Questions and Answers 2005

Staff Advisory Council

Bob McQuaid: Questions and Responses

Thursday November 10, 2005

1:00-3:00 p.m., Notre Dame Room, LaFortune

1. Human Resources posts jobs that are already filled.  This wastes the prospective employee’s time creating cover letters and resumes, investigating the department website and creating false hopes.   What can be done about this so nobody’s time is wasted?
When a situation arises where a hiring manager selects an individual to fill a job without first posting, HR does talk with the manager about the need to post the position for 5 days on campus, and if qualified individuals respond, to review their materials for consideration purposes.  One suggestion for this situation, would be to include in the posting an indication that there is a preferred candidate.  Though this is not something we currently do, what are your thoughts on this?
2. In employee searches, faculty and administrators are charged with conducting the job interview.  Many times, they have no knowledge or specifics of the job or what it takes to perform the job well.  Some have no interviewing skills, even asking illegal questions such as what year you graduated from college.  What can be done to improve this and train the people who are conducting the interviews?
Improving the interviewing skills of hiring managers on campus has become an ongoing initiative for Recruiting & Employment Services.  The staff of this unit facilitates interviewing skills classes and works with hiring managers in a variety of ways:  training for members of search or interview committees;  review and printed materials on legal/illegal interview questions; suggested behavioral interview questions; candidate evaluation tools and resources, and in-person consultation with hiring managers on the development of questioning strategies.  The Human Resources web site also offers a great deal of information for the hiring manager.  If a candidate has an unusual interview experience, Recruiting and Employment Services would like to be made aware of this so that they can rectify for future interviewees.
3. A current part-time employee with excellent performance reviews has submitted 30 applications for a job in the same field over a two year period.  What is the obligation of Human Resources in finding the employee a new position? 
Human Resources facilitates the recruiting and hiring process, and provides resources and guidance to hiring managers, but cannot guarantee candidates placement in positions with the University.  The assistance provided to hiring managers includes a process where applications submitted for specific positions are reviewed by a Recruiting Consultant for forwarding to hiring managers.  The Recruiting Consultant discusses the candidate pool with the hiring manager throughout the search, provides hiring managers with performance data contained in the personnel file, and will usually be engaged by the hiring manager in discussions regarding qualifications of various candidates. Because of the volume of applications received for any given posted position, the Recruiting Consultant refrains from recommending one employee over another, but will provide guidance in candidate evaluation methods so that the hiring manager is consistently rating and ranking candidates.  Ultimately, once the hiring manager has gathered all information on candidates (through interviews, references, and file reviews) the hiring decision is made by that hiring manager.
4. To whom is Human Resources accountable? Are their practices audited?  Specifically, of all the applications they receive from current ND employees, how many qualified persons are actually referred to the hiring manager?
The Office of Human Resources reports to the Office of the Executive Vice President and John Affleck-Graves. 
Certain aspects of human resources activity are regulated and we are required to meet compliance standards.  To verify compliance, we do have periodic reviews by internal sources.  As a means of confirming the needs of University constituents for various human resources services, the Office of Human Resources is currently engaged in an Activity Analysis to gather data from a variety of individuals on campus, which we will use to chart our course for the future and align our activities with overall University goals. 
Our job posting activity results in approximately 30,000 applications accepted annually for open positions.  The current applicant tracking system would require a manual count of the number of internal applications forwarded to hiring managers.  What I can share are hiring statistics for 2005 year to date, indicating the number of internal versus external hires.  
Applicants are welcome to contact the Recruiting staff to discuss the status of their candidacy for positions to which they have applied.
5. An ND employee was recommended in person by HR for an open position, but an outsider was told they would get a job.  What can be done about this preferential treatment?                                                     
This seems to be a specific situation and, therefore, without details, it is not possible for me to respond.  If the individual who experienced this would like to contact Sarah Misener, she can research the situation and respond.
