It was clear during the subcommittee deliberations and from the internal survey that there were two cross-cutting issues for NCAR—mentoring and evaluation of employees. Many staff wanted more opportunities for mentoring to help advance their own careers and to help them understand workforce policies and practices. They also wanted increased clarity and transparency about how they were evaluated. These concerns lead to two recommendations:
- Promote mentoring.
Each laboratory should maintain a program for mentoring of staff, especially those who are early in their careers. Laboratories should create a pool of individuals who have agreed to serve as mentors to those in need to advice and counsel. In these programs, it should be emphasized that mentoring is a shared responsibility; however it is the obligation of the person receiving mentoring to seek advice and take advantage of resources that are available (or to decide that they are not needed). Mentoring of staff, including managers, is especially needed in order to help increase diversity.
- Clarify the evaluation process.
NCAR and UCAR management should more clearly define how highly diverse job functions should be evaluated within a given job category. The relative importance of jobs within a job family should be indicated by the Position Description (PD) of each employee in the organization. Over time, the PD may not fully reflect how the employee actually spends his or her time in the job; therefore, it should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
Procedures and practices across divisions and labs
The internal scan, highlighted by discussions with administrators and directors, led to a series of recommendations regarding procedures and practices within the organization.
1. Collaborate to establish best management practices across labs and programs and make them transparent by:
- Continuing to maintain and update the NCAR Administrators’ Users Manual to document and standardize or customize lab and program processes and practices,
- Expanding new-employee orientation at the lab/program level to include an introduction to lab procedures, committees, and resource people,
- Providing regular opportunities for staff to learn about changes in procedures or staff responsibilities and review lab management protocols through town meetings, staff newsletters, and Web pages; and holding annual administration retreats to share best practices.
2. Regularly collect data on internal and external workforce trends
To support informed dialog with staff and knowledgeable decision making at the individual and institutional level, management should regularly collect and publish workforce metrics for NCAR and share this information with peer institutions.
3. Proceed with the next phases of strategic and operational workforce planning and resource allocation by:
- Including workforce data and projections in the Annual Budget Review (ABR) process,
- Estimating the costs of the WMP recommendations,
- Conducting regular internal assessments of workforce needs and gaps,
- Supporting matrix and project staff management,
- Preparing to meet future workforce requirements through long-term planning and investments in professional development opportunities for staff,
- Investing in training, recruiting, diversity efforts, and retaining and recognizing staff,
- Partnering with the research and university community to plan for the future NCAR and community workforce.