Improving retention and WorkFlex among P&S Council's goals

The Professional and Scientific Council's big-picture goals for 2022-23 will focus on employee retention, flexible work program improvements and educating constituents, under the strategic initiatives proposed at the council’s Aug. 4 meeting.

The council sets strategic initiatives annually, a list of priorities that often are long-term issues. While many of the goals are unlikely to be addressed in one year, the aim is to have ideas that can shape the council’s work. The first reading of a motion approving this year's strategic initiatives outlined the priorities proposed by council leaders, based on members’ suggestions at the July meeting and input from P&S staff.

The initiatives include suggesting ways to make WorkFlex more robust and equitable and educating P&S staff on how to better understand the university so they can become more engaged and thrive on campus. 

A goal to boost P&S staff retention listed several issues for the council to support:

  • A revised budget model that ensures recurring and competitive performance-based salary increases, while retaining existing benefits and leave policies
  • Additional supervisor training on inclusive work environments, employee evaluations, conflict resolution, hiring, onboarding and promotions
  • Compensation that's more standardized across units 
  • Expanded employee well-being and engagement efforts

The council will vote to approve the initiatives at its September meeting.

More survey results

Peer advocacy committee chair Jacob Larsen presented a report on the responses to open-ended questions posed in the council’s April survey about WorkFlex. 

Quantitative results shared with the council in May showed that 90% of the 795 respondents supported WorkFlex, and 71% were satisfied with the options available under the program, which allows flexible scheduling and up to three days of remote work per week, when it fits with an employee’s job duties. But the survey also asked three qualitative questions:

  • How satisfied are you with the amount of work from home time you will get?
  • If you could change one thing about the WorkFlex program, what would it be?
  • Do you have any other opinions about the WorkFlex program that you’d like to share with the P&S Council?

An analysis of responses to those questions showed some themes, Larsen said. More than one-third said they would like to work from home more often. Other common responses mentioned increasing flexibility, giving supervisors more decision-making discretion and reducing variances in how WorkFlex is implemented in different units.

Council president Jamie Sass said the survey results will help inform a motion recommending some changes to the WorkFlex program that the council will consider this fall.

Revising reimbursement

The council approved a motion asking senior leaders to reinstate a prior policy that allowed eligible staff to be reimbursed for up to four credits of undergraduate or graduate tuition per semester from any accredited college or university. Tuition reimbursement was restricted to ISU courses as part of a slate of budget-cutting measures in 2020.