6. At times, when contacting Human Resources, I have been treated rudely by people who act annoyed/curt and don’t return phone calls.  Also, depending on whom you talk to, a different answer is given to the same question.  What can be done to get consistent information?  
I have become aware that reaching HR staff members by phone has been problematic.  Through the findings of the Activity Analysis I referred to earlier, we will make changes in procedures and structures so that this does not continue to be a detracting situation.  Many times, individuals will pose a question in a slightly different way to multiple members of the Human Resources staff, and nuances will result in different responses.
7. What is the University’s policy on using temporary employees to fill full-time positions? 
Temporary employees are considered ‘external candidates’ for purposes of applying to internal positions.  Our process is that their applications are provided to hiring managers after internal candidates are first provided the opportunity to apply and be considered for openings.  Hiring managers make final determinations and hiring decisions.  Part-time employees are credited with service if they achieve full time status, and have worked consistently for the required time frame.
8. Concerning the University’s employees, what are the long-term goals in staffing and salary? 
The University is constantly looking at ways to staff its various units based on overall University goals.  Regarding salary, there are no plans in place to dramatically increase or decrease salaries.  We continually assess the salary program at the University and work to make necessary changes.
9. When positions are eliminated (e.g. Kinkos, NITA), what role will Human Resources play? 
Human Resources works with the affected department or unit to facilitate the transition.  With respect to helping individuals obtain other employment at the University, Recruiting and Employment Services engages in a number of activities with affected employees to ready them for a job search on campus.
10. I would like to see the University adopt a flex-time policy.  The way I envision this policy would allow employees to better balance their home and work life.  I would suggest some core working hours (possibly 9:00 – 3:00) when all employees need to be at work.  Then allow them to flex prior to or following, depending on their personal situations.  The individual working hours would be communicated to those that they work with regularly, as well as noted on their voicemail.  Final approval would be up to the immediate supervisor.  Can this be considered? 
The University does have a policy on flex-time and it is administered with some discretion by department managers so that, in addition to taking an employee’s needs into account, operational requirements are met.  If additional assistance is needed in a particular work unit on topics related to work life, the Organizational Effectiveness Consultants and Work Life unit of Human Resources are available to assist.
11. Is it possible to change the direct deposit form to allow deposit to more than one account?  For instance, I want to split my deposit between savings and checking.  The current form does not allow me to do that. 
This is being researched as part of the Renovare HR/Payroll system implementation scheduled for 7/1/06.  No decision has yet been reached on this.
12. Why is there only one prescription benefit option? 
The University is not large enough to have more than one prescription drug vendor and still maintain cost savings advantages.  Savings for both the University and enrolled employees comes with the volume associated with having only one vendor.  More than one vendor would greatly increase costs.
13. Will employees be required to pay for on-campus parking on coming years? 
JAG said that there is currently no plan to charge for parking.  He said that Notre Dame is one of the few universities that do not charge for parking.  He said that there will always be a no-charge parking option, but it may get to where those who want to can buy closer parking.
14. Is there a possibility of a buy-out at 30 years of employment? 
We did offer this type of incentive plan a few years ago, and currently, there are no plans to offer it again, but it is something we can hold for future consideration.
15. For some areas, there is a gas allowance for using your personal vehicle for University business.  Is this a departmental decision? 
If there are questions regarding this issue in a specific department, they should be directed to the Organizational Effectiveness Consultant for that group can be contacted for assistance.
16. Everyone was very happy to see the staff picnic return, but what happened to the awards program? 
We were glad to bring back the picnic based on the overwhelming request to reinstate it. Regarding the rewards program, resources for the awards event were put towards the picnic this year.  We are engaging in discussions with members of the senior management team on the future of the awards program.
17. Many are unhappy with the merit system and the way the percentage is divided.
Pay increases should be based on merit.  We believe in pay-for-performance, and are directionally heading that way.  Employees should be paid/rewarded for good performance.  This type of system sends a message to poor performers.  We will try to put self-development tools out there for you to improve your skills and performance levels. 
Respectfully submitted,
Human Resources