Staff Council Meeting Minutes – February 2019

Staff Council met on Tuesday, February 19 at 8:30AM in Alumni Auditorium. Below are the meeting minutes (approved on March 21, 2019) for your review. The meeting was also recorded on video, which can be streamed here: Written minutes can also be found on the K: Drive, located at K:\Staff Council\Staff Council – Meeting Minutes\June 2018 – May 2019 (Note for Windows 10 users: the K: drive is now the P: drive on your machine). Please send any recommended revisions to Cullen Bostock at prior to the March 21 meeting.

I.   Welcome – Call meeting to order (Nic Anderson, Chair, Staff Communications & Engagement Committee) 

II.   New Employee Welcome

The following individuals introduced themselves to the group:

  • Kaylee Sullivan, Digital Community Specialist, Marketing
  • Ashley Michelle Fowler, Associate Director, Office of Diversity & Inclusion
  • Stephanie Doan, Student Resources Coordinator, Student Life

III.   Approval of the December meeting minutes (see on Staff Council Blog at

A motion was made to approve, motion was seconded, and the December 2018 meeting minutes were unanimously approved

IV.   Moving from Measurement to Coaching and Engagement – Jennifer Archambault & Howie LeBlanco

  • Jennifer prefaced the presentation by noting that the People Center engaged in a process as a result of the Modern Think survey and conversations she has had with individuals to reevaluate the current performance management process. The group leading this project is comprised of representatives from the People Center, Staff Welfare Committee, as well as managers. Jennifer introduced Howie, who is a member of this project group.
  • Howie began his presentation by noting that the group is currently in the exploration, or “dreaming”, phase. No system components have been designed, the group is simply seeking feedback on what staff hope to get out of a new performance management and professional development process.
  • Howie provided context by sharing the history and evolution of performance management. Performance evaluations have been around for roughly 100 years but never actually became common practice until around the 1950’s when people were being measured primarily on their personalities. As a result of such measurements, people who exhibited more confidence were often deemed more suitable for middle/top management. In 1960’s, goals and objectives started to be introduced to add objectivity and a little more transparency. Then in the 1970’s and for the last 30+ years, feedback from employees/self evaluations have been incorporated to promote engagement, but we’re still not where we should be.
  • The theme throughout the last 50-60 years has been to fix or add components to these processes based on what we think employees want. However, we haven’t really engaged employees from a place of creating what they want, which is this project team’s guiding principle.
  • The group is considering data captured over the years including employee feedback, Modern Think GCWF survey results, listening sessions, and general conversations with staff. They have also engaged faculty in order to compare processes. Howie noted that the group also took into consideration what Oracle will be capable of from a systems perspective. All of this work is aimed at addressing the question, “if we were to build it today, what would we build?”
  • Howie shared a re-imagined performance management strategy idea that resulted from the project team’s conversations:
    • Employees and managers hold check-in meetings every 1-3 months, quarterly at least.
    • Check-in discussions include progress toward existing goals, personal/professional development, issues/concerns, new goals, and resulting action plans
    • C.L.E.A.R. goals are established – Collaborative, Limited (in scope and duration), Emotional (passion/purpose driven), Appreciable, and Refinable.
    • Managers and employees document progress in Oracle using the check-in feature. Reminders are generated by the system when goals are completed and/or other milestones are reached.
    • No ratings
    • Peer feedback is more deliberately incorporated
    • And, there is a focus on development
  • Howie opened up the floor to allow people to share their thoughts on the direction the team is heading and share additional considerations. One member of the group encouraged the project team to consider, as the College is in the process of building a new strategic plan and reevaluating the mission/vision, how does the new performance management process align with the mission of the organization? How might we be intentional in this effort? Howie noted that aligning goals with the College’s strategic objectives/mission has been part of the conversations, however, there may need to be additional training or coaching to ensure that it is being done intentionally.
  • One individual noted something from the current process that they feel is valuable and perhaps should remain a consideration, which is the opportunity to take a step back and look at the work done throughout the whole year.
  • The possibility of building in a mentorship component was discussed. The idea being that staff would have opportunities to collaborate.
  • There was further discussion around adding a peer review component. One member noted that her goals rely heavily on the goals of other individuals and departments.
  • There was also emphasis placed on providing staff with clear career advancement pathways, that is, even if employees don’t necessarily want to become managers.
  • There were questions asked regarding who is on the committee as well as what the projected timeline might be. Jennifer addressed both questions. The committee is made up of members of the Staff Welfare Committee (specifically, Jean-Marie Severance and Kellie Nadeau), Mikael Blanco (Staff Council Executive Board), Howie, Maureen Whitney, and Ursula Jones. Mike Lang also served as faculty advisor for the team. Mike was heavily involved when faculty redesigned their performance management process and was able to offer some great insights as a result of that experience.
  • In terms of timing, the process will not be redesigned this year. Oracle will not go live for HCM until September, which is a necessary component of this project. Jennifer proposed to the group that we spend the time this year to fully think through and plan out what a future process might look like, perhaps replacing the current Workday process with something much more lightweight or omitting it altogether for the time being. The general sentiment toward this idea seemed overwhelmingly positive. Jennifer noted that cabinet is supportive of this initiative and, based on conversations she has had, believes President Laackman will be as well. That said, the President’s approval is needed before any final decisions are made regarding the process for this year.
  • Howie’s full presentation can be viewed here:

