Articles to be written with a ‘spin’ in a journalistic style in regards to human resource management in a government school in Australia/ Victoria.
1. Recruitment/ selection-2000 words approx
2. Induction/socialization -2000 words approx
3. Performance management- 2000 words
4. Strategic human resource management in schools-2000 words
Each paper to be written with a view as a Principal of a school with Bibliography Harvard style intact. Approx 1500-2000 words for each article- 4 articles in total
Title: Human resource management: RMIT University
Name of Course:
Recruitment guidelines. 3
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) is one of the original and leading educational institutions in Australia. It is an innovative university of technology with a global outlook. It is located in the heart of Melbourne City. The university provides quality research, work-relevant education, thereby maintaining engagement with the needs of both the community and industry. The university has more than 70,000 students who are studying at different RMIT campuses in Melbourne, online, in Vietnam and in many partner institutions across the world.
RMIT University has a stable and effective governance structure that is headed by the University’s Council. According to the university’s website, the council is charged with the responsibility of formulating the University’s policy and monitoring the University’s performance. One of the issues of policy that the Senate oversees is recruitment/selection. The council is always responsible for appointing the Vice-Chancellor and other senior executives.
RMIT University has an elaborate recruitment and selection procedure whose intent is to ensure that the values of fairness and transparency are safeguarded. The process also ensures that roles and responsibilities are perfectly integrated with workforce planning in order to ensure cost-effectiveness in the way the university’s capabilities are utilized. The recruitment procedure applies for recruitment and selection of all continuing and fixed-term staff members. The procedure excludes only the Vice-Chancellor and casual staff.
First, the need for a workforce has to be identified in order for the recruitment process to begin. This responsibility for identifying this need falls with the Human Resources Manager, Hiring Manager or Delegated Authority. This person has to establish that a position has become vacant, or that there is a need for a new position. A discussion has to be carried out within the human resources department regarding budget, workforce establishment and workforce plan with regard to the new position. Approval from the delegated authority is needed before the recruitment process can begin.
The second step entails a review of the position’s description and classification the hiring manager undertakes this task with the assistance of the human resources manager. The types of the position and the proposed job salary and classification have to be clarified. The required skills, behaviors, and knowledge also have to be specified. The position has to be in line with all official position guidelines. The position description needs to be up to date, whereby issues of position accountabilities, qualifications, key selection criteria, knowledge, and skills are clearly spelled out.
Priority should be on matters of safety, health and mandatory web publishing issues such as police checks, and experience in working in academic environments (Martin 1999, p. 145). Likewise, decisions on methods of attraction, recruitment, and selection have to be made. Targeted search activities should be determined in order for equity to be maintained with regard to specialized groups as well as people with skill sets that are difficult to source.
The decision on the members of the panel of selection also forms part of the review process. The extent of their activities is also precisely determined. In this regard, a specification is made on the extent to which they will be participating in initial applicant screening. Similarly, deliberations are made in order for the projected advertising budget to be confirmed.
Thirdly, the hiring manager seeks the approval to hire the new employee through the online recruitment system of the University. He has to provide a justification for recruitment, cost center details, an updated description of the position, the selection panel composition, selection methodology, position number, and advertising preferences.
The hiring manager is also required to establish the selection panel as well as contact the panel members for them to clarify their involvement, responsibilities and meeting schedules. In this way, both the selection methodology and activities are validated. In this process, reference is made to the interview questions and the case studies that were used.
Fourthly, the focus turns to issues of sourcing and advertising. At a minimum, every position at RMIT University has to be advertised on the RMIT recruitment website. The hiring manager is required to give consideration to any suitable redeploys. Alternatively, the position can be advertised through print media, specialized websites, agencies, and referrals.
The selection process begins with the assessment of suitable redeployment, an activity that paves the way to the redeployment procedure. Elsewhere, the shortlisting method is used to narrow down to a manageable number of interviewees (Harman 2004, p. 118). Both of these activities are carried out by the Chair of Panel with the assistance of the Hiring Manager. The shortlist has to be approved prior to interviews, by the Chair of Panel.
Next, it follows the crucial process of conducting interviews and carrying out assessments, which is carried out by the selection panel. Liaison with Human Resources is needed in order to coordinate formal panel interviews. At least one of the interviews should be panel-based. All the panel members can participate in a single interview or their engagement may be split over two different interviews. in these interviews, the advice of Human Resources is required on the type of behavioral interview questions to be asked. There should be an agreement on the questions that will be asked to all applicants in all the interviews.
