International Research and Exchanges Board
University Administration Support Programme (UASP)
Human Resource Management Practice at University of Nebraska at
Omaha: Lessons for the University of Education, Winneba.
ANNA BERTHA ACKOM
UASP SPRING FELLOW, 2011
This Case study was made possible by a grant from the I nternational Research and Exchanges
Board (I REX) with funds provided by the Carnegie Foundation. The statements made and
reviews expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.
I would like to acknowledge and extend my heartiest gratitude to the following persons who
contributed their time, effort, ideas and space to make the completion of this project possible and
my stay at UNO forever to be remembered.
I am most grateful to Dr Tom Gouttiere, Dean of International Studies and Programs, for
accepting to be my host advisor and providing me with every needed support throughout my
stay. He involved me in different events at UNO and outside of the campus. His friendliness,
protection, hospitality and fatherly concern are very much appreciated.
My heartfelt gratitude goes to the Director of Human Resources, Mollie Anderson, for her warm
hospitality, open mindedness to my fellowship, logistical support, goodwill and outstanding
generosity. Her offer of friendship and professional guidance and exposure to human resources
practices will stay with me forever. I find in her my model of professional practice.
Particular thanks are due Anne West- Lecou, Lecturer, International Studies and Programs for
going the extra mile to help me settle down in Omaha. She scheduled all my activities of work
and fun and provided me with constant reminders and directions.
To Pedro Okoruwa, your invaluable assistance, patience, constant guidance and brotherliness
settled me in at human resources. Without your inspiration and encouragement I would never
have got started nor completed this case study. Your constructive criticisms, brainstorming of
ideas, technical support and proof reading were very helpful.
My very special thanks also goes to all Professional/ administrative /technical staff of Human
Resources – Mary Sweeney, Sharon, Bob, Esther, Tim, Drew, Chris, Mary Razor, Charlotte,
Stephanie, Stella and Taylor for granting me unrestricted access to their schedules and time and
sharing their expertise and professional experiences with me and providing me with all the
answers to my inquiry and making me find a home at the Human Resources office.
To faculty and staff of International Studies and Programs; Beth, Kathy, Liz, Anne Ludwig (just
to mention a few) for your acceptance and provision of every needed technical and
Vickie Stone, Executive Assistant to Tom Gouttiere, I appreciate your invaluable assistance and
hearty friendship. You are cherished.
Finally, I would want to acknowledge my Vice Chancellor, Professor Akwasi Asabere Ameyaw
and Registrar Mr. C.Y.Akwaa-Mensah for granting me permission and providing me with the
needed institutional support and last but not least to sincerely thank IREX for this wonderful
opportunity, and above all God who made all things possible.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACNOWLEDGEMENTS ...................................................................................................... ii
1.0 I NTRODUCTI ON ........................................................................................................... 1
1.1 METHODOLOGY ..................................................................................................................2
2.0 BRI EF UNI VERSI TY PROFI LES .................................................................................. 3
2.1 University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) ................................................................................3
2.2 University of Education, Winneba ...........................................................................................4
3.0 HUMAN RESOURCES AT UNO .................................................................................... 5
4.0 ORGANI ZATI ONAL STRUCTURE OF THE DI VI SI ON AT UNO ................................. 6
5.0 FUNCTI ONAL ACTI VI TI ES AT HUMAN RESOURCES ............................................... 8
5.1 Staffing ..................................................................................................................................8
5.1.1 Recruiting and Hiring: ..........................................................................................................9
5.2 EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY (EEO) .............................................................. 10
5.3 TOTAL REWARDS AND COMPENSATION ...................................................................... 12
5.3.1 Benefits and Retirement Package............................................................................................................... 13
5.3.2 Classification and Compensation ............................................................................................................... 14
5.3.3 Management of Employee Payroll ............................................................................................................. 15
5.4 MANAGEING TALENT AT UNO ........................................................................................ 15
5.5 EMPLOYEE AND LABOUR RELATIONS ......................................................................... 17
5.6 RISK MANAGEMENT AND WORKER PROTECTION .................................................... 18
5.7 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMET SYSTEM (HRMS) .................................................. 18
5.7.1 Measuring Effectiveness ............................................................................................................................ 19
6.0 MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES FOR HUMAN RESOURCES ................................... 19
7.0 CONCLUSI ONS AND RECOMMENDATI ONS ............................................................ 20
7.1 CONCLUSIONS ................................................................................................................... 20
7.2 Recommendations for UEW .................................................................................................. 21
8.0 PROJ ECT PROPOSAL ................................................................................................. 23
APPENDI X ......................................................................................................................... 24
REFERENCES ................................................................................................................... 25
Internet sources: ......................................................................................................................... 25
The thread that runs throughout UNO are the faculty and staff. They are the Common thread
that ties the University and quality together. They are thread so fine and translucent, that to
ordinary eyes, they appear invisible. Yet, nothing of lasting value driven is ever created without
them. They are threads of imagination. And of quality. And of meticulous attention to detail. In
short, the faculty and staff are THE essential thread at UNO.
