Environment Committee is actively working with university administration to discuss how Georgetown will improve compliance with DC smoking laws and move toward joining our local peer institutions as a smoke-free university. 

Going forward:  In 2016 the Communications Committee will be working to establish a method of regular communication with our community to provide information about the work the council is doing as well as providing a place for information sharing about resources, experiences and events occurring around the university. 

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about what our community had to say and what the Council has been working on.  We look forward to sharing our progress with you as we work to address the interests of our community.


The Staff and AAP Advisory Council