A New Training Program for Managers

UConn employees who currently have supervisory responsibilities and those who are promoted or newly hired into management jobs will soon receive valuable training to help them develop and hone those skills.

UConn’s labor relations office is working with its offices of audit, compliance and ethics; diversity and equity; and human resources to begin the management training over the next few months. Feedback from participants in a recent pilot program is being used to create the training, and participation will be mandatory for all current and new supervisors.

The University began developing the training with support from the labor unions on campus to provide tools to supervisors to deal with the complex and often challenging situations they confront in their leadership roles.

The training program aims to help supervisors clearly understand UConn’s management philosophy and its core institutional values, policies, and procedures, officials say.

It also addresses unique and nuanced areas of managing employees, and will give managers the tools to model UConn’s core values and ensure their staff members comply with UConn’s expectations and regulations.

About 500 employees throughout UConn’s campuses are managers or have related supervisory duties in their job requirements. All existing supervisors will be contacted within the next few months to attend their mandatory training this spring or summer, and it will be offered on a quarterly basis after that for all employees newly hired or promoted into management roles.

Some of the training topics will include effective methods for managing employees, particularly in challenging situations; conducting performance evaluations; recognizing and diffusing conflict; building effective communication skills; and several other areas important to supervisor success at UConn.

One particularly important area will focus on training managers on their responsibilities and duties under UConn policies and federal and state laws prohibiting any form of harassment based on an employee’s race, sex, creed, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristic.

Elizabeth Conklin, the University’s associate vice president of the Office of Diversity and Equity and Title IX Coordinator, says the training will include guidance for managers on their reporting obligations and the most effective ways to assist and respond to victims of sexual harassment and assault.

That portion of the training will also focus on how to identify and stop sexual harassment, including by recognizing the smaller-level aggressive behaviors that can grow into more severe problems if left unchecked.

“As we planned this component of the training, we asked ourselves, ‘What are the calls and questions we receive every day?’ The idea will be to provide very practical skills and tips, along with reviewing case studies and, for new managers, a lot of opportunity for discussion and candid questions,” says Conklin, who recently led a discussion group on related topics at a workshop of the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

The management training sessions are being set up in small groups, which the University expects will help facilitate discussions among supervisors from different areas and opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences.