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Reimagine Staff

From alternative work schedules to telecommuting, forces of change are already affecting our modes of work. The COVID crisis has tested our adaptability, and we have an opportunity to capitalize on the lessons learned. Furthermore, with increasing demand for parking and office space, rising cost of living near campus, and the necessity to reduce commuting for climate goals, alternative work models are an inevitable feature of the evolving workforce.

By refining policies and infrastructure for alternative work formats, we will positively influence staff morale, improve work/life balance, improve cost efficiency and productivity, and attract talented, diverse candidates.

Initiatives to nurture a staff culture of collaboration and community will extoll greater campus citizenship to students as a downstream effect, and support for intellectual achievement, career advancement, and professional development will help ensure CSULB is a pathway for growth for staff as well as students.

Improving pathways and communication regarding salaries, skills growth, and professional development is vital to retaining staff, maintaining institutional knowledge, and fostering innovation on campus.

Align staff for future of work.

RECOMMENDED ACTIONS

1a. Create an institutional structure modeled after the Faculty Center that offers opportunities for staff to develop their skills for the future and to seek career advancement at CSULB.

1b. Develop infrastructure and organization to support telecommuting.  

1c. Invest in hardware and support services for flexible schedules and 24/7 service.

INFRASTRUCTURE AVAILABLE
  • Staff Human Resources Offices
    • Training
    • Classification
    • Employee Relations
  • Staff Council
  • University Library
  • Beach Building Services
  • Academic Technology Services
  • Division of Information Technology
OPPORTUNITIES

Developing alternative work arrangements for staff will lay the foundation for expanding instruction and student resources beyond traditional work formats. With telecommuting already in place across campus, now is the time to refine guidelines and expectations as they pertain to job function and efficacy. Reducing on-campus staff will also reduce parking congestion and commuting time, thereby contributing to our campus’ climate goals. Some offices already have these practices in place. Hence, we have an opportunity to formalize the process for all who want to engage in this strategy.

CHALLENGES

The implementation learning curve might dissuade managers from embracing alternative work formats. Assumed efficiency problems may also keep managers from even attempting to adopt a new format, which will lead to increased feelings of inequity among staff among those who are able, and those who are not able to adjust their work format.

RESILIENCE

COVID-19 has illuminated and exacerbated the need for a more formalized alternative work format, such as telecommuting or alternative hours. This will not be the last crisis that will hit California. An earthquake can significantly damage buildings and workspaces, and flooding has been an issue in the past. Being prepared to transition or having staff already participating will be invaluable as crises appear in the future.

Design a staff culture of collaboration and community.

RECOMMENDED ACTIONS

2a. Create an inventory of staff wellness, service, and mentorship programs as well as opportunities to serve on campus committees and other activities, and establish a method for communicating this information to all staff.

2b. Create a shared resource pool to help reduce disparity between departments, colleges, and units who cannot generate discretionary funds.

INFRASTRUCTURE AVAILABLE
  • Office of Human Resource Management
  • Staff Council
  • ASMs
OPPORTUNITIES

As staff members are empowered, incentivized, and engaged in a culture of collaboration and community, greater campus citizenship can be extolled to our students as a downstream effect. Campus initiatives will see greater participation and students and staff will want to be on campus more regularly, which can also enhance feelings of well-being and sense of belonging.

CHALLENGES

Funding, resources, and looming budgetary concerns may impact the implementation of any novel staff initiatives, but the prescribed actions should be powered more by rethinking existing structures than by creating new ones.

 

Secondary challenges will be found in mid-manager reluctance, union contract flexibility, and siloing effects, especially in the early stages. Keeping an open line of communication about efforts, progress, timelines, and opportunities will be key to generating positive momentum.

RESILIENCE

Morale and retention will decline during crises, but increasing the ‘reserves’ of satisfaction and morale ahead of time can help weather the storms.

Enhance pathways for personal and professional achievement.

RECOMMENDED ACTIONS

3a. Explore physical and digital spaces where staff and faculty subject matter experts can share best practices and trainings.

3b. Reevaluate the efficacy of performance evaluations as a tool for professional development and advancement.

3c. Explore additional merit-based incentives and cross-union skill sharing (SSP and ASC training).

INFRASTRUCTURE AVAILABLE
  • Office of Human Resources
  • Ally Training
  • Faculty Center for Professional Development
  • Chancellor’s Office series / resources training
  • Data Fellows
  • Leadership Fellows
  • Beach Building Services
  • Academic Technology Services
  • CSU Employees Union 
OPPORTUNITIES

Supporting intellectual achievement, career advancement, and professional development will allay concerns of inversion and improve morale, institutional knowledge, and retention. Sustained intellectual growth will also bring innovation and success to the campus as an increasingly competitive environment.

CHALLENGES

Advancement and compensation for new skills will require substantial investment. Revamping Performance Evaluations will also encounter complications with union contracts and parity/equity across classifications and positions.

RESILIENCE

Having a repository for best practices and implementations that can be referenced will make future crises even more manageable. Because the Office of Human Resources undertakes many responsibilities during such events, allocating additional resources would be instrumental to prepare for and respond to future crises.