ERAC October 9, 2013 Minutes
Executive Summary of Minutes

Introductions were made for all members.

Members were asked what they were expecting from ERAC this year and two topics came to light.  When there is involvement, there is engagement and feedback. 

Bylaws and mission were emailed to everyone.  One of the ways to get re-acquainted with ERAC itself is to actually go over the by-laws.  Has it changed throughout the years?  What can we do to keep current with University needs.  Breakout sessions were planned to look at our charge.  In the sessions, three questions should be answered:

    What does ERAC do well in a particular area
    How can we grow
    What are the two or three key issues that we can address as it relates to involvement and    engagement

The different areas of the by-laws that were discussed include:
    Working Conditions
    Staff recognition and Development

Senior people were matched up with freshman to discuss the above areas.

Communication – most communications regarding ERAC is thru Spotlight and the website.  ERAC tends to sponsor other programs.  When someone gets communication from ERAC, what are they thinking?  How do we differentiate ourselves from Human Resources?  Should we?  What kind of communication should we focus on?  What type of communication should be coming from/into ERAC?  Look at the strategies of ERAC and what we should be involved in.  Possibly look at what “ERAC” at other universities (LVAIC) are doing.  What their employee counsels charges are, what are their responsibilities?

Resources – we have a lot of resources but what is it that people follow?  Twitter?  Facebook?  Brown Bag?  How do we get our message out to folks and what’s the best method to do it?  Benchmarking may be a possibility - possibly survey other area schools to see what resources they are using. What’s working well for them?  What issues have they encountered?  Possibly do an ERAC newsletter – something separate from Human Resources.  How can employees use us to their benefit?  ERAC needs to be considered the conduit to Human Resources and other areas.  How do we make sure that ERAC is visible across campus?  Is this an opportunity to “re-brand” ERAC – over the next two to three years?

Compensation –Salaries need to be competitive in order to retain people.  Insurance premiums are growing at a faster rate than salaries are.  We can educate and promote with brown bags and provide feedback on benefit changes.  How we can grow?  Involvement and Feedback – possibly benchmark in higher education, possibly LVAIC.  Looking at more brown bags to obtain campus needs and feedback – concerns and requests for what the campus would like to see. 

Working conditions – Lehigh provides solid working conditions.  Working conditions were defined as the appearance of buildings, temperature is under control.  Safety and security and emergency preparedness are things we do well, in light of the recent events.  We can grow by increasing programming – health and wellness program, studies that look at working relationships within buildings – look at emotional working conditions within areas.  Key issues to be involved and engaged – feedback from faculty and staff – how can we improve those relationships and conditions?  Currently interviews are happening with the faculty and staff for the Susan Christy program.    The wellness program being released this fall includes physical, emotional and financial wellness.  Work-life balance - we need to realize it’s different for all the generations working on campus.  Are the three or four generations in your office working well together?  Also looking at overall employee morale might be beneficial.  What motivates one person may not work for someone else.  What keeps each person in a good frame of mind?  Community of respect needs to be addressed.  People feel they are not respected by their peers, or their supervisors.  

Staff recognition and development – ERAC is already involved in recognition.  How can we grow recognition?  ERAC needs to own something of its own.  Currently the awards we are involved in are mostly Human Resources owned.  Perhaps something at the department level that is truly an ERAC award.  It doesn’t have to be a huge award, just an acknowledgement of an accomplishment - – a gift certificate for a cup of coffee, free lunch, etc.   Perhaps tie this in with the Liaison program ERAC is looking to launch.  The awards would be handed out personally from an ERAC member.  Brown bags we do well.    Communications have been grown by using Google invites.  We are seeking a higher percentage of involvement.  Perhaps reach out to departments with a paper or electronic survey to bring back suggestions on things we can help with in ERAC.  We need to continue what we are doing but on a more consistent level

REACH – registration has been completed.  There are two cohorts each completing 6 sessions between October and April.  Cohort one will meet Tuesdays over lunch beginning Tuesday, October 22nd.  There are 14 attendees and three REACH members.  Cohort two will meet Wednesdays beginning October 23rd.  There are 10 attendees and three REACH members.  First session for both cohorts will hear from former ERAC member, Alison Ragon, Assistant Dean and Director of First Year Experience.  Jeanne Kassis has created a core site for REACH which will allow attendees to receive information from the group and to upload their bios; a suggestion that came from one of the cohorts last year to assist in networking.  We are looking for each cohort to make suggestions on topics they are interested in hearing about while at the same time keeping it as different as possible from Learning the Institution. 

Liaison program – Spreadsheet was sent around for ERAC/Administrative representation.  We would like two ERAC members per contact on the spreadsheet.  This program is to ensure ERAC presence campus.  Our goal is to find out what initiatives, programs, news, etc. are coming out of each office and how ERAC can help with the rolling out of those initiatives.  On Google Drive, document what the key points were for each area.  When did you meet, with who, etc.?  How do we evaluate if this program is successful?

Events committee update:  A suggestion received from recent sessions is new locations – not just University Center.  Possible topics include:  Human Resources topics, technology, social media, LTS Google mail and Google apps, 150th anniversary, admissions, sustainability – ewaste, shredding, supply swap, Stabler land/campus planning, safety and security

Meeting was adjourned at 12:01.  Travis Spencer made the motion to adjourn the meeting and Glenn Strause seconded the motion.

Respectfully Submitted,

Brenda K. Bachman

NEXT ERAC MEETING will be November 13 in UC 303A


sample image