Sometimes, the selection panel decides on whether or not to put in place additional assessment methodologies, such as role-plays, assessment centers, psychometric assessment, and case studies. During the interview, interviews are required to probe each applicant by asking different pre-arranged questions that relate the selection criteria. To determine suitability of candidates for the position, RMIT University requires that follow-up questions to be asked to all job candidates. Checking reference is a crucial part of the selection. The panel chair or human resources undertake reference checking in line with the requirement of the position. It is only after this undertaking that the preferred candidate is selected.
When a verbal offer is requested from a candidate, he should consider his candidature for the job position to have been viewed in a rather favorable light. It is the responsibility of a delegated authority to generate a specific offer of appointment. Once the offer has been approved by the selection panel, it should be extended to the candidate. It is important to note that the Chair must first recommend professorial titles for approval from the Vice-Chancellor.
From here, Candidates should get ready for the different checks to be carried out. The Human Resources conducts police checks, Sighting, and qualification verification, and ‘Working with Children’ checks. Note that probation is in most cases subject to the successful completion of all of these checks.
After checks are thorough and a probation offer has been confirmed, a job candidate can brace himself for the stage of contract offer and acceptance. Human Resources prepares the letter of offer and sends it to the preferred candidate. This is also the stage at which relocation arrangements are agreed upon wherever necessary.
Once the successful candidate has accepted the terms of the contract, he is contacted for notification on induction procedures. Human Resources also advises all unsuccessful candidates through email or telephone. The induction processes commence immediately after the hiring manager has been notified about the signing of the contract by the new employee. This is now the time when the employee is advised about the start date, the induction date and all the probation provisions. For a new staff member, the induction process is undertaken in line with the probation requirements, before the employee has started working for the company.
RMIT University recognizes prior service entitlements when hiring academic, professional, senior executive and TAFE teaching staff members. Childcare staff members, for instance, get recognition from RMIT with regard to service in other publicly funded universities in Australia, which are in reciprocal arrangements with RMIT, and which Chief Executive Officers are members of the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee. Meanwhile, RMIT may recognize service with other employers at the Vice-Chancellor’s or nominee’s discretion.
Additionally, the university recognizes prior to service, between specific approved authorities and institutions, for purposes of accumulated leave credits, long service leave, and parental leave entitlements (McNaught 2009, p. 79). Casual staff members are excluded from these arrangements except in cases where the candidate is entitled to certain types of unpaid leave. Moreover, parental leave entitlements are only recognized among professional and academic staff and not to TAFE staff.
For candidates to be considered for recognition of prior service, they have to fill in an application form, the letter of offer as well as the contract of employment. The application form for Recognition of Prior Service has to be filled by all the candidates who wish to be given prior service recognition. The form then has to be returned to the Human Resources within the notice period that is specified in the form.
Human Resources uses the prior service recognition form to determine the eligibility of the applicant based on the Workplace Agreement provisions, appropriate award and/or confirmation from previous employers. Once this has been done successfully, the prospective employee will know via notification, in writing, of the total amount of service that has been recognized for sick leave, long service leave, and parental leave purposes.
The RMIT School of Education offers TTL (Tertiary Teaching and Learning) Graduate Certificate in order to improve the practice of learning and teaching by tertiary teachers as well as to equip them with the right skills for teaching in the Higher Education sector. The guidelines offer information on mandatory requirements for all newly appointed staff members belonging to Academic A and Academic B group, who have successfully completed the TTL Graduate Certificate. The waiver has been applying to certain continuing staff members of these two groups since January 1, 2007.
For academic staff members to be exempted from undertaking the Graduate Certificate in favor of an alternative equivalent qualification, the recommendation of the selection panel and approval of the DVC (Academic) has to be sought. The waiver is always done in recognition of the qualities, experiences and high levels of performance possessed by some new academic appointees. For such appointees, it has to be established that the Graduate Certification will not contribute to their development in any significant manner. Other than that, a staff member could be undertaking a position that is predominantly research-focused, thereby eliminating the need to undertake the certificate.
The process for the waiver is simple but has to be strictly followed. During the interview, it is the duty of the Selection Panel to dig into the assurance that a given candidate’s level of performance is high and that he has acquired broad-based tertiary education skills (Lockwood 2009, p. 108). The appointee’s qualities should include teaching practice, student learning, effective use of ICT as well as internationalization of the teaching practice and curriculum (Carroll 2005, p. 287). Upon ascertaining the possession of these qualities by the applicant, the Selection Panel Chair advises the candidate that a request for waiver will be requested although it is not guaranteed.
Needless to say, all evidence supporting the waiver needs to be compiled, such as Award Certificates, citations, and documentary evidence of non-accredited study activities undertaken previously. The basis for these qualifications is also verified through contacting the applicant’s referees. All that follows is a preparation of a written waiver request by the Chair, in readiness for submission to the DVC (Academic). This request contains information on the basis of the request, a list containing the evidence, and an affirmation that all the claims of evidence have been sighted.
