The Staff Advisory Council Development and Training Committee collected survey data from Case Western Reserve University staff members on their professional development needs at the end of 2020.
More than 630 staff members from across campus responded to the survey - which is 19% of all staff.
The results have been presented to the Staff Advisory Council (SAC), University leadership and leaders from University Wellness and other programs on campus.
- Hard skills training: nearly 60% of respondents requested more opportunities including training in data analysis and visualization and programs like Microsoft Office, Google, and Adobe.
- 54% of respondents requested soft skills training; 35% wrote-in asking for training on teamwork, conflict management, and related topics.
- 32% of write-in responses specifically requested supervisor training for their supervisors.
- Over 50% of staff reported a need for mental health and wellness breaks.
Barriers to Development
- Overwhelming workload and burnout, stress, and fatigue: 1 in 3 respondents stated their workload is too heavy to attend development opportunities, and 1 in 4 respondents state they are too fatigued, stressed, or burned out to attend. Staff reported uneven support from their supervisors to attend development activities, especially those scheduled during working hours. SAC recommended a policy stating an explicit expectation that staff have the opportunity to pursue professional development, to be consistent with CWRU’s mission and North Star initiative.
- 12% of respondents noted that gaining new skills could increase their workload without compensation, and an additional 6% noted that gaining skills will not advance their career. Concerns related to compensation, in this area and many others, remain top of mind for SAC leadership in their discussions with Human Resources.
These issues can be difficult to report and seek redress for, but SAC leadership is aware that they exist and is advocating to HR leadership that accountability for supervisors in this area should be a priority.
- Staff are grateful to have been employed through the pandemic.
- Staff want more recognition of their accomplishments.
- Staff want to cultivate an atmosphere of empathy and kindness in accordance with Pathway 4, Shape the Agora.
- 90% of staff receive their information from The Daily.
Staff Advisory Council Actions
- SAC worked with HR to restaff the Professional Development Center (PDC). The PDC’s two new staff will curate training opportunities and provide career support resources.
- SAC discussed these findings with HR’s Wellness Team, Elizabeth Click and Mary Ann Dobbins, and they are working on new, broader opportunities for the campus community.
- SAC recommended that tuition benefits cover broadly recognized certificate programs like Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Mental Health First Aid, or Microsoft certification.