1. A commitment to effective communications and transparency in decision-making
This principle includes how we make decisions about policies, strategic direction and finances, and the factors influencing such decisions. It also encourages you to tell us your concerns and views on issues facing the University and our work environment. To fulfill this commitment, we will have regular communication, including reports and updates from key decision makers; establish organizational structures through which you can become more involved in certain areas of decision-making, provide information and express your views on matters facing the University; and clarify the information on basic questions such as benefits, compensation, policies and expectations.
2. An understanding of employment as a package of rewards, challenges and professional opportunities deserving the University’s support.
The Mercer report underscored the changing nature of employment not just here, but also throughout higher education. Individuals at W&L in virtually every position—facilities management, public safety, faculty, food services, and all others—realize that being employed at a university involves dedication to a worthwhile set of values. Each day we come to work, we have the opportunity to influence someone’s life. And the activities on a college campus such as W&L provide rich opportunities for our own personal and professional fulfillment.
We need to view employment at a university in its broadest sense and to reward employees not only with fair and competitive compensation but also with secure benefits and opportunities for professional growth. We should structure our benefits to meet increasingly complex personal and family challenges. Opportunities for growth in one’s position should include effective training and support for professional development. Human resource professionals use the term “total rewards” to convey an understanding of employment as not simply a deal between an employee and an institution (i.e., wages for a job) but rather as a broad, mutual commitment between the employee and the organization.
Our initiative commits us to:
- Competitive and fair compensation as measured by external standards and internal equity;
- A comprehensive benefits package that seeks the best allocation of resources;
- Professional training opportunities;
- An awareness of how the challenges of balancing work and personal lives change at different stages of one’s life;
- Establishing and maintaining a professional human resources operation that supports this new approach.
3. A campus climate of inclusiveness, mutual respect and compassion.
Washington and Lee welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds and supports them throughout their careers here. We fulfill this commitment in two ways:
- First, we actively and positively promote inclusiveness, respect and compassion.
- Second, we ensure that the University will respond to and fix situations where individuals act in ways that are inconsistent with those standards.
Our initiative includes several steps:
- The establishment of a University-wide committee to assess our progress and alert us when we fall short;
- A proposal to revise our procedures for responding to specific incidents that seem to violate our principles;
- Greater attention during recruitment to ensure that qualified candidates from a variety of backgrounds will consider employment here;
- Training for supervisors and employees to help them fulfill these values in their everyday work.
1. Commitment to effective communications and transparency in decision-making
a. Regular town-hall meetings with the president, staff and faculty. We initiated these last spring and will hold them regularly.
b. Between these town-hall meetings, we will provide regular updates through a revised employee newsletter containing useful news and information.
c. In spring 2007 we initiated an annual budget report, and we will continue to distribute this report annually.
d. We are clarifying the charge of the existing Employee Advisory Committees and will publish minutes following each of their meetings.
e. We are revising the Employee Handbook to include additional information about the benefits of working at W&L and resources for employees.
f. We will present W&L and community resources in one easy-to-find document and an enhanced Human Resources Web site, which will make information available to both current and prospective employees.
2. An understanding of employment as a package of rewards, challenges, and professional opportunities deserving the University’s support
a. We have completed studies to understand how staff and faculty pay and benefits compare to pay and benefits at peer institutions.
b. We have committed $1.5 million to augment regular staff salary increases, and we will achieve salary benchmarks in deficient areas by 2014-2015. We have already made some adjustments in areas that were significantly below market.
c. The Lenfest challenge gift for faculty salaries will similarly allow us to meet benchmark targets in that area. These funds will lead to increases in total faculty compensation of approximately $3 million. We will make adjustments each year as fund-raising for the required match allows, with the goal of attaining the benchmarks by 2011-2012.
d. We have created a new Human Resources position focused on compensation and staff classification that will allow us to continue to assess market competitiveness and recommend appropriate adjustments.
e. This fall, we will begin work on a classification program, part of a comprehensive plan that includes performance development for staff that will focus on career planning, coaching, feedback and evaluation; recognize and reward exceptional performance; and enhance career mobility. We will include opportunities for staff and supervisor input at various stages.
