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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Study: Employees not feeling appreciated

    Correction:Yesterday, the Wildcat reported that the Millennium II study determined that 34.4 percent of classified staff disapproved of their compensation. The study actually found that 34.4 approved of their compensation. The Wildcat regrets the error.

    The Millennium Project Action Committee released its five-year report that examined the efforts the UA has taken in improving job satisfaction for appointed personnel and classified staff last month.

    The report details the implementations of suggestions made by the Millennium II study, which was commissioned in spring 2003 by former UA President Peter Likins to examine the quality of work life for staff and involved facilitated discussions and surveys sent solely to classified staff and appointed personnel. The report stated that 53.1 percent of classified staff and 50.6 percent of appointed personnel completed the surveys.

    The Millennium II study’s results indicated that some classified staff and appointed personnel enjoyed their work and felt commitment and loyalty to the UA.

    However, most appointed personnel and classified staff did not feel as strongly that the UA values its employees. Of those surveyed, 52.2 percent of classified staff and 54.1 percent of appointed personnel did not agree with statements saying the UA valued its employees.

    Similarly, 55.9 percent of classified staff and 58.2 percent of appointed personnel said they did not believe the UA was a caring institution.

    Compensation was also an aspect about which employees expressed dissatisfaction, 34.4 percent of classified staff and 39 percent of appointed personnel, respectively.

    The report’s suggestions to improve workplace environments were focused more on honoring excellence and better management and not on salary-related issues.

    “”We deliberately considered the difficult budget situation in formulating our suggestions,”” the report stated. “”With the exception of the new data system for Human Resources, the cost of implementing these recommendations is expected to be minimal.””

    Based on the findings, the MPAC report examined how the UA worked to improve employee satisfaction on the job.

    Measures taken included recognition of excellence in the job, more effective management, and an improvement in UA data systems and transparency. Collectively, those improvements would allow the UA to examine data concerning promotions, salary increases and other employee-related issues, said Allison Vaillancourt, an associate vice president of human resources and member of the MPAC committee.

    Programs that have been developed over the past five years to improve management include an online manager’s toolkit, leadership sessions and professional development classes for employees, said Jennifer Lawrence, division administrator for Arizona Research Laboratories and co-chair of the MPAC report.

    “”When we talk about trying to recruit people here or trying to keep people here, we talk a lot about compensation,”” she said. “”I’m a really big believer that climate can be a competitive advantage. It’s not all that expensive to treat people well.””

    The report also recommended the UA administer more frequent surveys of the work climate to assess job satisfaction. Regular surveys are not yet in place, said Kathleen Miller, coordinator for employee development in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and co-chair of the MPAC report.

    Lawrence said a positive work environment for staff would improve the university community as a whole.

    “”If you create a welcoming workplace climate, you have employees who are happy to be here, so they are more likely to be responsive to the needs of the students and faculty, and also we’re more likely to keep good employees,”” Lawrence said.

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