The DVC (Academic) assesses the application before advising the Chair about the outcome within a period of one week since the date the waiver request was received. If the applicant is unlucky or unqualified and the waiver request is rejected, the acceptance of the position has to be predicated on the completion of the qualification requirement by the prospective staff member. This has to be done in accordance with the RMIT policy, that is, during the probation period.
In the case of approval of the waiver request, the acceptance letter has to be included with the appointment approval together with other relevant appointments and recruitment documentation and then forwarded to Human Resources. Finally, the Human Resources prepare a contract, which he presents to the appointee to sign in readiness for his new job at RMIT University.
The main aims of engaging RMIT University staff in induction/ socialization activities include increasing their professional networking, promoting career development, enhancing job satisfaction, retaining motivated staff and growing a sense of responsibility for academic and organizational progress. The induction process enables the newly employed staff members to take initiative in the presentation of good ideas for improvement of service at the university.
Australian universities, just like many of their contemporary international counterparts, are positioned in environments that are rapidly changing in social, technological, political and financial aspects. Many policy changes have been announced in the past by the Rudd government, which focus attention on the need for improving competitiveness, such that student intake is driven by demand. This is contrary to the previous system, whereby allocation of place was made after negotiation between the government and the universities.
Moreover, there is a push for participation rates to be pushed higher across the community, particularly among low-income earners and those with an indigenous background. Newly hired academic and non-teaching staff members need to respond to this changing environment in order to remain relevant in their workplaces. This is where the need for induction and socialization sessions arises. These sessions are often carried out during the probation period.
The capacity by the workplace environment to provide innovative support depends largely on the existing organizational culture at the university. The workforce capacity to respond to an increase in student intake is the university’s latest challenge. Currently, the university is in the process of making an overhaul of the induction process in order to make it more effective than before.
There are many aspects of RMIT University’s organizational culture that can be termed as highly desirable during induction processes. Aspects such as workforce flexibility, a greater flow of divergent ideas, continuous performance and improvement culture, decision making, and role clarity pave way for an environment of reflexive practice to exist at the university.
The organizational culture at the university allows many appropriate decisions to be made at lower administrative levels than it was the case prior to 2009. The domino effect of this has been increased in the level of managerial responsiveness to different new suggestions. The executives at various departments understand the need for levels of innovation to be increased. Moreover, they understand the need for staff members to accept their responsibility throughout the company.
Many strategies have been implemented in order for progress to be made towards the establishment of the ideal culture. Some of these strategies include extensive leadership development, the formation of the much-touted New Professionals’ Group, and work planning training, for staff and supervisors.
The facilitation of ‘employee voice’ is always an essential undertaking if ‘organizational adaptation and learning’ is to occur. One of the approaches that were adopted at RMIT University was to facilitate work planning training for both individual staff members and supervisors. In this undertaking, the emphasis was put on the value of feedback and encouragement of improvement-related suggestions from members of staff from different levels.
The New Professionals’ Group was formed mainly for new employees within the university’s library section. This group was formed with the expectation that early-career professionals could easily be encouraged to remain highly proactive in pursuing organizational excellence than may have occurred in case they start perceiving themselves as ‘junior newcomers‘. The group, it was hoped, would enable these new professionals from falling into the pitfall of conforming to the prevailing organizational culture.
The main aspect of the existing organizational culture that the new employees were being discouraged from falling victim of is one characterized by cynicism towards the value of speaking up. Additionally, they were also being discouraged from perceiving managers as the only people who are charged with the responsibility of making decisions.
New professionals always have different expectations about their roles in this university. As these employees start getting the pinch of daily routines during the probation period, the pre-existing expectations are swiftly replaced by practical experiences of their first job. Sometimes, transition difficulties may tend to lower the level of job satisfaction among different employees.
Academic members of staff are always inducted and socialized into their new positions with the aim of enabling them to derive the benefits even in areas where there seem to be great discrepancies between their expectations and actualities. In areas where a low amount of knowledge seems to be a thorny issue, the professionals are showed how to get things done and how to be the one taking the initiative.
Induction and socialization is an excellent way of providing Human Resources with an alternative view to the employer’s view of organizational performance standards. In such a way, human resources professionals can perfectly determine the employee’s level of commitment to the organization’s goals. This measure is a necessary one since such a discovery is made at a time when is a high possibility of changing the professional’s mindset. Some of the weaknesses that may also be best dealt with at an early stage include lack of friendliness and reliability, lack of energy, inability to accept pressure and a poor trend in professional development.
There is a difference between professional development and training at RMIT University’s induction and socialization processes in various departments. Professional development is about behavioral and attitudinal change in a manner that increases one’s effectiveness in an organization. In most cases, training entails issues of analytical skills, risk-taking, functioning within high ambiguity levels, awareness of one’s political context, a strong orientation towards service, and a strong understanding of different information and its value to the university.
