Campus News

Employee Forum: appraisals, Arts Everywhere, wellness

Delegates heard the latest on a new job review process, cathartic art opportunities and events focused on wellness and mental health.

Screenshot showing forum delegates during the March 3 meeting.
Employee Forum delegates and guests talk during a meeting held virtually March 2, 2022. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Artistic ways to respond to the past two years and events that support the campus community’s well-being commanded much of the Employee Forum’s attention at its March 2 meeting.

Plus, delegates learned about the chance for Carolina’s workers to join a group scream to express feelings and hopes.

The agenda also included a nuts-and-bolts update on a new work performance appraisal process that will be all digital.

The meeting began with the announcement of an Employee Forum-sponsored community webinar tentatively set for 10-11:30 a.m. March 25 that will focus on mental health, resilience and community. The webinar is among Carolina’s continued efforts to address campus mental health. It follows up on November’s Mental Health Summit to help people who may want “things we can do in moments of stress so that we don’t become distressed,” said delegate Keith Hines.

The delegates then reviewed and discussed a draft of Resolution 22-02, “Addressing Serious Retention, Morale and Resource Problems in University Housekeeping Services.”

Postcards from the Pandemic

Kathryn Wagner, associate director of Arts Everywhere, described “I Was Here: Postcards from the Pandemic.” The project, which began March 1, gives employees ways to process their pandemic experiences through artistic expression.

“The University didn’t stop, and some incredible humans kept it going and have worked tirelessly,” Wagner said. “We wanted a chance to come together, to grieve together, to express sadness or joy from the past few years and have that outpouring through a creative medium.”

Through March 31, staff can participate in person or virtually and can organize groups of co-workers and friends to join in the project.

In-person workshops include times at creative spaces such as the Morrison Art Studio and the Ackland Art Museum. The Ackland will offer workshops with museum staff guiding participants through a personal response exercise. Staff can join a pop-up workshop during Employee Wellness Day 11 a.m.-2 p.m. March 18 at the Frank Porter Graham Student Union.

Wagner also said that Arts Everywhere Day on April 8 will feature a group scream guided by therapists. “We’ll scream for the things that were lost over the past year. We’ll scream for what we want in the future. We’ll scream for joy,” she said.

Ukraine, mask mandates and much more

Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz told the forum that he’s “been excited to see campus come alive with activity over the past few weeks.” During his roundtable time, he said that:

  • The University will follow the lead of Orange County (its mask mandate lifts March 7) and UNC System office regarding masks. After the mandate lifts, masks will be optional. “We want to encourage those who still feel the need and want to wear a mask to do that. We should respect those individual preferences and the actions that individuals will take to protect themselves.”
  • Campus Health will continue to provide testing for COVID-19. The Carolina Together Testing Center at the Carolina Union will remain open at reduced hours for asymptomatic testing.
  • Carolina is fortunate to have Barbara Stephenson, vice provost for global affairs and chief global officer, and her expertise as the University responds to war in Ukraine. The Dean of Students office contacted students who are from Ukraine or have family there and provided counseling. The University will evaluate summer travel by students and faculty.
  • Campus leaders remain committed to the mental health and well-being of the campus community.
  • Leaders have been tracking critical workforce areas and monitoring for pandemic-related staffing shortages. “We’ve gotten past that now, and we were able to keep operations running as we had planned. But I’m very concerned just about the great resignation.”
  • For retaining employees, leadership is looking for ways to provide strategic retention funding.
  • Carolina has met goals on UNC System priorities such as increasing enrollment of students from rural areas and low-income economic brackets and growth in science and technology degrees.
Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz talks during the meeting. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz talks with delegates. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Wellness update

Jessica Pyjas, work/life and wellness program manager, recommended upcoming Wellness Wednesday Webinars on topics such as sleep, yoga and diet.

She also said that a series of daily wellness classes March 14-17 will lead up to Employee Wellness Day March 18. Wellness Day, with a slogan of “Believe in New Beginnings,” includes free lunch, prizes and games, free breast cancer screenings for those who meet requirements and other activities.

Performance management update

Tyler Enlow, senior employee and management relations consultant, and Ashley Hockaday, EHRA non-faculty consultant, outlined a new work performance appraisal process, which begins March 15. Employees will receive emails about the process.

Everything will be digital with no paper, Hockaday said. And, for the first time, SHRA and EHRA non-faculty employees will follow the same timeline.

Ashley Hockaday, Human Resources Consultant, presents during the Employee Forum meeting. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Ashley Hockaday from Human Resources presents during the Employee Forum meeting. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Employees can complete a self-assessment March 15-31. Managers continue the process by reviewing the tasks portion and recording appraisals before meeting with employees to discuss appraisals.

By June 3, managers will have set performance plans for 2022-23, with HR administrators checking the documents. After June 3, employees will have 15 days to acknowledge the plan.

Enlow said that employee self-assessment, called “My Appraisal Tasks” in the system, is optional and that no second-level manager signature is required on reviews. He stressed that when employees draft their self-assessment, they should use the “submit” button each time they make changes. Employees can submit multiple times before April 1, after which the system will deliver only the last submission for manager review.

Development plans are not required. If an employee has a development plan, it is not rated. Items in plans can roll over to the next year if the employee has not completed them.

Other topics

The forum is accepting nominations for new delegates through March 31.

Applications for Carolina Family Scholarships will be accepted April 15-June 1. The scholarships support children of UNC-Chapel Hill employees who attend an accredited North Carolina post-secondary public institution.