Human Resources Newsletter

March 2013

Newsletter Masthead

Welcome

This month's issue features frequently asked questions about the Performance Management Program and the Mid-Year Discussions; 2012 Flexible Spending Account claims submission deadline and information; retirement plan reminders; annual leave reminder for full-time staff; Staff Appreciation Day save the date information; and AhealthyU program offerings. To go directly to an article, click on the Quick Links on the right.

Mid-Year Discussions Due By March 29th

Below are frequently asked questions about the Performance Management Program and the Mid-Year Discussions.  More FAQs can be found in the September HR newsletter. If you have additional questions, please email AsuccessfulU@american.edu and a member of the HR team will help you.

General Questions

What is a Mid-Year Discussion and what is my role and the role of my manager?
Why is the Mid-Year Discussion important?
When is the Mid-Year Discussion due?
How much time will I need to complete the process?
What does a newly hired or promoted staff member need to do for the Mid-Year review?
How have the competencies changed?

Development Planning

Is the discussion of my development goals something new?
What is development planning?
How do you determine what goes on a development plan?
What if I do not have a competency gap?
Who can see my development goals?
In the development goals, is there a place for the manager to put progress notes?

Using the AsuccessfulU System

This seems like a lot of change and several new features to consider. How do I get help?
I accidentally skipped one of the comment fields but still clicked “Send to Next Step.” Now I see a messy error screen – what does it mean?
How do I print my comments and ratings?
What is the ‘Positivity Meter’ in the Writing Assistant? It just seems to stay in the middle.
Why do I have to click the “Send to Next Step” button twice when I’m done commenting?
Where did the Learning module (formerly known as ULearn) go?

Goals

If you create a new goal while in the Mid-Year form, will it also be saved to your Goals page?
When the form launches, will it be populated with the goals I already set?
Is my manager made aware when the goals change / are edited?
Once the form is submitted, can I go back and change anything?
Do you have to complete the Mid-Year form at one time?
Can you cut from Microsoft Word and paste into the Mid-Year Discussion form?
Can I use the Writing Assistant for commenting on my goals?
Can I edit information in my goal while in the Mid-Year Discussion form? For instance, “Status” or “Tracking Sources.”

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Human Resources
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PMP and AsuccessfulU Questions?

Do you have a question about the revamped PMP? Having trouble finding or logging in to set up your goals in AsuccessfulU? Email AsuccessfulU@american.edu and a member of the HR team will help you.

General Questions

What is a Mid-Year Discussion and what is my role and the role of my manager?
The Mid-Year Discussion is a chance to check in on your progress towards accomplishing your performance goals and the level of proficiency you demonstrate currently for each of your competencies. Your role is to assess your progress towards each goal and competency and be prepared to discuss your assessment with your manager. Your manager’s role is to do the same and share their assessment with you.

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Why is the Mid-Year Discussion important?
This discussion is a chance to review your performance and discuss your professional goals. This is the opportunity to address issues related to your achievement of goals and if anything is getting in your way of achieving them. If so, you will problem solve ways of removing barriers with your manager to help ensure your success this year.

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When is the Mid-Year Discussion due?
The Mid-Year Discussion takes place half way through the performance year. It is the only required check-in during the year, other than the year-end assessment, although your manager and you may agree to several more.

The revamped PMP in AsuccessfulU includes several steps. Steps one through four, as outlined in the illustration below, are to be completed by March 29th. Steps five and six can be initiated later.

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Mid-year Discussion Process

How much time will I need to complete the process?
It will take about 30 minutes to view the online training (step 1), and the amount of time to
complete steps 2-4 will vary by staff and manager. As with anything new, be sure to give yourself enough time to perform each of these steps thoroughly.

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What does a newly hired or promoted staff member need to do for the Mid-Year review?
If you or your staff member is still within the four-month probationary period, you still can complete the Mid-Year review form. Use this time to discuss, establish, or update performance goals, as well as Core and Job competencies to set expectations and a foundation for the year-end review. If you are a new hire and do not see a Mid-Year form in your account, contact asuccessfulu@american.edu and one will be provided for you.