RMIT has for the last two years been trying to use newly hired professionals as agents of organizational change. For instance, in the library department, a structured internship was viewed as the best way of achieving this goal. Moreover, New Professionals’ Group was formed against the backdrop of similar intentions.
A key preliminary step in the induction/socialization process at RMIT University is always the identification of different topics that are of interest to all the new professionals in a certain area of academic or non-academic specialization. The initial emphasis, though, is always put on organizational aspects such as problem-solving, managing up and preparing solutions.
Regarding adjustment to the workplace, the new employees are engaged in basic first meeting activities such as making notes about their initial experiences at RMIT University and how they differ from their expectations. In the past, new many professionals have complained at the existence of a long hierarchy that breeds silos within different departments. The issue of silos touches on the highly complex area relating to organizational politics and culture.
RMIT University is always aware of the danger of ‘premature’ departures triggered by unrealistic expectations from newly recruited academic professionals. In order to do away with this problem, the value of helping new employees to ‘make sense’ of their new workplace is always stressed during the socialization process. ‘Influencing’ and ‘managing up’ sessions are always aimed at achieving this ‘sense-making’ objective. They are also aimed at encouraging constructive action for the improvement of the organization.
The topic of ‘managing up’ tends to bring up a lively discussion during the first meeting. It emerges that this issue requires practical application in order to be clearly appreciated. Personal experience is required for an individual employee to define his expectations clearly through direct reports.
The best probation experiences are those that coincide with the busiest time of the academic calendar. In such a sense, new employees are mentored by their superiors. They also become aware of the different professional associations that they can join. They are also influenced in many other ways on how to partake their professional duties in an organizationally efficient manner.
Structured sessions are carefully planned and timetabled in such a manner that multi-topic lessons are tackled effectively. In these lessons, the employees are given hints on how to coordinate with different working units with the university. A room is left for them to think about ways of improving the level of efficiency that is being currently experienced in the existing units. Senior managers also get an opportunity to discover the viewpoints of the new employees by requesting them to suggest the issues that they would like to see addressed in various sessions.
The process of preparing the new professionals for new duties starts in earnest, as early as during the induction and socialization stage. The probation may go on for as long as one year. However, halfway through the probation, it becomes easy to discern the difference between new entrants into the probation and those who have been in the induction process for a much longer duration.
Assertiveness at work is a skill that new professionals always look forward to gaining. At RMIT University, this skill is a high priority issue for all new appointees. This skill enables the new employees to be confident whenever they are dealing with colleagues, the management and students. During induction, employees are made aware of situations where assertiveness is required and how easily problems can be solved through assertiveness. Personal examples are often asked for from the supervisors of the induction/socialization sessions.
Maintaining assertiveness in the face of opposition can be a daunting task for a new professional. In case the opposition arises in the course of an induction discussion, this provides the inductees with an opportunity to maintain a frank and practical air throughout the discussion. Meanwhile, there are many specific tips of ensuring that this air of frankness and practicality exists in every meeting.
Every inductee needs to know his material before attending any meeting. They need to mingle with other inductees, canvass beforehand and know exactly where their stand is. They need to speak up their ideas and be aware there are many things that can be incorporated into the discussion even after the meeting has ended.
Moreover, you guessed it right, correspondence with other new employees through emails and telephone may be necessary for purposes of clarification and fine-tuning any loose ends in readiness for the next meeting. Foresight, it is often called. Remember the chairperson of the meeting may need to seek clarification from you if things start going off the rails. The chairperson also comes in hand to offer motivation in the ugly situation where your proposals seem to be generating no interest from the audience at first. It is possible to reduce the level of resistance before the meetings start. Simply canvass the issue, practice your delivery, predict as many opposing views as possible, inform the Chair that you intend to, or have been canvassing the issue, and distribute relevant supporting documents prior to starting of the meeting that you have been looking forward to.
Learning approaches should never take a back seat in the induction process at RMIT University. Here, they are cherished since after all, all these new professionals will need them in preparation of their teaching and research materials. There is no better way of widening their outlook than engaging in tours to different campuses of the university as well as other universities within Melbourne.
Back to learning approaches, the main issue under analysis here is the appropriateness of different learning and research styles. At RMIT University, as many styles as possible are utilized. Here is the list of them: listening to informal talks, watching a video, interviewing supervisors, preparatory reading, panel paper discussions, and action learning projects.
A closer look at the inductees’ response to learning styles will quickly reveal that informal discussions are preferred to structured sessions. This is clear judging from the speed with which participants complete preparatory work for sessions using informal discussions. Here at the university, face-to-face learning experiences are always supplemented by online sessions, though the latter are not heavily used.
