Aug. 18, 1994
Vol. 14, No. 2

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    Employees upgrading skills with HRM training

    Before 1993, Elizabeth Mishler, department administrator in Education, had been in supervisory positions for 9 years without any formal training in management skills. Last year, as her staff began to change and new regulatory guidelines for managers emerged, Mishler decided it was time to sharpen her managerial skills, and she enrolled in a supervisory training course offered by the Training Department of Human Resources Management (HRM).

    "I needed to reorganize my thinking and meet new management challenges. After the course, I returned with a new attitude toward supervising that was more inclusive. I learned different tools for analyzing policy issues -- tools that complement my intuition and experience," Mishler said.

    HRM offers a wide variety of workshops and training sessions in management skills and personal development for University employees. Courses last from two to 12 weeks and are open to all regular full-time or part-time benefits-eligible University employees. There are fees for some courses, but many courses are offered free of charge.

    Employee training sessions began in 1988 as a way to offer senior-level administrators training courses in management-development skills. Soon the program expanded to include midlevel management. In 1991, Rusty Hellman, HRM Training Consultant, and Evelyn Williams, Training Manager, began investigating the broader needs of University employees and designed programs to meet those needs.

    Since 1992, the number of courses offered has tripled. During the 1993-94 academic year, a total of 1,437 employees received a total of 8,137 hours in training, with 774 employees participating in 59 workshops and 635 new employees and 28 new managers participating in orientation programs.

    Courses are offered in several areas, including Communication & Business Writing, Individual Development, Specialized Departmental Training, Workforce 2000 -- a program offering General Equivalency Diploma (GED) preparation and English as a second language -- and Management Development, which includes training in supervisory skills and in the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. Classes are taught by Training Department and other HRM staff, University faculty members and outside consultants.

    "We recently have focused more on management training, writing and individual training sessions, and we're getting a real cross section of the University community to participate," Williams said. The most popular courses offered during the past year have been those dealing with communication skills, supervisory training, advanced professional writing and how to give performance appraisals, she added.

    Most classes are held during regular office hours. "We've found that holding classes during the day has been a help rather than a hindrance to employees. Supervisors have been very supportive and flexible in allowing employees to schedule courses around their work hours," Williams said.

    The Training Department is considering new courses in group facilitation and managing change, as well as expanded courses in safety training, stress and time management, and coping with change in the workplace.

    In addition to offering its own courses, HRM also serves as a clearinghouse for training programs offered by other departments, such as the Safety Department, the Comptroller's Office and the Academic Information Systems department of Administrative Computing & Telecommunications Organizations.

    A complete list of training courses offered at the University, including course descriptions and fees, is contained in The Resource, a quarterly publication. The current issue of The Resource is available in the HRM office in Ingleside Hall. The next issue of The Resource will be included in the Sept. 29 issue of the Chronicle. For more information, call the HRM Training Department at 702-9600.