Mollie Anderson (HR Director, UNO)
A changing world order has freed us to take a look at the ways people are managed in
organizations. In higher educational institutions like universities, human resources also referred
to as intellectual capital, are the various categories of employees or people who contribute their
collective value of capabilities, knowledge, skills, life experiences and motivation for the growth
of the university.
Human Resource Management ensures that human talent is used effectively and efficiently to
accomplish organizational goals. All over the world now, Human Resource management is being
affected in all aspects by two major forces; changing workforce demographics and globalization,
and, higher education institutions are not being excluded. It is thus becoming more crucial for
Human Resources to understand these issues and strategize in order to contribute directly to
organizational strategies. Effective Human Resource management of any institution should
embrace: new recruitment/hiring techniques; talent management strategies; compensation and
benefits practices; equal employment opportunity policies; health, safety and security programs;
employee and labor unions and human resource information systems. Time has shown that
human resources managed through these broad practices can make practical difference in terms
of three organisational outcomes; productivity, quality of work life and profit.
Higher education institutions all over the world have been and continue to be the depository of
intellectual knowledge and skills. Many Universities have business departments were they imbue
human resource administrative and management skills into students who graduate and become
successful in managing corporations, firms and small scale enterprises. However, most of these
universities who churn out such great achievers are in themselves unable to manage their human
resources effectively. Whether employees are in a big public university with 10,000 positions or
a small private institution with 10 positions, employees must be recruited, selected, trained, and
The basic unit in organizations (universities alike) all over the world that is responsible for HR
management is the Human Resource Department or Division. Many Human resource
departments have now evolved from the traditional and limited roles as processors and custodian
of personnel information to more sophisticated and more expanded strategic roles. This
evolution places both invigorating and sobering demands on the human resource managers and
the department. Although, the HR departments are the final custodians of HR activities and
policies, every section or unit in any university, one way or the other does practice some HR
management. However, it is always the HR department that perhaps gets “the best of times” and
“the worst of times”.
In search of the best practices of human resources management, the United States has played a
significant lead in effective management of human resources, through institutional adherence and
compliance to the legislative and regulatory environment.
This case study seeks to examine the Human Resources Management practices of the Human
Resources office at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) in the United States of
America. Chosen as a model university for this study, the goal is to study how the department
of human resources functions and draw lessons of significance for my home university. It
focuses specifically on recruitment and other functional roles played by the department in
support of UNO‟s strategic plan, its divisional structural functions and the general human
resource management practices that affect staff of the university.
Information and data for this case study were collected in spring, 2011 for a period of seven
weeks of stay and five weeks of interactional work. Human resource management functions are
so broad and diverse – influenced daily by technology, legal, social, political, economic, global,
cultural/geographical, external environment and the management leadership of the organization
or institution, and so a detail study will require more time to unfold and understand all what goes
on the job in an entirely different cultural setting. An attempt has only been made as a middle
level university administrator, to look at the human resource management practices that affect
staff of UNO to exclude faculty.
The methodology for the study was supported by interactions and information obtained from
various ways: tentative shadowing of activities, use of unstructured questionnaire and formal and
informal interview sessions with key personnel in charge of various units at the Human
Resources and International Studies Program Department. The information was gathered as
random samples with no scientific basis. Key Staff interviewed were as follows: The Director,
Human Resources; Assistant Director HR , Recruitment; Assistant Director,
Benefits/Compensation; Associate Director of Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative
Action; Manager, Human Resource Information System (HRIS); Manager, Classification and
Compensation; Manager/Payroll; Accounting Technician, Pay roll; Personnel Technician, HRIS;
Manager, Student Employment/ Benefit manager.
Conclusions reached were based on the information gathered from these key Persons with
supporting facts from literature and UNO‟s elaborate websites information.