The positive results of induction/socialization are always clearly discernible from the extent to which feelings of isolation are reduced among new employees at the university. Moreover, you will be surprised at the extent to which participants are stimulated into focusing on their careers more closely than ever before. The group bit of the induction is the ideal platform for tapping each of the new employees into staff development opportunities that exist at the university.
RMIT University’s top managers have never taken their eyes off the goal of supporting and developing staff. After all, why do that when these are the only people who can assist the university achieve its strategic goals? In other words, the task of achieving individual performance goes hand in hand with that of attaining university-wide development goals. This explains the close link between performance management and professional development procedures and policies.
It is clear what the university hopes to attain by undertaking these measures. The main idea is to improve both workgroups and individual performance. For this to happen, one notices that performance expectations have to be clarified on the basis of ongoing communication between staff and managers in order to provide plenty of opportunities for two-way feedback.
When thinking staff members’ performance, think alignment on the basis of the unit, School/group, college/portfolio, and the University. The hierarchy is simple, meaning that it is equally simple to plan and provide appropriate development opportunities for employees in a coherent manner. Likewise, thanks to this hierarchy, performance management through monitoring and evaluation of staff members’ performance have never been easier. The ripple effect of this efficiency has been the ease in determining the development and training needs of the university’s workforce. No wonder managers have all the mechanisms that they need of identifying and addressing poor performance. Moreover, they have adequate support of encouraging those who need encouragement as well as rewards for their excellent performance.
The scope of the University’s policy is rather wide by all standards; it applies to fixed-term, casual and continuing staff members across the university (Campbell 2001, p. 181). The only exclusion to this arrangement is an independent contractor. The policy provisions for performance management involve a continuous improvement cycle for aligning and improving the capabilities of staff members with the strategic goals set by RMIT. Staff managers do it rather easily – by jointly planning and reviewing their performance with managers using three main elements of performance management. These include ongoing feedback and development, work plans, and performance and development reviews.
All in all, staff members and managers cooperate in identifying the outcomes that need to be achieved, and the ideal way of managing their work. This is not to say that the roles of staff members are not clearly cut out. Far from this, staff members have their clearly spelled-out responsibilities. Their work ranges from seeking understanding and clarification on expected outcomes, setting priorities to providing constructive feedback to their respective managers (Jones 2009, p. 302). Other than that, their behavior is always in the spotlight. Instead of behaving as they wish, they are required to behave in the way the university requires of them, that is, in accordance with the university’s values as well as the behaviors required of their jobs.
No one manages workloads except the staff members themselves. Similarly, it is up to them to struggle with competing priorities, to advise their managers about matters that are relevant to the delivery of desired outcomes, and basically, to plan and drive their professional work and career goals.
The manager has his duties relating to performance management as well. He should not complacently sit on the constructive feedback supplied to him by the employees. Instead, this feedback should be the basis for creating an environment whereby open, two-way ongoing communication takes place.
Practically speaking, determination of clear priorities and directions, as well as performance standards for professionals, is one of the most crucial duties of a manager at RMIT. The mainframes of reference are two: School plan and Business plan. On this basis, outcomes are negotiated, timeframes are set and sources of feedback are determined, courtesy of the manager’s leadership efforts.
Staff members can also derive motivation from the knowledge that the appropriate professional development opportunities are being provided by the senior management. Without resources, such opportunities cannot be realized. Therefore the resources are provided as part of the opportunity-creation initiative.
Then, a time comes when a complete performance review has to be carried out. This time comes twice a year. Elsewhere, the approval of work plans is always undertaken on an ongoing basis. Ensuring that these workplans reach the Human resources at the right time is part of what employees at the university are encouraged to get used to doing.
The work plans are mandatory for all continuing and fixed-term staff members, while for casual staff members, they are optional. What an employee puts into his workplan is up to him to determine, though many factors will be at play in his professional mind when he is making this decision (Gloet 2003, p. 78). He has to think about the work unit’s goals, his own work goals, the approach adopted in workload allocation within the work unit, and his own position description.
Decisions involving workgroup mark a point where one’s activities are expected to be a clear reflection of one’s skills, level of interest, and motivation. The business plan is always expected to be the main source of motivation for the goals of the work unit. In simple terms, this is merely about the expected outcomes once the tasks at hand have been achieved.
Conversations about work tend to be carried out on an ongoing basis. At any given time, a manager ought to be thinking or undertaking conversations with an employee on this or that issue that hinders or promotes the level of achievement. The main point here is that ideally, issues are addressed as they arise. It is even better if negative outcomes are anticipated and avoided.
Regarding performance expectations, there is a lot to say about RMIT University. The work plan includes review dates when scheduled feedback can be exchanged between staff members and managers. In these discussions, these people ponder about the next course of action on the basis of the progress realized against the work plan. Naturally, the issue of reviewing priorities takes center stage.
