Human Resources leaders have combined two internal groups to streamline resources and create natural collaborations within the division. What was formerly known as Learning, Leadership and Development has joined forces with Employee Relations to form a new department within HR — Employee Relations and Organizational Development.
“Putting our training and employee relations professionals together makes sense,” said Susan Norton, vice president of Human Resources. “When we impart sound fundamentals and ethical work practices to our leaders, managers and individual staff members through our training and development programs, we should expect results that complement our employee relations efforts, helping to build and maintain a fair and exemplary work environment.
“When you look at the performance behaviors and practices that Augusta University has established to create a workplace that is most conducive to our mission, vision and values, you will see that the work each of these teams performs is correlated.”
The professionals who handle employee relations for this merged department still have a primary goal to foster a positive work environment by providing guidance and assistance to employees and managers in administering Augusta University’s policies and procedures, ultimately helping the university demonstrate its commitment to practicing equal opportunity and affirmative action in all aspects of employment and employee relations.
The tasks that fall under Employee Relations include:
- Providing advice, guidance and counseling on work-related matters.
- Mediating disputes in the workplace (informal mediation program).
- Responding to work-related complaints or other claims of unethical work behavior.
- Investigating and responding to formal complaints on employee relations or Equal Employment Opportunitymatters if needed.
- Overseeing the annual performance appraisal process.
- Managing the university’s non-faculty grievance process.
Ensuring that the university complies with Affirmative Action and EEO laws, regulations and principles, and that all employment actions are accomplished without regard to age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation or other personal status.
Now, working hand in hand with Employee Relations are the HR professionals in Organizational Development, whose primary goal is to foster workforce learning, development and engagement. They also mentor and coach and create learning opportunities to enhance the skills and knowledge of individual employees, as well as small teams and larger workgroups.
Examples of specific development sessions offered include:
- Crucial Conversations workshops
- New Manager Orientation
- Emotional Intelligence
- Teamwork/Team Building
- Time/Organizational Management
- Conflict Management/Conflict Resolution
- Stress Management
The professionals in Organizational Development also offer more specific leadership instruction opportunities, including coaching, mentoring, consulting, career development and the recently revised Leadership Development Program.
The new Employee Relations and Organizational Development department is led by Debra Arnold, director, and includes Steve Goldberg, who was recently named the university’s Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity officer, Antionette Lewis, Employee Relations/Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator, Wanda O’Brien, LMS and development consultant, and Kelli Gonzalez-Brooks, organizational development specialist.
Find out more about professional development opportunities and training tracks on the website, and upcoming training opportunities are also listed on the university events calendar. To request specific training, complete and submit the request form under training request on the website.