Survey identifies professional development needs

Last summer, university human resources (UHR) surveyed Iowa State's administrators, human resource liaisons and a sampling of professional and scientific employees to identify the training needs of supervisors in the areas of leadership and supervision. The survey's results and a Powerpoint presentation are available online. Here are some highlights of the findings:

More information

Join human resources specialist Don Broshar at the Professional and Scientific Council's seminar on April 27 (2 p.m., Gallery, Memorial Union) to learn more about the survey's results.

The three most common issues supervisors need help addressing:

  • Handling difficult behaviors
  • Strategic planning
  • Managing and resolving conflict

The top three issues related to people management:

  • Developing employees
  • Evaluating performance
  • Writing position descriptions

Perceived barriers to participating in training and development:

  • Time spent away from office
  • Lack of information about training opportunities
  • Lack of financial resources

Preferred format for professional development:

  • Face-to-face
  • Coaching/mentoring
  • Small group learning communities

Other conclusions:

  • There is opportunity for improvement in communication between supervisors and employees regarding professional development.
  • Participation in current professional development programs could be improved with better individual development planning between supervisors and employees.
  • A lack of coordination of professional development opportunities on campus has resulted in departments/units using outside vendors for training.

What's next?

UHR's ultimate goal is to use the survey's information to assist supervisors with their jobs.

"We want to help our supervisors enhance the work they do, and therefore, increase the effectiveness and satisfaction of employees at the university," said Don Broshar, human resources specialist. "In the end, our supervisors and employees ensure that we realize our institutional mission."

UHR has created a plan to address the challenges raised in the survey. Some of the next steps include:

  • Developing a coordinated learning platform as a portal for employee training opportunities. UHR and Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) have partnered to roll out a web-based training platform, utilizing the training portal created by EH&S. The portal will be piloted this summer for a fall launch.
  • Creating a communication strategy for employee learning that raises awareness of development opportunities. This should roll out throughout the summer.
  • Targeting critical interpersonal needs by launching a new three-part series: Addressing Conflict Using the Tools of Employee Engagement.
  • Developing resources and support for the high-priority topics identified in the survey. This includes leveraging UHR's 12+ Supervisory Leadership Series, which addresses many of the training and development challenges brought up in the survey.