Human Resource Practices Development Team

Design Team Report June 1996 - February 1997

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V. Recommendations--HR Practices Under Development

In partnership with the Personnel Department, the HRPD team is working within a number of areas of the Institute to test, and recommend appropriate HR practices to support the needs of MIT and its employees. The team's study is embodied in the eight-point scope below.

HR Practices Applicable to Teams

Employee Recognition and Rewards

Job Design and Classification

Effective Performance Evaluation

Hiring Procedures

Assessment, Development, and Training


Strategic Planning

The sum of all these perspectives-from the MIT community, the academic and for-profit organizations, and human resource experts-formed a base for the HRPD Team to consider how MIT could begin the process of change. It became clear that there are at least three human resource imperatives to ensure that HR practices will continue to support the primary mission of education and research. In the near future MIT must:

Evolve a new system of human resource practices to support its future state;

Provide immediate assistance to areas in the throes of organizational change; and

Maintain the current operational function of central HR.


The detailed recommended strategies, model and discussion that follow provide the framework for balancing both the expressed needs of the community with the needs of the Institute. They include: (a) a description of key characteristics of human resource practices in the future state; (b) suggested specific actions to help move toward the desired state; and (c) descriptions of the process and structure through which the evolution can occur.


1. HR Practices Applicable to Teams

Redesign and/or establish human resource practices to ensure their applicability to both individuals and teams.


How it is implemented

  1. Develop a process for recruiting and assigning team members.
  2. Develop a process for team evaluation.
  3. Develop a process for team development.
  4. Review and adapt current human resource policies, procedures and practices to be sure all sections apply to teams/and or team members.
  5. Develop future policies, procedures and practices to apply to teams and/or team members.
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2. Job Design and Classification

Rethink and implement job designs and a classification system that support competencies and rolesto accomplish work.


How it is implemented

  1. Define Institute-wide generic roles and their competencies.
  2. Develop a process for initial competency identification in local areas which may then be broadly applied across the Institute.
  3. Design and apply a broad classification system based on roles and competencies.
  4. Design a process to provide technical assistance to local units to tailor generic role descriptions based on competencies specific to local needs.
  5. Review literature and assess current best practices in flexible job design and scheduling. Establish guidelines to implement these practices across the Institute.
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3. Hiring Procedures

Implement efficient, flexible hiring and transfer processes based on roles and competencies to facilitate movement to and from assignments, roles and responsibilities.


How it is implemented

  1. Develop a clearinghouse which keeps resumes publicly available on-line to match qualified candidates to hiring needs.
  2. Expand the employee orientation to include the mission and core operations of MIT. This orientation may be supplemented by the hiring unit.
  3. Establish a process for continual measurement including baseline turnover rate, seasonality and permanency of positions, hiring costs, and duration of openings.
  4. Design and implement a process to improve the Institute's sourcing and recruitment practices.
  5. Develop and provide training in assessing candidates' competencies.
  6. Identify the roles of central human resources and local units in the hiring and transfer process.
  7. Identify and communicate career paths within MIT.
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4. Compensation

Develop a competency and performance based compensation system which gives optimum flexibility to local units to reward performance in support of the Institute's mission within the bounds of the Institute's budgetary policy at the time of the review.


How it is implemented

  1. Evaluate the current compensation systems at the Institute.
  2. Develop a process to measure the contributions of managers, individual contributors, and teams.
  3. Conduct an annual Institute audit to ensure equity in base salaries across roles.
  4. Investigate and recommend new options for compensating employees, (e.g., project or period specific one-time cash bonuses).
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5. Employee Recognition and Rewards

Institutionalize a system to reward and recognize employees for their contributions, which both ensures equity across the Institute and encourages creativity at the "local" level.


How it is implemented

  1. Evaluate current reward programs and their measures.
  2. Develop well-defined options and guidelines for recognizing and rewarding individuals and teams.
  3. Document and disseminate information about best practices to recognize and reward individuals and teams.
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6. Effective Performance Evaluation

Build on the existing performance planning and monitoring process for individuals and implement a similar process for teams.


How it is implemented

  1. Every employee participates in a performance appraisal discussion at least once a year.
  2. Change the review cycle for individuals so appraisals are conducted at a minimum on the anniversary of initial hire and are separate from the salary review process.
  3. Expand training in performance planning and monitoring.
  4. Develop and pilot team planning and appraisal processes.
  5. Develop and pilot 360 appraisal processes.
  6. Develop and disseminate guidelines for the performance planning and monitoring process which local units may tailor.
  7. Develop recommendations for assessing the accountability of managers in the performance planning process.
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7. Assessment, Development, and Training

Implement competency-based assessment, development and training processes to promote flexibility and growth.


How it is implemented

  1. Define Institute core training and generic role core training.
  2. Centrally fund all Institute core training.
  3. Centrally fund generic role core training for people in those roles.
  4. Design competency assessment tools for development and training purposes.
  5. Develop and pilot a training and facilitation program for teams.
  6. Provide training and development for managers, especially those who will need to adapt to new roles as coaches, facilitators, and resources to teams.
  7. Evaluate the current tuition reimbursement policy to ensure alignment with the Human Resource Principles.
  8. Recommend baseline standards for annual training and development (e.g., number of hours of training per year or percent of budget).
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8. Strategic Planning

Implement an annual strategic planning process to support the staffing needs of academic departments, centers, and administrative areas as well as the Institute's broader mission.


How it is implemented

  1. Evaluate the effectiveness of the current Institute-wide strategic planning process for human resources and recommend changes.
  2. In collaboration with the leadership of academic, research and administrative areas, the Vice President for Human Resources will develop an annual strategic plan to support the work-force needs of the Institute.
  3. The Vice President for Human Resources ensures and maintains alignment of human resource practices with the Institute's strategic plan.

To implement these recommendations, a transition team will need to be assembled to begin the process for change. The following model proposes an architecture built on a foundation of expertise, but flexible enough to be shaped through experimentation and learning.

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