Staff survey teams now formulating recommendations


It has been six weeks since the staff work teams began the process of formulating recommendations that will address the concerns expressed in the 1998 Reacon Staff Survey.

The four teams of randomly selected volunteers have been dealing with the key issues of communication, staff involvement, recognition (non-monetary) and staff development through brainstorming sessions, informal surveys, and lots of dialogue.

Following is a summary of the progress to date for each of the groups:

Staff Development: This work team began by defining staff development as “the thoughtful encouragement of an individual's skill set, career path and well-being. Investment by McMaster in its employees is focused on activities that will directly contribute to supporting the academic mission and vision of the University.” At this point, individual team members are researching recommendations which the group will then review and determine viability.

Staff Involvement: Team members have identified several areas that would benefit from the direct and meaningful participation of staff. Some of the ideas currently being investigated for their ability to positively change the “culture” of our shared work environment include: a mandated staff membership in policy and planning committees; the creation of a representative council; mandated staff membership on hiring/selection committees for all non-academic appointments; and the placement of suggestion boxes in all eateries along with a system devised to respond to these suggestions.

Recognition (non-monetary): The purpose of the recognition work team, as defined by its members, is to make recommendations that will ensure the acknowledgement of good performance, achievement and commitment through the enhancement of existing recognition programs and the promotion of informal expressions of appreciation in a thoughtful and consistent manner. Specifically, the group has reviewed existing formal means of recognition (the President's Staff Awards; Job Performance Review process) and researched possible new formal and informal means of recognition.

Communications: The communications work team has been discussing the various problems relating to the communication of information at McMaster. Realizing that communication is a two-way process, the work team has been trying to come up with solutions that might expedite this process in both directions. Possible suggestions include the institution of “staff use” computer terminals and appropriate training so that each member of McMaster's staff can receive and send e-mail as well as have access to the Web; a chief communications officer and staff liaison persons; updated staff handbooks; and other ideas.

The work teams are scheduled to submit up to 10 recommendations by mid-May to the Leadership Team, which consists of the chairs of the four work teams, the President, the provost, the vice-president administration and the project manager.

Each of the teams is to submit recommendations that are meaningful, credible, doable and practical. If you would like the work teams to consider your thoughts and comments on the issues of staff development, recognition, staff involvement and communication, please send an e-mail to or call the Staff Survey Response Line at ext. 23474. One of the volunteers will respond to your message.

(Submitted by Lynn Hruczkowski, chair, Recognition Work Team;
David Kidney, chair, Communications Work Team; Ray Procwat, chair, Staff Development Work Team; and Jennifer Wesson-Howes, chair, Staff Involvement Work Team.)