2.0 BRIEF UNIVERSITY PROFILES
2.1 University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)
The University of Nebraska at Omaha was established in 1908 while the University of
Education, Winneba was established in 1991. The University of Nebraska at Omaha (also known
as UNO) joined the University of Nebraska system in 1968 and is the state‟s metropolitan
university located in the heart of Nebraska's largest city, Omaha. It is rated as the number one
internationally recognized tertiary educational institution with representative of members from
all over the world. It is an institution founded on strong academic values and significant
community relationships that transform and improve life. In the words of the Chancellor-Dr.
John Christensen, it “is regarded as a forward-thinking, comprehensive metropolitan university,
offering a broad range of academic majors from baccalaureate through doctoral degrees.”
The University‟s values are having a community of diverse group of individuals sharing core
values and working together to accomplish a common mission and vision. The strategic plan for
UNO has three overarching goals: Student Focus, Academic Excellence and Community
Engagement. The plan is an ongoing process involving all levels of the university community
and every employee at the university contributes to these goals.
Total UNO employee census by the end of year 2010 stood at 3,284 signifying a 5.7% change
over a period of ten years. However, it must be noted that about 39% of the total work force of
UNO are student employees (UNO Employee Census Data 2001-2010). The University has a
varying total number of students depending on the various semesters of the year- summer, fall
and spring. Nevertheless, as at spring 2011, total student numbers stood at 14,339.
As a metropolitan university, sources of funds for running all activities are from Federal and the
State of Nebraska grants and student fees. The University is spread over two campus sites- South
and North campuses
UNO has a Chancellor as the Chief Executive, assisted by the Senior Vice Chancellor for
Academic and Student Affairs; the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance; Director,
University Relations and the Director for Sports.
Besides the Office of the Chancellor, the University of Nebraska at Omaha is basically run on
two main broad span of control- Academic and Business. The Senior Vice Chancellor for
Academic and Student Affairs is responsible for all academic related issues and employment
matters for faculty positions. The Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance is responsible for
all business and financial related issues of the University of which human resources is included.
The mission for Business and Finance is to provide the highest quality services in support of
UNO‟s mission through the thoughtful stewardship of financial, infrastructure and human
2.2 University of Education, Winneba
The University of Education, Winneba (UEW) like UNO is a public metropolitan University
situated in the capital of the Efutu Awutu Municipality- Winneba, in the Central Region of
Ghana. The Winneba campus which is the seat of the Chief executive and his Management team
is spread over three sites; South, North and Central campuses, with satellite college campuses at
Kumasi and Mampong in Ashanti Region and Ajumako also in the Central region all in Ghana,
West Africa. At the end of the 2009/2010 academic year, UEW had a total staff strength of
1,595 comprising; teaching, research and support staff (mainly administrative, technical and
unskilled labour) and a student population over 36,000.This number is comprised of 40%
(14,623) full time students; 11% (4,014) Sandwich/part-time; 2% (568) evening programs; and
47% (17,001) distance education students. The University‟s sources of funds for its operations
are three fold; Ghana Government subvention, student fees and internally generated funds.
Corresponding to the Chancellor as Chief Executive for UNO is the Vice Chancellor for the
University of Education, Winneba. He is assisted at the top echelon by the Pro Vice Chancellor
(Head of the Academic Departments and Faculty); the Registrar (Chief Advisor to the Vice
Chancellor and Chief Human Resource Administrator), the Finance Officer (Chief Financial
Advisor) and the Librarian.
The Registrar as the Chief advisor to the Vice Chancellor and Chief Human Resource
Administrator is the Administrative Head of all non-faculty employees. He has the Deputy
Registrar, Human Resource in reporting capacity as the immediate head of all staff and
3.0 HUMAN RESOURCES AT UNO
The Human Resources (HR) office situated at the second floor of the Epply administrative
building is a division of Business and Finance. The vision and mission of the division
underscores their support of the UNO‟s community with leading practices based on thorough and
expert human resource knowledge and up-to-date resources. The roles played by Human
Resources' facilitate employees work and home life as they strive to accomplish the University's
mission as follows:
To welcome students, faculty, staff and the greater community
To contribute to sound decision making and problem solving
To develop leading practices
To enhance skills and expertise
To support health and well-being
The values of Human Resources as a public employer at UNO are guided by principles of the
community, law, policy, campus values, and the recognition of their responsibilities as stewards
of public trust are elaborated as:
Integrity: behave, honestly, ethically, reliably and sincerely in all actions and can be
Inclusion: treat all persons with dignity; capitalize on the wealth of viewpoints that reside
in our multifaceted community.
