Engaging the Future

Draft Report of the Task Force on Strategic Planning

June 22, 2006

7. Commitments to Staff and a Supportive Workplace


Western's staff members show leadership and passion in their work; they are dedicated to supporting Western's mission. We recognize that our success and our competitive edge depend in large part upon providing staff with a dynamic, supportive, and engaging workplace environment. Since conducting organizational culture and campus communications surveys in 2003 and 2004, respectively, Western has provided support and development opportunities for academic and administrative leaders, teams, and staff, and has established new communication channels, like the President's Western Matters and Town Hall meetings during the Annual Western Staff and Leaders' Conference. The 2006 Campus Communications Survey shows that we have made improvements in workplace satisfaction, dissemination of relevant information, and communication of our Mission and goals. A planned second organizational culture survey will set the stage for the additional efforts required to create workplace conditions for future success.

Fulfillment of the University's mission is dependent on the engagement of staff at all levels and in all types of activities. The University is a complex social organization, with a diverse but interdependent workforce, each member of which has a role in Western's success. Staff members in all areas interact directly with students, support the research activities of faculty and graduate students, and serve the University community. Our academic life and our physical campus are dependent on the engagement of talented, knowledgeable, and dedicated staff throughout the University. It is important within this community that each member's contribution is recognized and valued, that opportunities exist for personal and career fulfillment, and that the work environment is healthy and safe.

In recent years, Western has focused on the development of leadership capacity, particularly in those who are accountable for the success and productivity of others. Effective leadership is the key to personal engagement and job satisfaction at all levels. With our plans for expansion in strategic areas, leaders will need to engage their teams fully in assessing and improving their services to meet changing demands and priorities and to ensure service excellence and effective use of resources. They will support their team members in acquiring the knowledge and skills to match new expectations; in assuming increased responsibility for resolving problems; in taking initiative to meet the needs of those they serve; and in acting as ambassadors for Western in all interactions.

Graph Twenty-One

Graph Twenty-Two

"The University is a complex social organization, with a diverse but interdependent workforce, each member of which has a role in Western's success."

Western will seek out, hire, and develop the most talented people available and work with the units and teams across the organization to create well-integrated, efficient systems and processes to support the academic mission and decrease the administrative burden on faculty. As leaders enhance their skills in service and process design, team facilitation, resource management, and leading change, they will involve staff in creating a culture focused on achievement, development, teamwork, and collegial relations: a culture of deep respect that actively values the contribution of all roles, invites open inquiry, celebrates diverse talents and backgrounds, and supports development, recognition, and fulfillment for each person.

Our Commitments:

  1. Western aspires to excellence in staff leadership, excellence in staff performance, and the further development of a vibrant and healthy workplace culture. To achieve these objectives Western will:

7.1 - Acknowledge and respect the contributions of all members of the University community to the fulfillment of Western's mission.

7.2 - Provide staff with increased access to career development and to opportunities to enhance skills central to service excellence: communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and process change.

7.3 - Provide leaders with enhanced learning opportunities in the areas of facilitative leadership, change management, process design, coaching, and performance management. We will establish frameworks and support systems to help leaders enhance health and safety, mentor staff, identify and develop highly talented individuals, and implement succession planning.

7.4 - Work in collaboration with employee groups to develop role descriptions and performance evaluation systems that focus on competencies, accountabilities for outcomes, and recognition of valued attributes including integrity, creativity, initiative, and collaboration at all levels.

7.5 - Support a competitive rewards program with compensation that recognizes market demands and benefit programs which meet the needs of staff and enable Western to recruit and retain the best.

7.6 - Measure the success of change initiatives and of our staff, leader, and culture development initiatives and determine their impact on employee and student satisfaction.

7.7 - Continue to build successful partnerships between management and our employee groups and to recognize that Western's success and individual success are interdependent.

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