IANR HR garners national attention for innovative approach

Getting IANR professionals up to speed on the new performance management process was a major initiative for the human resources team, with 54 in-person training sessions across the state reaching 1,010 employees.

February 1, 2017

Lincoln, Neb. — The human resources department within the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources has been featured in the latest issue of The Higher Education Workplace. This comes after a series of presentations, articles and webinars highlighting IANR’s new performance management process and strengths-based approach, which has placed IANR HR under a national spotlight.

The publication focuses on IANR HR’s overhaul of their performance management model. This has involved shifting away from annual performance evaluations and toward more frequent and meaningful conversations. Getting IANR professionals up to speed on the new process was a major initiative, with 54 in-person training sessions across the state reaching 1,010 employees.

As part of the frequent conversations, employees and their manager discuss what strengths the employee has, how they can better utilize those strengths within the team and how can they be further developed. 

“Our team worked diligently to research and develop a simple but powerful model which would benefit both the employee and the unit,” said Becky Carter, human resources specialist with IANR HR.

Research done by Gallup indicates that 67 percent of employees who strongly agree that their manager focuses on their strengths or positive characteristics are engaged. While several cutting-edge companies such as Netflix and local company, Union Bank and Trust have implemented frequent conversations instead of annual performance assessment, IANR HR is one of the first teams in higher education using this model.

According to Carter, the goals of the performance conversations are to set work expectations, recognize employee performance, and build an open, honest and constructive relationship between managers and employees.   

“Shifting to a strengths-based development approach allows for employees and managers to acknowledge and leverage employee’s natural talents,” she said. “Early feedback from our managers and employees is positive.” 

The Higher Education Workplace is published by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR). In addition to being featured in the publication, the IANR HR team  presented at the 2016 CUPA-HR conference in Chicago. Carter also presented on performance management at the Central Association of College and University Business Officers annual meeting in San Francisco last October.

To read the full Higher Education Workplace article, visit http://www.cupahr.org/hew/current.aspx.

IANR HR also had two articles published on the Higher Ed Jobs website in 2016. One article focused on how to get the most from performance reviews and the other explained the new employee-driven approach at IANR.

Members of the IANR HR team involved in performance management and strengths-based development include Trisha Dezort, Becky Carter, Rachel Szelag, Carol Ott Schacht and Chris Gengenbach.

The spring performance conversation window opened Feb. 1.  IANR HR will host several learning workshops on how to get the best out of your conversation. If you have any questions, contact Rachel Szelag at 402-472-6837 or rszelag2@unl.edu.

IANR units interested in team building around strengths-based development using the StrengthsFinder assessment, should contact Carter at 402-472-5893 or bcarter2@unl.edu

For more information, visit http://ianrhr.unl.edu/

Becky Carter
Human Resources Specialist

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