V.   Champlain College Turnover – Jennifer Archambault

  • Shaylea prefaced Jennifer’s presentation by alluding to the December Staff Council meeting where it was shared that employees felt turnover was at an all-time high. Given such comments, The Executive Board felt it would be necessary to invite Jennifer to share the stats with the group so we can take a step back and have the appropriate data.
  • The data includes both Faculty and Staff, not including Adjuncts. The data shows turnover rates from 2016-2018 for these groups as well as the College and University Professional Association (CUPA) benchmarks. Turnover rates are done based on calendar year. Reports are run quarterly, but the People Center looks at the data on an annual basis due to the variability of quarterly/monthly stats.
  • Total turnover for the last three years are as follows:
    • 2016: 22%
    • 2017: 13.5%
    • 2018: 14%
    • CUPA Average was roughly 13% in Higher Education industry
  • The question was asked about total headcount of employees. Jennifer can share those numbers at a later time but estimates the College has around 420-450 full time employees. She was able to provide headcounts for hired employees and numbers for how many left year over year.
    • 2016: 34 members of staff left the College, 28 new staff were hired
    • 2017: 48 members of staff left the College, 47 new staff were hired
    • 2018: 50 members of staff left the College, 56 new staff were hired
  • The comment was made that while the turnover for 2018 was 14%, the headcount for those who left was higher than previous years (50). This is significant because of the emotional component associated with 50 familiar faces leaving. Jennifer acknowledged the emotional component and noted that, from a data standpoint, the statement that “people are leaving more than ever” is not necessarily accurate.
  • There was a statement made that it would be useful to get a sense of why the staff and faculty turnover rates differ so much. Also, regarding staff turnover specifically, it might be helpful to see a breakdown by titles, locations (e.g. divisionally), to try and tell a story using the data.
  • Part of the exit interview process helps to tell the story of why people are leaving the College. Jennifer noted that individuals are asked to fill out a survey and respond to certain questions during the in-person interview. In 2018, the top reason for people leaving the College was due to relocation. Professional growth, culture/future state of the institution, diversity, supervisor/leadership, and compensation were the other reasons noted.
  • The question was asked whether or not the exit survey prompts employees to rank the reasons for leaving, and whether or not that ranking might skew the data (e.g. “relocation” selected as one reason by most, but not necessarily the top reason). Jennifer noted that changes were made to the survey to avoid such ranking or make it more clear what the primary reason for leaving is.