Once the review outcomes are documented, they can be used in making decisions regarding the continuation of employment, probation and contract renewal. It is also used for purposes of professional development and performance management. Employees always look forward to these reviews since they are a culmination of their long wait for a verdict on rewards and incremental progression for their impressive performance.
Behaviors can sometimes be difficult to shape in professional staff at RMIT. A strict code of conduct and values is in force at the University for every staff member to adhere to. Those who feel that they need clarification on whether their behaviors are wayward in the university’s professional atmosphere can always look up to the code for clarification and shape u p accordingly.
Adherence to the right behaviors and code of conduct can always be recognized and rewarded. The managers recognize them and note them down. They always know what to note down since they are the ones responsible for encouraging the staff members to achieve and even exceed their performance goals. It feels great for a manager to undertake instances of high performance ineffective managers. Once he does this, his task is to ensure that he rewards and recognizes the staff member.
As you would expect (if you are conversant with how things are done in universities), the recognition is always commensurate with the level of performance, the achievements made, and its impact on the university. The contribution ought to be relevant, transparent and fair. It has to be valued and judged as meaningful to the staff member. It has to recognize the member’s preference for all the things that they find meaningful or rewarding in the way it is given.
Incremental progression is not a new term to many people who work in academic circles. At RMIT, staff members who are due for incremental progression may also happen to have displayed outstanding performance. For such people, the manager recommends that they are awarded double increments. For an academic staff member who fits into these criteria, the award takes the form of double or multiple increments. However, the nitty-gritty of getting approval for incremental progression goes beyond this simple procedure. Many intricate procedures have to be adhered to as part of ensuring that the right standards are adhered to.
Unsatisfactory work performance is always frowned upon. In such cases, a process of investigation is always undertaken. Firs though, managers are required to support staff members in efforts to up their performance. This is not done in an ad hoc manner. Principles of natural justice are followed and relevant legislation is adhered to.
Support strategies take many forms, from counseling to staff development measures. They range from role clarification to revision of work allocation. The Unsatisfactory Performance Guideline has been prepared for this purpose. Only after the failure by the employee’s performance to improve can the manager refers this matter to Human Resources for the appropriate disciplinary action to be initiated.
Misconduct at RMIT is a serious matter that is unacceptable at RMIT. This is because it entails a breach of the University’s procedures, policies or code of conduct. Serious misconduct takes the form of gross misbehavior and deliberate actions that can seriously prevent a staff member or any of their colleagues from undertaking their duties. Such matters are always settled in accordance with the provisions relating to legislation, awards and agreements.
The incremental progression procedure is worth focusing on for a while. This procedure outlines the process for incremental progression of one’s salary points in every classification level. Incremental progression is not an automatic undertaking although it allows annual progression to be undertaken through one’s salary points. This is done on the basis of satisfactory performance within the previous 12 months. An increment due date can be the anniversary of one of these: appointment to a position, deferral of an increment, reclassification or academic promotion.
The procedure applies to Professional, Academic and TAFE fixed-term and continuing staff. Excluded from this procedure are executive staff members and casual staff. Remuneration for executive staff is reviewed after every year under the guidelines offered in the Executive Remuneration Review.
For ease of reference, the procedure is categorized into four sections: approval for the increment, professional staff (denial or deferral of an increment, academic staff (denial of an increment), and TAFE Staff (Deferral of an annual increment). In the first section, the staff members eligible for an increment are documented and the list handed over to the Head of School. This has to be done four moths before the increment due date. The concerned staff member has to be invited for a discussion on their performance. It is only after this that the manager completes the documentation by appending signatures on the dotted spaces and then forwarding it to the relevant delegated authority for approval.
Employees who are anticipating a double or multiple increments can also brace themselves for a clearly set out procedure. The manager has to approve this type of increment as well. It is only applicable to academic staff. It applies only when the performance is recognized as being of outstanding quality, one that exceeds the normal expectations and requirements of the position. A delegated authority needs to sign off such an increment as well.
Once the paperwork is ready, it is time for the delegated authority to endorse the increment and return the increment application form to Human Resources. For Human Resources, the task is merely processing the increment report as stipulated in the university’s guidelines.
The possibility of denial of increment among academic staff should not be ruled out at RMIT. Some staff members simply refuse to perform their roles. The manager advises such members in writing or verbally. The message communication contains information about the deferral of increment. It also contains information on specific areas where concerns have been raised. The support and assistance to be provided is also highlighted in this piece of communication. Human Resources has to have a hand in this crucial communication.
