October 15, 2012

New Education Modules Aim to Reduce Myths about Civil Service

By Monica M. Walk
AS ACADEMIC Professional positions are reviewed and some reclassified as Civil Service, new education modules will help employees better understand the purpose of the Civil Service system on the UIC campus.

“CIVIL SERVICE is a type of objective personnel management system. It is designed to ensure fairness and equity,” said Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Robert Crouch. Civil Service provides that the employment process is fair so that individuals have an equal opportunity to compete for job openings.” Employees in the Civil Service classification run the gamut from entry level to the most professional, from clerical to managerial.

“THE MAJORITY of my career has been in a Civil Service environment, where people were very professional and conscientious,” Crouch said. “My experience within a Civil Service environment has been great. Everyone worked side-by-side and you couldn’t tell the difference between Academic Professional and Civil Service: work standards and benefits were the same. To me, Civil Service has always been an honorable employment classification.”

THE CAMPUS has established a meaningful partnership with the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS), to create awareness about what Civil Service means as a personnel management system at UIC. “As part of a continuous learning process, it is critically important to increase awareness of what Civil Service is,” Crouch said.

A SERIES of educational modules are being developed to help inform the campus about the structure and guidelines within the Civil Service system. More than 50 employees in the UIC HR unit were the first to experience a customer service module recently presented jointly by UIC HR and SUCSS. A future module is targeted at college and departmental level HR. Another module under development is geared toward senior level managers.

“IN ACADEMIA we understand the importance of education,” Crouch said. “We want to eliminate misunderstandings about Civil Service. We are working collaboratively with the SUCSS office to provide opportunities to better understand Civil Service on the UIC campus. The strong partnership we have developed with SUCSS will help us to more effectively acquire the best talent.”

Flexible System
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the State Universities Civil Service System Tom Morelock has been working directly with UIC HR staff, and is scheduled to present in the upcoming training modules.

“FIRST AND foremost, it is important to understand that every large organization needs a personnel management system,” Morelock said. “In these modules, we want to demonstrate how delivery of this comprehensive personnel plan incorporates state-of-the-art management of personnel and human capital. Our end goal is to demonstrate there is a lot of flexibility in this system.”

MORELOCK STATED that while the law is built on regulations and statutes, these do not govern every step in the Civil Service hiring process. “Only one or two rules and regulations are involved, and the rest of the process revolves around local policies and procedures,” he said. “You can get through [the hiring process] more quickly if you manage these other steps. It simply takes too long to hire someone now, but the vast majority of that timeframe is from local policies and not statewide regulations. They can be changed or upgraded.  These modules are intended to give a common foundation about the system and local policy.”

HE NOTED that the veterinary school is changing its job classification structure to assist the delivery of their customer service module.  “The system allows for relatively quick changes like this,” Morelock said.  “It is reactive to operational needs.”

CURRENTLY, MISPERCEPTIONS about Civil Service hiring do exist, acknowledged Director of Organizational Effectiveness for UIC HR Kim Morris-Lee.  “Hiring managers have a sense that hiring Civil Service takes forever,” she said.  “And, if they don’t work out, it takes forever to remove them.”

THREE MORE planned education modules will show how this isn’t the case.

“THERE ARE lots of positives of Civil Service,” Morris-Lee said.

Additional Modules Slated
THE MODULE planned for November roll-out is aimed at campus employees who function as conduits between a unit or college and the university Human Resources office, such as the human resources coordinator in an administrative unit or college who processes hiring forms and related tasks.

“THIS MODULE explains the kinds of things they need to know to get talent in their unit or college, what actions they need to take,” Morris-Lee said. “Things that allow them to be flexible, but guided by certain policies and procedures to move the process forward. We want our customers to understand that the actions for the requisition process work well and get talent in place quickly.”

A THIRD module created for Vice Presidents, Deans, and Directors is slated for late January 2013 and will explain how Civil Service gets needed talent efficiently and without service gaps.

A FOURTH module, planned for March 2013, will be for individuals functioning in Civil Service roles on campus. Content will include how to move a career forward at UIC.  It will be scheduled on a monthly basis.

FOR MORE information, call (312) 355-5230.

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