Staff Advisory Council

November 2016

Staff Advisory Council

Meeting Minutes

November 16, 2016

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

HR Conference Room

Present: Bonnie Bresett, Kim Altiere, Susan Gaskell, Brian Teal, Rachel Louis, Martha Tetrault, ex officio, Kevin Thomas, ex officio, Vishakha Sheoran, ex officio

Absent: Veronica Bosley, Tamra Hjermstad, Helena Warburg

Next Meeting: December 21, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. in HR Conference Room

Update on Benefits portal participation

Martha expressed concerns with the council members that almost 600 people haven’t logged in the portal yet. Martha sent out emails to these folks to remind them that they have limited time to enter in the online portal. Martha encouraged everyone to act as ambassadors and request other employees to take full advantage of the portal. She shared that it is important to review each health plan option and compare costs to identify what works best for each employee. One member shared concern about the phone application of the portal and its usability. The phone application required Williams ID instead of the email and password to login in the system. Kevin said that he would reach out to OIT to find out more about the phone application of the portal. The last information session was held yesterday afternoon and few more sessions left for online support sessions.

New Members

The Council received 2 self-nominations and one of them received two endorsements from other staff members. Another nominee was recommended by one of the Council members. Members reviewed each nominee. Martha shared concerns about lack of representation from dining on this Council. One of the suggestions was to have conversations with supervisors and getting their support, which may help in getting more nominations. The Council discussed different ways to identity which is the best approach to have a higher number of nominations. One of the members recommended adding more information about SAC to include responsibilities of the Council. The council decided on the following candidates:

Laurie Booth – Administrative Assistant/Leadership Giving Coordinator, Development Office

Jean Grant – Assistant to the Director, Academic Resources

Finalizing Support Staff Vacation Policy

Martha shared the final draft of the Support Staff vacation policy. One of the members shared that it is a change in the frequency, and not in the number of vacation days. Another member said that long time employees may object to this change since it doesn’t benefit them. Martha shared that it might be useful to include only our core peer institutions.

Martha shared with the members that the one of the recent changes in administrative vacation policy was to move the vacation to accruing per pay period instead of granting at the beginning of each quarter. She asked the Council their opinion about doing the same for the support staff vacation policy. Martha further elaborated on the policy and explained that if we moved to accrual system, support staff will accrue vacation each pay period instead of granting the whole amount on their anniversary date. This method will be easier to manage, especially when an employee leaves the college. The sick leave for support staff is already on the accrual system.

Agenda for the Coming Year

The Council continued to brainstorm topics that could be on the agenda for this coming year. One of the members asked about whether we have a policy about professional development. Kevin shared the current policy on Professional Development on the HR website under Policies in the employee handbook. Another member asked about the goal of the policy, specifically whether this policy tailors professional development towards directly related to current job duties or if it also applies to professionally enriching experiences that could support the person in reaching their career goals. Another member shared personal experience from previous employer, where each employee received a thousand dollars to pay towards professional development whether it is a class, conference, or a workshop. Another member shared that in their department, they still have professional development days, where the activity of professional development was decided by the department. The member also added that they used to receive sixty dollars for professional development. Several other recommendations were discussed, including:

  • Norms on Campus
  • Leave of Absence Policy
  • Unpaid Leave
  • Volunteer Firefighter Policy

Report on Training & Development

Kevin shared a Training & Development report. He gave an overview of his programs and services, evaluation methods, challenges, and opportunities. Over the period of three years since he joined Williams, he has built up a variety of training programs that focus on a variety of topics including, communication skills, diversity, productivity, and supervisory and manager training. He also mentioned that each program he has presented in last three years has a website dedicated to that particular program. This helps with providing a great resource for employees who attended the sessions and also for the ones who were not able to attend it. Kevin recently completed the certification requirements to administer DiSC assessments. He has conducted a few retreats on campus. In addition, he also provides one-on-one job and career coaching. He also shared that Williams has one of the most extensive training programs compared to our peer institutions. During the FY16, Kevin lead or/and facilitated 53 training programs with an average rating of 6 out 7 on a Likert scale.

Next Meeting Topics

  1. Tuition Reimbursement Policy
  2. Appreciation Day Gifts

Please submit any agenda items to Kevin prior to the next scheduled meeting.


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