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New human resources team wants input from community

The new Human Resource Practices Design team will hold "Speak Up" sessions starting tomorrow for a week to gather input from a cross-section of the employee community about performance reviews, career development, rewards and recognition.

Launched last month, the Human Resource Practices team will expand on the work of the Training and Development team to include a wider range of human resource issues. The new team's mission as stated in its charter is to "identify and evaluate the human resource practices needed to select, prepare, motivate, develop and support MIT's employees to meet the needs of changing work environments across the Institute. Such practices include hiring, evaluating, developing and rewarding people."

The charter and other information about the team were sent to all employees from Joan Rice, vice president for human resources and sponsor of the team, earlier this month.

The Speak Up sessions are just one of the ways the team is collecting information, ideas, opinions and concerns from as many people in the community as possible. All of the Speak Up sessions will be held in Building W89, the MIT Learning Center, at 301 Vassar St. There are three sessions per day on July 25, 26, 29, 30, and 31 at the following times: 9:30-11am, 12:15-1:45pm, and 2:30-4pm. Participants are welcome to bring their lunch to the midday sessions.

The team had originally asked people to sign up in advance for specific sessions, but in order to encourage the broadest participation possible, community members can simply attend the session that's most convenient for them.

In her July 8 memo about the team, Joan Rice encouraged supervisors to let their employees participate in this important effort.

"Clearly, we need to learn from the entire community," said Patricia Brady, team captain. "The reason is that whether you're a member of the faculty, work in the administrative or technical ranks, are a member of the support staff or a vice president, human resource practices affect how you do your job at MIT. We want to hear what works for you, what doesn't, and what might."

There are three areas of human-resource practices the team expects to study. The first is performance planning and appraisal for both individuals and teams, and also includes development and feedback as well as career planning. The second is workforce planning, which involves hiring, career paths and succession planning. The third is work design and rewards which includes job design, classification and compensation/recognition.

Other ways the HR team will reach the community include focus groups and campus events. The team has already started to meet with people in focus groups from a cross section of the community. The goal is to assess the strengths of existing human resource practices and to identify current and future needs. The team will host an ice cream social on August 15, and the suggestions, comments and concerns they've heard from the community will be displayed at that event.

The team also plans to explore the best HR practices in other organizations with similar missions, structures and/or diversity. Ultimately the team will propose a working design and structure for human resource practices and a series of next steps for implementation.

The team works in W91-117, and its extension is x3-7208. Comments, ideas and questions may be e-mailed to . Anonymous e-mail about this or any of the reengineering projects can be sent to .

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on July 24, 1996.

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