Work teams recommend better communication, more staff participation


Recommendations contained in four staff work team reports focus on enhancing the work environment at McMaster through better communication and more staff participation.

The work teams, established to respond to the 1998-99 Reacon Staff Survey, looked at four areas of concern as documented in the survey: communication, staff involvement, recognition and development. A total of 48 University employees participated on the committees which began meeting in March.

The recommendations were presented to the Leadership Team on May 17. It will review the recommendations with each work team and report to the University community as a whole in two town hall meetings scheduled for June 27 and June 28.

Selected highlights of the 20 recommendations are summarized below.


That the University:

7 Endorse participatory management and require that department heads hold regular staff meetings

7 Ensure all staff have access to and are trained in electronic forms of communication

7 Ensure that the Office of Human Resources compiles a complete staff handbook with full information on staff policies and procedures, to be updated annually and to be available on its Web site

7 Establish additional staff lounges; all lounges to have electronic access to its Web site via computer terminal

7 Prepare detailed communication plans for all major changes affecting the majority of staff

7 Create a position of staff liaison in every department

Staff Involvement

That the University:

7 Hire an organizational change professional to implement a course of action that would result in a more participatory, open and respectful culture

7 Establish a policy for staff representation on selection committees for departments, for faculty chairs and for positions at the University level; and for staff representation on committees charged with reviewing policies and business plans at the department and University levels

7 Establish an internal electronic staff newsletter

Staff Recognition

That the University:

7 Rename the President's Staff Awards for Outstanding Service (the President's Staff Awards for Outstanding Contribution to the McMaster Community) and enhance the prestige of the awards presentation

7 Provide clarification of the annual performance review process, especially the relationship between the review and salary adjustments based on merit

7 Rename the Continuous Service Recognition Program (Cumulative Service Recognition Program) and add five- and 10-year awards

7 Expand non-monetary benefits to retirees and ensure these are well publicized

7 Implement a voluntary “recognition committee” in each department

Staff Development

That the University:

7 Provide better communication of its current staff development programs

7 Develop core competencies for managers

7 Provide and promote a variety of wellness/fitness activities for staff (e.g. reduced fee for use of the Ivor Wynne Centre, staff intramural sports programs)

7 Ensure there is consistency of application of policies relating to staff development, especially with regard to paid/unpaid time for required course work

7 Provide a career counselling service for staff

Members of the Leadership Team include the four chairs of the work teams along with vice-president administration Karen Belaire; University President Peter George; provost and vice-president academic Harvey Weingarten; and project manager Mary Williams.

A full detailed explanation of each recommendation, along with statements of purpose and the goals of each work team, can be viewed at the link below.