VI.   Career Collaborative Presentation on InSight – Tanja Hinterstoisser

  • Formerly referred to as the LEAD program, InSight is the College’s curriculum on financial wisdom and career savviness. In September 2016, Career Collaborative assumed the responsibilities related to management and development of the program. In a relatively short period of time, Career Collaborative participated in program review/analysis (Phase I, Fall 2016), re-engineered the program design and framework (Phase II, Spring through Fall 2017), testing and re-branding (Phase III, Spring and Summer 2018), and ultimately launched the InSight program in the Fall of 2018.
  • Tanja expressed that the renaming/branding of the program to InSight was intentional, as the goal is for students to keep their future and career goals in sight as well as the simultaneous element of introspection that they will gain.
  • The purpose of the program is to address two primary concerns facing students – “will I get a job?” and “will I be able to pay my loans?”. The program is designed to prepare students to proactively address these concerns throughout their career at the College.
  • The program framework is split into two tracks: Career Positioning and Personal Finance.
    • Career Positioning – designed to help students stand out to potential employers and enable them to successfully land a job. The best practice curriculum readies students for a personalized career marketing plan that offers a tangible value proposition and showcases their competitive advantage to prospective employers.
    • Personal Finance – Experiential personal finance curriculum prepares students for effective including, salary & benefits negotiation, budget management, debt management, and student loan repayment strategies.
  • Tanja noted that part of the personal finance track is for students to work with the Financial Aid office to help them create an action plan to avoid surprises and increase awareness of financial responsibilities related to student loans prior to graduating.
  • The program is required of all traditional students and kicks off on day one of their career at Champlain. Milestones/deliverables related to both tracks are met throughout all 4 years, with specific programs designed for each year. The program is non-credit bearing so there is no additional cost associated with participating.
  • Tanja emphasized that this program is future-focused. Students are encouraged to think about what it is they want to do for their career.
  • There was a question asked about what the plan might be to ensure students follow through on the milestones and required deliverables (e.g. registration holds, graduation requirements, etc.). Career Collaborative has been working closely with the Registrar’s office to work out the specific timelines with registration and necessary holds, ultimately attempting to synchronize efforts. Many of the deliverables address the most basic elements of both tracks and some are even built into existing academic curriculum, so there is not much added work for students to complete. Tanja noted that they have been working closely with Laurie Quinn and the academic teams to ensure that year one, and more specifically the Fall semester, is not a heavy workload.
  • One member emphasized and encouraged staff to volunteer for Career Collaborative/InSight events. There are many opportunities (e.g. Game of Life, mock interviews, etc.) to see this work in action and bring to life the “why” behind how we support our students. Tanja seconded that by emphasizing that support and engagement from the community is what makes this program a huge success.
  • Tanja’s full presentation can also be viewed here:

VII.   Triple E Conversation: What’s Been Happening since the December Staff Council Meeting? – Shaylea Scribner

  • Shaylea cleared up rumors circulating that the Cabinet refused to meet with Staff council Executive Board, which is not accurate. The Cabinet requested to meet with the Executive Board but the Board declined at that time because they did not feel prepared to share on behalf of staff without fully understanding/hearing from the community. Instead, the Committee has had meetings with Jennifer to discuss what next steps might look like. Shaylea noted that the focus is to develop a meaningful relationship with Cabinet, providing a good step toward being able to better communicate and work together.
  • The Committee also compiled all of the comments made during the December meeting as well as in separate conversations with individuals in an effort to identify key focus areas. Shaylea shared that the 3 focus areas include the WHY (i.e. trying to identify why people are leaving/staying), staff compensation, staff growth, and staff voice. The Committee will share the list of focus areas and related comments/concerns from staff once finalized.
  • A comment was made that while the December meeting was appreciated and the comments that were shared should be acknowledged, there is concern that it represented a general sentiment that staff are not happy. Furthermore, there is concern that the Executive Board is bringing up issues to senior leadership that may not be representative of all staff and/or which not all staff have been made aware. Shaylea emphasized that the Executive Board is not going to hold a meeting with Cabinet until there is a clear focus and consensus from all staff. The goal is to move forward in a collaborative, positive way.

VIII.   Closing – if you have questions, feedback, ideas – please speak to me or one of our Executive Committee members.