Significant changes drive continued success
As Concordia and the rest of the world dealt with a second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Human Resources spearheaded new initiatives aimed at supporting faculty, staff and student employee well-being.
To provide assistance, the Human Resources team extended the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for a second year so that all employees, their spouses and dependent children could use the service at no extra cost.
In addition, the university introduced remote work guidelines.
“Recognizing the fluidity of the times we are in, Human Resources will continue developing the support services offered to our community, as well as build and promote partnerships to best serve the needs of our employees and Concordia,” says Carolina Willsher, associate vice-president of Human Resources.
Equity census for faculty and staff
To help Concordia achieve its goal to see all members of its community not only reflected, but welcomed, included and supported in their efforts to contribute to all areas of university life, Human Resources, in conjunction with the Office of the Provost, asked all university employees to participate in an equity census.
“Diversity is a strength that enhances the overall quality of Concordia’s research and teaching, as well as the experiences of all faculty, staff and students,” says Willsher.
“Collecting demographic information was an essential step toward finding solutions for underrepresentation and eliminating institutional barriers to full participation in university life.”
The campaign was a success, with more than 42 per cent of Concordia employees participating over a three-week period.
Mental health and wellness resources
Since June 2020, Human Resources, in collaboration with Concordia’s insurance provider Sun Life, has been publishing mental health and wellness articles for faculty and staff.
“The project was so successful that we decided to continue publishing articles on a regular basis and promote them in our employee and manager newsletters,” Willsher says.
Human Resources also initiated a series of profiles of inspiring staff who had been working on campus throughout the pandemic.
“We wanted to recognize their efforts but also provide a glimpse of what life on campus feels like for colleagues who may have been anxious about returning,” Willsher explains.
After two-and-a-half years of work and preparation, the Project UNITY team launched the new Human Resources, Finance and Procurement solution to the Concordia community on December 6, 2021.
“This solution brings a modern way of working, supported by an ecosystem of tools and applications to reduce time spent on manual, paper-supported tasks, and provides greater visibility and accurate data for improved decision-making at all levels of the organization,” explains Willsher, who was one of the Project UNITY sponsors.
In addition, the project team continues to offer training and support for users as they continue to familiarize themselves with the system.
Compensation and job evaluation
As part of an agreement between Concordia and several unions and associations, Human Resources’ Compensation team formed three joint committees with members of ACUMAE, CUPEU and CUSSU to review and replace current job evaluation programs and tools.
“This is a vital process because it provides a basis for internal and external equity based on position characteristics and responsibilities,” Willsher explains.
Manager Exchange Network
Launched to help managers work in remote and hybrid work environments, Human Resources’ Manager Exchange Network aimed to create a space for university leaders to brainstorm and support each through periods of significant change.
The initiative consisted of a series of meetings whereby small groups of managers got together to exchange best practices, gain different perspectives and network with one another.
"Given the success of the first three cohorts, we’re planning to keep the Exchange Network going through 2022.”