By SUSAN JONES
During the Shaping the Workplace feedback sessions that took place in early 2020, one of the main issues raised was the expansion of supervisor training and accountability.
At the time, David DeJong, then vice-chancellor of human resources, said concerns about supervisor training ranked just behind pay as the most frequently raised issue. “We have heard… of a widespread lack of uniform understanding of our policies and a wide variation in the application of those policies,” he said.
Human Resources has now taken these concerns and channeled them into the new Supervisor Essentials @ Pitt program., that all professors and staff who supervise people at the University will be required to follow.
The program – seven-hour online training modules – will receive its first cohort this fall. But it may take some time to get Pitt’s 2,000 to 2,500 supervisors to complete the training.
In addition to feedback during the Shaping the Workplace sessions, Diane Chabal, director of the HR Organizational Development office, said she frequently hears about issues with supervisors during their regular work with employees. “Maybe a supervisor can communicate better or differently,” she said. “Maybe they could manage their team better. “
Topics that will be covered include:
Improve communication skills
Manage staff performance to be associated with success
Foster diversity and inclusion
Control staff leave
Navigate the staff recruitment process
Management of FMLA and other types of leave
Understanding pay administration at Pitt
Participants have four months to complete all seven modules and take a post-course assessment to assess their learning. “If they watch the videos, they will pass the test,” Chabal said. “They don’t have to study outside of class, it’s there for them.
Human resources want to support supervisors in their professional growth and development, Chabal said, and make them understand how important they are.
“If they really embrace this learning and do their best, they can engage their teams more. They can help develop their teams, ”she said. “And we’re really looking at retention as well. A good supervisor is someone with whom someone wants to stay and work hard for and with whom.
Supervisor training was offered as a pilot program during the 2020-21 school year with approximately 150 participants. So far, three upcoming sessions have been scheduled. Each can accommodate around 500 people.
Registration is already closed for this fall session. Chabal said several hundred signed
for training from September 15 to January 15. The next two sessions will take place from January 15 to May 15 and from May 15 to September 15, 2022. You can register now for either of these sessions. Each responsibility center is assigned a specific number of seats, depending on the size and number of supervisors in each area. Those who cannot register for their first choice will be put on a waiting list and automatically enrolled in an upcoming cohort.
Training is mandatory, but there is flexibility. You won’t be forced to participate during a specific cohort if it doesn’t fit your schedule, and the work is done at your own pace.
“We want people to have a great experience. So it’s at their own pace over a four month period, just seven hours, ”said Chabal. “We hope this will spark an interest in being the best supervisor possible in everyone, and they want to keep learning and they are looking for other opportunities to do so.
“It can be a starting point, I think, for people who sometimes feel a bit lonely in their work, and it’s a way of really knowing that there is good support available.”
There will also be three optional live Zoom chats for one hour, once a month, Chabal said. The discussions were “very popular” with the pilot group, she said, “because it gave people the opportunity to reflect on how they want to apply the learning and to share best practices live. “.
Two optional information sessions will take place before the start of teaching for each cohort.
Contact Chabal at [email protected] with any questions you may have.
Susan Jones is editor-in-chief of the University Times. Reach her at [email protected] or 724-244-4042.
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