Skip to content ↓

Human Resources work progresses; report summaries to be placed on web

Three of the six teams involved in redesigning MIT's human resources practices are well on their way to finishing their work by late this fall. Three others have already presented their final recommendations to the Reengineering Steering Committee, and one of those reports is now available on the web.

As each team within the Human Resources Practices Design/Development Project (HRPD) issues its report, a summary will be placed on the web, and a copy of the complete report will be available at the checkout desk of Barker Engineering Library. The report of the Recognition and Rewards Project Team, completed in May, is already accessible. Within the next few weeks, reports from the Orientation Project Team and the Training Policies and Administration Project Team will be issued.

The three other HRPD teams (see below) are planning to complete their work in the late fall. Their reports, as well as that of the HRPD Core Team, will be presented to the Steering Committee before January 31, 1999, when the HRPD project will be concluded. Neither final approval nor funding for implementation of any recommendations has occurred yet.


The Generic Roles and Competencies Team has been charged with researching and testing the hypothesis that competency-based human resource practices would provide a basis for successful hiring decisions and thoughtful transfer processes.

Since last October, team members have been working to develop generic roles (scopes of duties and responsibilities related to similar jobs) and define the competencies (predictors of performance success) that support these roles. As part of their work, they have helped build competency models for several generic roles in the School of Engineering, Physical Plant and Student Services. This information has been synthesized and a "competency reference dictionary" specific to MIT is being developed.

The team has also worked to develop a group of competency practitioners at MIT. A number of staff members, including personnel officers and performance consultants, are learning how to integrate competencies into hiring and career development practices.

In the final phase of their work, team members will pilot competency assessment and development in the School of Engineering headquarters. They are also planning focus groups in Institute areas that have implemented competency-based practices and collecting bench-marking data from external organizations.

Their final recommendations for the development and adoption of competency-based practices will be accompanied by tools and methodologies for continued implementation. The team will also identify critical integration points with other HRPD project teams to create a system of practices designed to support the needs of the Institute, make hiring more efficient, support and encourage career development and pathing, and give recognition to employees.


Charged with building on the existing performance appraisal process, the Performance Management Team has focused not only on the actual performance appraisal process, but also on the planning/goal-setting and coaching/communication processes that should occur throughout the year.

After completing a review of data compiled through an extensive information gathering process both within the MIT campus community and from external benchmarking sites, the Performance Management Team has defined the next phase of its work. As part of the recommendations being developed, team members will detail a performance appraisal process with greater emphasis on coaching, goal setting and planning.

The team will also make revisions to MIT's performance appraisal form, and will support their final recommendations with suggested training initiatives in performance appraisals, planning and goal-setting, coaching and effective management practices.


The final report being prepared by the HRPD Core Team will include a recommended implementation plan for the continuing evolution of competency-based human resources practices after the HRPD team disbands in early 1999.

An August retreat with managers from Personnel is being planned to consider the implications of the recommendations being developed and to formulate a proposal for long-term implementation. In preparation for the retreat, the HRPD team has held a series of information/idea sessions for Personnel staff to solicit input on the proposed recommendations.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on July 15, 1998.

Related Topics

More MIT News