In what can best be termed as democratic governance at work, an academic staff member who is not satisfied with the decision to defer increment may seek review of such a decision. He only needs to submit a written application requesting the review, which he should prevent to the appropriate Pro-Vice-Chancellor or his nominee.
Once the ball is in the Senior Executive’s or nominee’s court, it turns to kick it. He has to review all the relevant documentation upon which the decision to deny the increment was based and then use it to either uphold or reverse the decision that had been made earlier on. The Senior Executive should inform the staff member about the outcome of the review in writing.
The third procedure focuses solely on professional staff and the way in which the denial/deferral of an increment is done. For these staff members, the first step is the manager’s concern about a staff member’s performance. The staff member has to receive advice verbally as well as in writing that it is possible for the increment to be deferred. The area of concern that worries the manager has to be documented. The assistance and support that will be provided to enable the staff member to achieve the right performance standards also ought to be highlighted. The rest of the procedure resembles that of the academic staff and TAFE staff.
RMIT University has a clear Human Resource Management policy that addresses many matters including academic promotion, categorization of staff, employment conditions, flexible working, change management and leave. The policy also addresses matters of induction and probation, professional development, training, remuneration, retirement and resignation, travel and working offshore.
The matters involving academic promotion are many and varied but RMIT has defined everything in crystal clear details. Issues of the academic promotion appeal procedure, policy, and guidelines are clearly described just in the same as issues of composition of promotion panels, levels of promotion, and promotion application guidelines.
For instance, the appeal for promotion follows a clearly stipulated procedure, which applies to staff members within the academic staff levels A to D. it also encompasses academic staff who are employed solely for purposes of research. However, in the latter category, one needs to have undertaken 12 months of continuous service at the university on top of meeting all the prescribed eligibility criteria.
A point worth noting here is that all appeals can only be made on grounds of procedure or eligibility only. Rules are rules and this is why professional staff and TAFE teachers cannot dare appeal promotion decisions using this process. Moreover, there is a University Academic Promotions Appeals Committee (UAPAC) in place to ensure that no one plays in utter violation of the stipulated rules.
Other than matters promotion, there are myriads of human resource issues that RMIT addresses. The focus has at times been put on the employment conditions under which the employees here work. The employment conditions for academic and professional staff, senior executive staff, childcare staff, and TAFE staff are provided for through enterprise agreements (De Gooijer 2009, p. 305). For traineeship employees, the conditions are stipulated in a uniform policy framework that can be accessed at the university’s official website.
Every full-time trainee gets the pleasure of being engaged for not more than a one-year’s duration, although there are a few exceptions where the traineeship may extend for up to two years. The duration of the traineeship can be varied based on an agreement between the university and the trainee. However, a reference to the relevant Traineeship Scheme is always mandatory. Part-time employees can take pride in being constrained by only clause 5 of the university’s traineeship regulations.
Traineeships provide the most flexible environment for employees to work at RMIT. This is easy to illustrate judging by the ease with which an early conclusion of the traineeship can be entered into in case on completes the training before the officially stipulated time. Such a termination, though, has to be consented to by the administration.
Other desirable conditions relate to permission to be absent from work without losing continuity of employment or wages to attend training and the ability to continue serving beyond the time stipulated in the training agreement. In situations where one chooses to continue to work after the expiry of the stipulated date, the continuation is counted as services for purposes of the agreement.
Employment conditions for academic and professional staff are governed by two agreements: the Staff Union Collective Agreement of 2010 and the Fair Work Australia Agreement of 2010. For senior executive staff, refer to the Senior Executive Staff Enterprise Agreement of 2006. For TAFE staff members’ employment conditions, refer to three main documents. The first one is the Workplace Authority notice to employees; the second one is Victorian TAFE Teaching Staff Multi-Business Agreement of 2009; the third document is the TAFE Teachers’ Conditions of Employment Award issued in 2006. For childcare staff, the document to refer to is known as Children’s Services Union Collective Enterprise Agreement of 2009.
These employment condition agreements and documentations are thoroughly comprehensive. Almost every aspect of an employee’s stay at RMIT University has been highlighted. To illustrate this, a highlight of some of these issues may be necessary. The first section contains issues relating to the operation of the agreement. Next follows employment relationship matters, followed by communication and consultation, and then remuneration, assistance, and allowances. Other matters down the list include workplace flexibility for maintaining work-life balance, management of performance and conduct and workplace planning and conduct.
The mode of employment for academic and professional staff at RMIT is as clearly stipulated as all other aspects of human resource management. The connection with all other aspects of the university’s governance structures is clear for all to see. Even though doubts have been avoided in this agreement, the drafters of the agreement have gone a step further and ensured that nothing in the agreement prevents an employee from engaging in additional employment engagement in casual work that is unrelated to, or clearly and identifiably separate from the normal duties at the university.