How have the competencies changed?
You and your supervisor will evaluate your level of proficiency in each of the Job and Core competencies. You no longer select competencies as you had in the past. They are assigned to you based on the level of your position. If you identify areas for improvement in your competencies, you and your supervisor will create a plan to support your development. Below is a chart showing the two core competencies that apply to all position levels as well as the six to eight job/managerial competencies that vary based on position level.

Core competencies are behaviors and skills that are expected of every staff member regardless of level. All staff will be evaluated on these competencies at the year-end review in July 2013.

Job/Managerial Competencies are behaviors and skills assigned to, and expected of, you based on the level of your position (front line, mid-level, upper-level) and the scope and impact of your work. All staff will be evaluated on these competencies starting in 2014.

Competencies at a Glance

For more detail on the Core and Job/Managerial competencies, refer to the Staff Competencies Guide.

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Development Planning

Is the discussion of my development goals something new?
Yes, that is what steps five and six are about. New in the revamped PMP is the addition of development plans. During the Mid-Year, you and your manager will determine if there are areas of your performance that need improvement, or if not, identify opportunities for developing your knowledge and skills in new areas.

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What is development planning?
Development planning is an optional discussion that can take place at any time during the year. Working with your manager, you will set one or two goals that will broaden your skills and prepare you for the next steps in your career, provided you are meeting or exceeding the expectations in your current position. Development planning doesn’t need to be completed during the performance period, but can span the course of two or three performance years.

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How do you determine what goes on a development plan?
Development goals go into a development plan and are directly related to competencies. You generally will not set a large number of development goals. During the Mid-Year, you may discover that there is a competency gap. This may occur if you demonstrate a low level of proficiency for a competency, or perhaps you are new in your job. Regardless of the reason, you and your manager might set one or development goals to help you development new skills to overcome the gap.

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What if I do not have a competency gap?
If you consistently meet expectations in your competencies, you can set your own development goals focused on professional growth. You may do this in collaboration with your manager at any time during the year. For example, you might want to improve a skill in preparation for a higher level job at AU. If that is the case, you would create a development goal in AsuccessfulU that might involve any number of learning activities. Some examples might be attending a skills workshop, or shadowing a colleague who you believe possess this skill already.

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Who can see my development goals?
Development goals are private. That means development goals are only visible to hierarchy above in your reporting structure.

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In the development goals, is there a place for the manager to put progress notes?
Yes; managers have the ability to write on their staff member’s development goals.

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Using the AsuccessfulU System

This seems like a lot of change and several new features to consider. How do I get help?
The online training will give a good overview of all steps in the Mid-Year. In addition, you will find users guides (link to AsuccessfulU) to help you navigate the system. There is a Super User in your department who can assist you, or you can send an email to AsuccessfulU@american.edu and an HR staff member will help you. Additionally, below you will find some of the most frequently asked system navigation questions.

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I accidentally skipped one of the comment fields but still clicked “Send to Next Step.” Now I see a messy error screen – what does it mean?
If you do not enter a comment and rating for each box, you will get an error message. The message may look complicated, but it will tell you what field you missed so that you can go back and enter your comment or rating.

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How do I print my comments and ratings?
To print you can go to File > Print or press Ctrl + P.

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What is the ‘Positivity Meter’ in the Writing Assistant? It just seems to stay in the middle.
The ‘Positivity Meter’ is not active at this time.

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Why do I have to click the “Send to Next Step” button twice when I’m done commenting?
After commenting and rating, you will click “Send to Next Step” to move the form along. The next screen will ask you to confirm your decision. The second screen gives you a chance to make sure you are ready to complete the form.

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Where did the Learning module (formerly known as ULearn) go?
The Learning module is now accessible via the AsuccessfulU homepage. Select the drop down next to Home on the top left and select the “Learning” tab.

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Goals

If you create a new goal while in the Mid-Year form, will it also be saved to your Goals page?
Yes.

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When the form launches, will it be populated with the goals I already set?
Yes.

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Is my manager made aware when the goals change / are edited?
Your manager can look at the Goal Audit History to see changes made.

