Staff Advisory Council

October 2016

Staff Advisory Council

Meeting Agenda

October 24, 2016


3:00 p.m. – 04:00 p.m.

HR Conference Room

Present: Kim Altiere, Rachel Louis, Helena Warburg, Tamra Hjermstad, Veronica Bosley, Brian Teal, Martha Tetrault, ex officio, Kevin Thomas, ex officio, Vishakha Sheoran, ex officio

Absent: Susan Gaskell and Bonnie Bresett

Next Meeting: November 16, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. in HR Conference Room

Approval of September minutes

The members reviewed and approved meeting minutes for the month of September.

Input from council on new members

Martha shared that some of the members of the council are busy and their work does not allow them to attend the meetings. Two members from Dining have been unable to participate.  There has been one member who has left the college. Therefore, we will be reaching out the three departments to solicit new members to the council. Kevin reached out to OCR, WCMA, rather than the whole campus in order to have broader representation from those departments. Kevin received emails from two employees who nominated themselves. One of the members suggested that dining department should have representation too in this group. Some of the council members recommended a few other employees. Martha suggested that it would be beneficial to first reach out to these recommended employees in order to seek out their interest and availability. Members agreed to reach out to these employees. The group will discuss this again in next month’s meeting.

Grievance policy

Martha shared rough drafts of the Grievance policy and Bereavement Policy and the council approved the Grievance policy and Bereavement Policy.

Hourly vacation policy

The council reviewed the peer overview of vacation leave.  It showed that Williams is lagging below the median in terms of frequency for when vacation is increased.  The group discussed where we should be positioned in comparison with the information. The current policy is:

Years of Service Vacation days per year
0 – 5 years 10 days
6 – 10 years 15 days
11 or more years 20 days

The council recommended the following:

Years of Service Vacation days per year
0 – 3 years 10
4-7 15
8 years 20

Members of the Staff Advisory Council unanimously recommended that staff should get one extra vacation day for each year after 25 years of service and with a maximum of 5 extra days at 25 years of service.  A final draft of this policy will be shared at the next meeting.

Thought on Health Plan Changes and Communication and Open Forums

Martha asked the group about their thoughts on the new online benefits portal, which went live on October 24. One of the members shared that she was really happy and amazed with the quality of communication that accompanied this open enrollment. Some of the members were surprised to find out that not many employees were aware that FSA programs had the option of allowing employees to roll over up to $500 of unused funds at the end of the plan year.

Martha shared that two additional online webinars were also conducted to share this information with staff and faculty who are not on campus. This included employees from Mystic, the Investment Office, Oxford, and faculty on sabbatical. Martha also shared that HR is also conducting Online Open Enrollment Support sessions to provide personalized assistance with navigating the bswift benefits portal at Jesup computer lab. A few members shared their experience with the online portal and appreciated the intuitiveness of the program, which made navigation through the portal easier.

Build Agenda for the Coming Year

Martha and Kevin asked the group to think of some topics that need to be covered as agenda items this year. Martha shared that a sub-committee of DART requested the Council to review our current tuition reimbursement policy. Kevin shared that he would like to get feedback from the group about how HR can help make Williams a better workplace. A few members of the council shared their experiences as a new employee as well as the manager of new hires. An important work by the Council involves investigating how to incorporate professional development broadly and to define how to fit it into our work. This will be an initiative for this year.  It weaves well into the performance process and needs to come with it.

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