The stand on casual employment in the agreement is clear: it is considered an inappropriate mode of employment under any circumstance and an unsuitable substitute for any fixed-term or continuing employment. The implications of this observation are rather clear: the university cannot use casual employment in all circumstances that require a significant number of hours every week in order for long-term, regular and systematic tasks to be carried out. However, the university provides casual staff with a range of benefits, including a clear-cut opportunity for eligible casual employees to have their employment status being converted into continuing or fixed-term employment. As one may easily find out, fixed-term and continuing employment often contains a reasonable probationary period, which relates directly to the nature of tasks being undertaken.
The university has the authority to decide whether or not to provide a remuneration package that involves the reduction of a part of an employee’s salary as applicable under the agreement. In return, the university should offer non-cash benefits. The remuneration package requires the employee to meet the cost of providing such benefits as well as associated administration and taxation costs provided that all payroll tax savings are passed onto the employees.
Regarding workloads, the principles set out emphasize on equitability, transparency, and manageability. As a matter of exception, supervisors are exempted from working excessive hours. In very large and complex universities such as RMIT, it is always necessary for the diverse requirements of workload achievement to be put into consideration. At this university, these considerations have been put in place in order for equitability to be achieved in the way tasks are distributed.
A feel of what it is like to work at RMIT University becomes clear when one notices the level of consultation that is undertaken by professionals in the process of designing a workload allocation model. The result of these consultations is clearly stipulated principles that are founded on various common principles.
The bottom line is that all documentation is open, scrutiny, discussion and review measures are the norm, and all affected staff members are engaged in the deliberations. Likewise, the achievement of full-time workload is done using clear, logical principles that are assented to by all sound-minded professionals and managers.
In any workplace, concerns tend to arise and complaints of inconsistency are common. RMIT is no different. Luckily, unlike in many other institutions and organizations, there are sound mechanisms at RMIT for addressing various concerns. Raising the concern with the relevant manager is always the first measure. Where the need arises, the concern is referred to the Executive Director who is responsible for handling such matters, or even the Pro-Vice-Chancellor. If the issue is still not resolved, the matter has to be referred to the Agreement Implementation Monitoring Committee for recommendations to the nominee or Vice-Chancellor for a penultimate decision. Finally, an unsatisfied employee can refer the matter to Fair Work Australia for final resolution.
With RMIT being a learning and research institution, academic work plans deserve special attention. There are four major components of the workplans: administration, professional and community engagement, teaching, and scholarship and research. At RMIT, all employees have to participate in a combination of these activities. However, consideration has to be put on the needs of a school, career aspirations of the employee and the workplace should not exceed an average of 36 hours weekly.
The aspect of HRM that can be most clearly discerned at RMIT entails the mix of activities that are determined through consultation between supervisors and employees. One of the subjects of discussion is the creation or identification of career and professional opportunities. The emphasis here is on balancing between areas of expertise and other areas of academic activity.
Variations in the way individuals are distributed is based on many factors, including the needs of the school, personal interests and strengths, career development and an individual’s responsibilities (Connell 2006, p. 502). Academic staff members who are employed in research positions under specially defined research activities, such that there is no room for ambiguity, clash of interests or confusion. The agreements entered into by supervisors are similar to those that are entered into teaching and administrative activities, only that in this case, the focus is on research issues and the dynamics that exist in this area of academic engagement.
The way in which activities are distributed in the workplan of an academic employee is always reflected in the way the individual’s performance is assessed, for the purpose of academic promotion in efforts to maintain equitability. Furthermore, the guidelines describe the trends that go beyond short-term employment engagements. It contains guidelines on the activities that cover as long as a whole year. The work plans, therefore, have to be designed with long-term practices into consideration. With such a perspective, it is easy to put into consideration implications relating to remuneration, promotion and change from fixed-term to continuing employment.
The recruitment, induction, performance management and strategic human resource management principles that are in use at RMIT University reflect the measures that are in place in major world-class universities. This is one of the reasons why university remains one of the respective institutions of higher learning both within Australia and internationally.
The recruitment and selection procedures are elaborate and their main intent is always to ensure that the values of fairness and transparency are safeguarded in the process of hiring the most suitable persons for the academic, professional and casual positions that fall vacant. On the other hand induction and socialization efforts are always geared towards increasing the level of professional networking among inductees. Performance management efforts are mainly geared towards supporting and developing staff.
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Connell, J, 2006, ‘The influence of precarious employment on career development: The current situation in Australia’ Education + Training, Vol. 48, No. 7, pp. 493-507.
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RMIT University, 2010, Recruitment and selection procedure http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse/Staff/Administration/Policies%20and%20procedures/Human%20resources/Recruitment/Recruitment%20and%20selection%20procedure/, Retrieved on October 2, 2010.