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Once the form is submitted, can I go back and change anything?
Please contact AsuccessfulU@american.edu if you have submitted your form in error.

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Do you have to complete the Mid-Year form at one time?
No; you always can save the form and come back to it later – it does not have to be done at one time. However, the deadline for completion this year is March 29, 2013.

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Can you cut from Microsoft Word and paste into the Mid-Year Discussion form?
Yes.

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Can I use the Writing Assistant for commenting on my goals?
No. The Writing Assistant is intended to support feedback and learning on Competencies.

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Can I edit information in my goal while in the Mid-Year Discussion form? For instance, “Status” or “Tracking Sources.”
Yes, you can edit “Status” and “Tracking Sources” by clicking the edit icon.

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2012 Flexible Spending Account Claims Submission Deadline and Information

The deadline for submitting claims for the 2012 flexible spending account is Tuesday, April 30 at 11:59 p.m. Claims submitted for 2012 include any eligible expenses incurred between January 1, 2012 and March 15, 2013. You can file the claim with PayFlex by mail, fax, or online. To file online, go to PayFlex’s secure website. If you do not yet have an online account, see Health Hub Quick Reference Guide for guidance. Once you have established your account, you may view your claims balance and other account information. If you prefer to file by mail or fax, complete the claim form and mail to the address shown on the form (or fax toll-free to: 1-855-703-5305). Claims must be postmarked, faxed, or uploaded by Tuesday, April 30 at 11:59 p.m. to be accepted. This deadline is governed by IRS regulations and cannot be extended. 2012 flexible spending account claims received on or after Wednesday, May 1, 2013 will be denied. If you fax your form, we recommend printing a confirmation page with the date and time you faxed it.

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Retirement Plan Reminders

Don't forget that our retirement plan counselors from Fidelity and TIAA-CREF are on site twice a month to meet one-on-one with retirement plan participants. To see the scheduled dates, please go to the portal at Work@AU/Benefits - Retirement Plan Counseling Sessions.

To schedule a meeting with Eddie Jimenez, our Fidelity consultant, call 1-800-642-7131 or go to https://fidelity.com/atwork/reservations.

To schedule a meeting with Glenn Collins, our TIAA-CREF consultant, call 1-800-732-8353.

For information on your account with Fidelity or TIAA-CREF, you can contact them at:

Fidelity: 1-800-343-0860 or at www.403b.com
TIAA-CREF: 1-800-842-2776 or at www.tiaa-cref.org

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Annual Leave Reminder for Full-Time Staff

Reminder to full time staff: No more than fifteen days of earned annual leave may be carried beyond the end of the fiscal year, April 30, 2013. Use of annual leave must be approved in advance by the employee’s supervisor. Fifteen day carry-over means that employees with: 35-hour week: limit is 105 hours; 28-hour week: limit is 84 hours; 40-hour week: limit is 120 hours earned annual leave. Leave balances appear on your time sheet. For more information on leave policies, refer to the Staff Personnel Policies.

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Staff Appreciation - Save the Date!

Tuesday, May 21, Years of Service and Awards Luncheon
Wednesday, May 22, 20-Year Club Dinner
Thursday, May 23, Staff Appreciation DayPicnic

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AhealthyU

Did you know that AhealthyU offers no-cost lunchtime fitness classes for faculty and staff members during the week? AhealthyU yoga sessions meet every Monday (Tenley Campus) and Wednesday (Main Campus) at noon. These 45-minute classes mix flexibility, balance, and relaxation for people with all levels of yoga experience. Don’t have a mat? AhealthyU has some available to loan out. On Fridays, AhealthyU lightens the mood with the AU Laugh Club – a 45-minute laughter yoga session. Laughter yoga is a unique practice that uses laughter as a form of stress relief and exercise. There is no posing or stretching – fun games and breathing exercises rule the day. Join AhealthyU for one Friday Laugh Club and you'll be hooked – laughter is contagious after all! More information about AhealthyU’s lunchtime classes can be found by visiting http://www.american.edu/hr/AhealthyU/fitness.cfm.

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