Concordia to improve HR practices for senior management

Concordia is moving forward with recommendations of an external review of the university's human resources policies and processes for senior management
September 28, 2012

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At its September 28, 2012 meeting, Concordia’s Board of Governors approved all recommendations of the report of the External Process Review of Settlements with Senior Management Personnel, which was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The board’s Human Resources Committee will oversee the timely implementation of these new and improved policies and practices.

“This is a new beginning for Concordia, as we have a new president, a new board chair, and a board that has been renewed and reduced in size,” says Norman Hébert Jr., chair of Concordia’s Board of Governors. “We are committed to continuous improvement on key issues of governance, transparency and accountability as a basis on which to make the best decisions for the university.”

Improving hiring processes and practices throughout Concordia is important to recruiting and retaining top talent at the university. As part of a transformational review of Concordia’s human resources practices, which began in the fall of 2011, a number of improvements have already been made to ensure that employment contracts for senior administrators and other employees meet current standards.

Some of the recommendations contained in the external process review report have already been implemented.

“I commend the board for its leadership on this issue and in working with experts from outside the university to adopt such important recommendations,” says Concordia President Alan Shepard. “I look forward to working closely with the board and senior administration to implement them as soon as possible.”

On March 2, 2012, Concordia’s Board of Governors unanimously adopted a resolution mandating an external audit of human resources processes for senior management at the university. The subsequent review by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, under the auspices of the board’s Audit Committee, focused on the departures of six senior management personnel from September 2009 to December 2010.

The review examined the process of reaching a decision to proceed with an early departure or the involuntary termination of employment of a member of senior management. This included the timing, control and limitation of discussion between parties, the processes of maintaining and enforcing confidentiality, and the responsibilities of the various individuals and bodies within the university. The review also looked at the communication process in place to address these situations.

The resulting report makes 17 main recommendations, including seven on the process for reaching a decision on the departure of senior administrators; six on the process for reaching a settlement; and four on the control of information, confidentiality and communication.

Key recommendations include:

  • Introduce a formal confidential annual evaluation process for the president.
  • Reinforce the role of the Human Resources Committee to act as an advisory committee providing validation on hiring and other managerial decisions regarding senior administrators.
  • Formalize the communication process at the board regarding the annual evaluation process of senior administrators.
  • Standardize all employment contracts with respect to provisions for termination. This practice is already in place.
  • Add authorization limits for settlements to the guidance in place.
  • Consider postponing teaching rights until after the indemnity is fully paid or to a period after settlement. This has been included in all new contracts since winter 2012.
  • Reinforce the confidentiality of information discussed by the board.
  • Reinforce training on governance and role of members of the Board of Governors. This has been in place since September 2012.

The report also provides recommendations on the authorization process to be followed in making a decision for the removal of a senior administrator and on questions on severance.

The next steps in the process include referral of the recommendations to the Human Resources Committee to oversee the implementation of new and revised policies and practices.

Related links:
•   Report: External Process Review of Settlements with Senior Management Personnel
•   Chronology — External Process Review of Settlements with Senior Management Personnel (In English | en français)
•   Recommendations — External Process Review of Settlements with Senior Management Personnel  (In English | en français)

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