Professional Development and Training
a. We will enhance employee orientation by emphasizing that all employees’ work and character are important to the success of the University, and by helping them understand the University’s mission, culture and values.
b. Staff and supervisor training and development are important to the continued success of Washington and Lee. An effective training program boosts performance and increases our employees’ ability to meet our goals. In addition, training opportunities help us attract and retain employees. Our program will present a framework for assessing training needs, designing courses to address those needs, delivering quality courses to our employees and continually evaluating the success of the program.
a. We have hired Charon Planning to negotiate and continually evaluate our benefit programs (in consultation with the administration) to ensure that they are competitive with those of our peer institutions, are designed to attract and retain the best qualified staff and faculty to Washington and Lee, and align with our total-rewards strategy.
b. In 2007-08 W&L contributed 62.5% to the health premium for each employee. We increased that contribution to 66% in 2008-09 (at a cost of $400,000). In the future, we will increase W&L’s contribution to health-care premiums to 75%.
c. We will increase our current maximum institutional contribution to retirement from 10% to 12%.
a. We have a created a new position in Human Resources, assistant director for work-life initiatives. Mary Katherine Snead starts in that job Oct. 15, 2008, and she is charged with understanding your needs about child care, eldercare, flexible scheduling and programs that support work-life balance. She will implement a new wellness program, manage all employee recognition programs, coordinate HR events and new-employee orientation and help dual-career couples. She will also serve as an HR consultant and work with employees and supervisors.
b. We will commit $50,000 annually to child-care concerns, and the Human Resources Office will work with local providers to enhance after-school child care.
c. We will commit seed money to help start a summer enrichment program for children of employees.
d. We will implement a Combined Time Off Program for vacation, floating holidays and other personal reasons, such as caring for immediate family members who are seriously ill and require care at home, or for children’s doctors’ appointments that cannot be scheduled outside of working hours. In the Combined Time Off Program, you will not have to distinguish how you are using the time, and departments will establish practices for providing notice of absences from work, and scheduling time away.
e. We will implement flexible scheduling of the work day and work week where possible.
f. The provost will work with the undergraduate deans and the registrar to develop a proposal for class-period time blocks that would aim to start the class schedule at 8:30 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m., and allow faculty meetings to start at approximately 3:00 p.m. Any such proposal for class-period blocks must be brought before the faculty for approval.
g. We have become a founding member of the Mid-Atlantic HERC (Higher Education Recruitment Consortium), a resource for dual-career couples that helps the spouses and partners of faculty and staff find jobs in the area. HERC provides a Web site with faculty and staff job listings at all member institutions.
3. A campus climate of inclusiveness, mutual respect and compassion
a. We will initiate a President’s Advisory Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate. This committee will:
i. Produce an annual report on equity and diversity that charts the University’s progress on key measures.
ii. Advise the president about inclusiveness and the campus climate.
iii. Study particular issues of concern, such as gender or racial relations, and make recommendations to the president for further action by the appropriate University officials, committees or administrative bodies.
iv. Provide an institutional platform to address issues of equity and diversity, in response to concerns within the campus community.
b. We will adopt the recommendations outlined in the Grievance Committee Report.
i. We will pilot an ombuds program for two years. In the second year, we will review the program’s effectiveness and decide if we should renew it.
ii. We will implement a campus mediation program that will train and certify faculty and staff to help resolve employment-related disputes.
iii. We will advance the committee’s recommendations on new procedures for dealing with discrimination against faculty, staff and other non-students. And we will combine the current two prohibited discrimination policies (student and non-student conduct) into one to reduce confusion. We will forward the recommendations to the appropriate bodies for their consideration.