(2008-2009 HR#8) Professionals/Managers Advisory Committees: Report on Activities for the Period March 2007 – August 2008

October 27, 2008
All Professional / Managerial Staff
Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity
Professionals/Managers Advisory Committees: Report on Activities for the Period March 2007 – August 2008

In March 2007, the Professionals/Managers Advisory Committees met for their inaugural meetings. Since then, the committees have met on a regular basis and the purpose of this communication is to share with you a summary of the committees’ work over the past eighteen months and as well, provide some clarification on the role and mandate of the committees.

First, a brief description about the role and mandate of the committees.

The primary role of the committees is to offer ideas and provide advice and feedback to me on the development and implementation of work-related policies and programs for Professionals/Managers. The Terms of Reference and membership list for each committee are available on the Professionals/Managers’ page on the HR & Equity website at:https://people.utoronto.ca/groups/pm.htm

One of the ongoing questions that committee members are asked is if they represent the Professionals/Managers group. The answer to this question is no. Committee members do not represent Professionals/Managers staff in any formal or official capacity. It is also not intended that committee members will serve as a conduit between the committees and Professional/Managerial staff.

However, there are other means available for Professionals/Managers staff to propose issues for discussion with the Professional/Managerial Advisory Committees or to raise issues directly with me:

  • You may use a brand new communication tool, the PM Communication Line, a quick, direct and confidential on-line communication tool available as of today to all Professionals/Managers at https://people.utoronto.ca/groups/pm/line.htm on the HR & Equity website. I hope you will take a few minutes to visit the site. If you have any questions concerning the PM Communication Line, please contact Janice Draper, who manages it.
  • You may contact Janice Draper, Sr. HR Policy & Projects Specialist and secretariat to both Advisory Committees, at janice.draper@utoronto.ca or 416-978-5699.

And as well, you may contact my office directly at vp.hr@utoronto.ca or 416-978-4865.

Another area that requires further clarification is the process for selection of committee members. The initial process for selection of committee members was an open process whereby Professionals/Managers could either volunteer or be nominated to be on a committee. The selection of committee members ensured representation from across divisions (albeit there are not members from each division nor are committee members “divisional reps”), reflecting diversity, variation in length of service and distribution across the P/M levels.

Later this year, we will be initiating the selection process to replace those committee members whose initial term ends in June 2009. On the advice of the committees, we will be using the same selection process.

Over the past eighteen months, the committees have discussed and provided feedback and advice on a range of topics some of which were raised by Professionals/Managers via the P/M Questionnaire, including the P/M annual performance assessment process. The committees suggested a number of changes that would make the process more meaningful to participants and overall strengthen it. These changes will be considered in reviewing the performance assessment process for 2009.

Both Advisory Committees were instrumental in providing feedback on two policy-related initiatives:

  • Personal Leave Guidelines for Professional/Managerial Staff (Implemented January 2008)
  • The revised Problem Resolution Policy for Professional/Managerial Staff (Implemented May 2008)

As well, committee members have actively participated in the planning of the first annual conferences for Professionals/Managers. The P/M 6-9 conference was held in March 2008 and based on the feedback was an overwhelming success. The P/M 1-5 and Confidentials conference is scheduled for November 2008 and planning is well under way.

Committee members have suggested and been involved in various communications related initiatives. In addition to the P/M Questionnaire, committee members provided feedback on the development of the newly announced PM Communication Line; and, a working group comprised of members of the P/M 1-5 Advisory Committee along with staff in Student Life and HR & Equity, is developing PM Link, a pilot project that will provide P/M 1-5 staff with an on-line connect to other P/M 1-5 staff in Student Life and Business Officer/Business Manager positions. P/M 1-5 staff will hear more about PM Link at the annual conference in November.

Committee members were consulted on the elimination of paper pay statements and asked to provide feedback following the implementation of the new absence tracking system, for purposes of highlighting issues that required further communication. Committees have engaged in discussion on the job posting process for Professionals/Managers and consulting with external organizations and while no specific action has followed as yet, these discussions were helpful in flagging some of the gaps in our existing policies and practices.

In addition to their regular advisory role, committee members have enjoyed hearing presentations from members of the University community including presentations by the University’s Sustainability Office on “Greening our Workplace”; Steve Dyce, the University’s Director of Benefits, Pensions & Information Reporting; and, Bob Cook, the University’s new Chief Information Officer and a member of the P/M 6-9 Advisory Committee.

In summary, the committees have been instrumental to me in providing feedback and advice but as well, providing a connection to the real-life issues and challenges that Professional/Managerial staff experience in their day-to-day work. I am grateful to the committee members for their ongoing commitment, honesty and willingness to tell me “how it is” and what is necessary to make it a better work experience for all Professionals/Managers.