Future of Work Task Force gets to work


In a letter to the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) community in April, President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACSannounced plans to create the Future of Work Task Force, which will “help us reflect on the evolving needs of this institution, support our existing workforce and plan for the future.”

Members of the Future of Work Task Force discuss the changing workforce landscape.

At a kick-off meeting in August, task force members met face-to-face for the first time and discussed the many ways the work landscape has changed since the spring of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to wreak havoc on what people all over the world once thought of as “normal” life. The event also marked the launch of the Future of Work Task Force website.

“I can’t take the smile off my face because I’m so excited about this job,” Malika S. Monger, MPA, PHRAssociate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of UMB’s Human Resources Services, said welcoming the task force members.

“I feel like this is a pivotal moment for our UMB community. And what we’re trying to do in this work is extremely important,” said Monger, co-chair of the working group with Flavius ​​RW Lilly, PhD, MA, MPH, Vice-Rector for Academic and Student Affairs and Vice-Dean of the Doctoral School, and Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, MA, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Vice President. “We definitely have our work cut out for us.”

The task force is comprised of three committees: Workplace Flexibility, Employee Value Proposition, and Employee Well-Being. The committees, which reflect University-wide representation, are tasked with developing short- and long-term recommendations to leadership regarding work flexibility, the employee value proposition (why people want to work and stay at UMB) and employee well-being. The committees will also address other necessary resources, including technology, training and development needs, and any other identified resources necessary to ensure that UMB continues to be an employer of choice now and in the future. coming.

In addition, a human resources task force will be tasked with creating an employment needs assessment tool, ensuring policies and practices reflect task force recommendations, and identifying strategic needs. UMB workforce planning.

Monger credited Patricia Hoffmann, MA, MSL, director of benefits, work/life strategies, and compensation, and compensation, and Elisa Medina, MSW, Manager, Career Development, who are both project managers on the task force, for the research they conducted on workforce issues prior to the launch of the task force.

The Leadership for the Future of Work Task Force also includes executive sponsors Dawn Rhodes, DBA, Senior Vice President and Chief Business and Financial Officer, and Roger Ward, EdD, JD, MSL, MPA, Provost, Executive Vice President and Dean of High school.

“I’ll start by saying thank you,” Rhodes told the volunteers. “To my knowledge, we didn’t have to twist anyone’s arm to get you here. And that’s because you care about the future of work, which is directly linked to the future of UMB.

She asked that the members of the working group approach their work with a mindset based on UMB’s core values ​​of discovery and innovation.

“I’m going to ask you to review the research, review our mission and make the best recommendations on all of this and not personal agendas,” Rhodes said. “I need you all to know it’s all on the table. We don’t have anything to say, ‘Don’t touch.’ ”

The task force’s work is as important as any strategic planning or accreditation renewal process, Ward noted.

“It’s just there for them, from my perspective, because we’re talking about, ‘How do we stay competitive? How to stay great? How do we position ourselves in the future to recruit the best faculty and staff for this institution? “The response is based on the recommendations of this group which will build this foundation,” he said. “The recommendations will be submitted to the executive leadership for review, consideration and hopefully eventual adoption.”

Meanwhile, Lilly is so passionate about the subject that he joined the kick-off meeting practically from a vacation in Madrid, Spain.

“Maybe I’m not modeling the best work-life balance habits by attending this meeting while I’m on vacation,” he joked. “But I’m really enthusiastic, if not zealous maybe, about it, and I really couldn’t bring myself to miss it. It’s too important to me; I think it is very important for the University.

Of all UMB’s assets, none is more valuable than its staff, Lilly said.

“The world of work is changing, and the future holds immense potential for successful organizations, institutions and universities,” he said.

Forbes Berthoud spoke about what it called the “triple pandemics” – COVID-19, social issues related to the racial reckoning of 2020, and the economic downturn.

“When you think about equity, we have to think about the populations that have been marginalized and are disproportionately affected because of these triple pandemics, such as those who are caregivers or have household responsibilities,” he said. she stated.

“By thinking of those who have been forgotten and/or marginalized, and looking at emerging or promising data and best practices, we can ensure that UMB is that community that cares, that nurtures, but supports, that aligns with our core values ​​of respect, well-being and integrity,” Forbes Berthoud said.

Task Force members viewed a virtual presentation by guest speaker Bonnie Dowling, MPH, MSN, Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company, a Denver-based global management consulting firm.

“I don’t think it should be a surprise. But despite the economic uncertainty that we are looking at and thinking about and talking about in detail, employees are actually continuing to leave their jobs at a record rate,” Dowling said.

Since the Great Attrition — or what some call the Great Resignation — began in the United States, more than 50 million people have quit their jobs, she said.

“If that number seems a bit high and you don’t really know what to do with it, I’ll put it into perspective: more than the entire population of full-time employees in California, Florida, Texas and New York combined quit their jobs Thirty-six percent of them did so with no other job in hand.

Instead, she said, people joined the gig economy, retired, went back to school, or stayed home to care for their families.

Research shows that employees said they quit because they didn’t feel valued by their organization, lacked a sense of belonging, or lacked caring and trusting teammates. When employers were asked why they thought employees left, they cited finding a better job, looking for more money, or being poached by other companies.

“When we look at them together, we start to see a disconnect between what employers see and what employees highlight,” Dowling said. “But we know that flexibility was the #1 request from employees in 2019. That hasn’t changed. Flexibility is always extremely important. However, we have become rather lazy during the pandemic. And we said flexibility was just the workplace. In reality, flexibility is how and when we work and where we work.


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