Improvement: look for ongoing ways to improve and evaluate our work, and we
contribute to increase our skills and knowledge.
Respect: show consideration, fairness, courtesy and regard for others.
Communication: We encourage proactive, civil, and honest two –way communications.
Excellence: deliver programs, products and services at the highest standards.
Innovation: encourage originality, imagination, and flexibility in thinking, planning and
delivering programs and services.
Accountability: take responsibility for our actions and tasks.
Customer focus: are committed to meeting customer and business partner needs through
the highest level of responsiveness, accuracy and respectful interactions.
Leadership: demonstrate professionalism fairness, advocacy and collaborative behavior
in our internal operations and campus activities.
UNO's Human Resource office professionals offer services that recruit, develop and retain an
outstanding, diverse, and fully engaged workforce to assist in meeting the University's
overarching strategic goals of focusing on students, academic excellence and engaging with
Human Resources at UNO, further have the following as Customer Service Principles: “We are
committed to meeting customer needs by providing the highest level of service possible. After any
interaction, we want our customers and co-workers to feel that they were respected, fairly
treated, listened to, and involved. We want them to feel that they have been provided with highly
responsive and excellent service and that they can continue to trust our organization. We will
Treat every co-worker and customer ethically and with friendliness, care, respect, and
Deal with underlying issues of the customer, not just surface ones, and provide services
that are practical and workable.
Demonstrate a willingness to be of service by responding to customers in a timely
manner with accurate, thorough information.
Promote harmony, unity, and teamwork within Human Resources.
Offer campus and department leadership that promotes excellence, diversity,
autonomy, creativity, and productivity.
Seek and promote professional development to enhance performance.
Be creative in the use and development of resources.”
The foregoing were true testament of UNO‟s Human Resources department effort in pursuit of
efficient and effective management of human resources at UNO thus the slogan /accolade
„making a great lasting first impression‟.
4.0 ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE DIVISION AT UNO
Staffing at the UNO Human Resources office is structured to provide more of specialized human
resource functions unlike what pertains at the University of Education, Winneba.
Human Resource is a division under Business and Finance and is headed by a Director who
reports directly to the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance. She also doubles as the Risk
Manager for UNO. She is supported by thirteen employees including one student employee,
eight who are specialists in their areas of fields.
The Director of Human Resources (HR) at UNO is the University‟s Chief Human Resource
administrator, a position equivalent to the Registrars‟ position at the University of education,
Winneba. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). As the Director
of Human Resources, her over all basic function and responsibility include but not limited to:
providing leadership and strategic direction for the University‟s human resource functions
including employee relations, labor relations, Equal Employment Opportunity/ Affirmative
Action, wage and salary administration, staff employment, on- campus, student employment,
benefits administration, training and development, records administration and payroll. In short,
her role and function at HR is to get the right people, at the right time, with the right skills, in the
The HR Department has six main working units with their respective heads in direct reporting
capacity to the Director as follows: Assistant Director, HR Recruitment; Assistant Director,
Fringe Benefits/ Compensation; Manager, Classification/ Compensation; Associate Director of
Equal Employment Opportunity/ Affirmative Action; Manager, Payroll; and Manager, Human
Resource Information Systems (HRIS). Others are Manager, Student Employment/ Benefits;
Accounting Technician, Pay roll; Personnel Technician, HRIS; Executive Assistant to the
Director; Office Associate and a student employee. (Appendix 1: Human Resource
The above managerial/professional staff‟s excluding the last three are professionals in their
individual area of responsibility. As specialists/professionals, they are each typically concerned
with only one or two of the functional areas of Human Resources, but are also capable of
working knowledgeably with all aspects of human resources and get things done as a unified
This working structure was changed in 2008 to meet the new objectives and work plans of the
Director- Mollie Anderson when she took office. One of her main goals since she took office has
been to re-organize and restructure the office at UNO along the Human Resource functional
activities and re-orient the minds of staff to focus on the human resource picture and get
employees of UNO to see a new face of Human Resources. This has resulted in creating more of
a service attitude, assisting the University staff in solving work-related issues, supplying
information and promoting good employer-employee relations.
This supports Mathis and Jackson (2008) opinion that, to get the best contributions from human
capital in an organization it requires that a fit be made with how people are treated and the long
term effect on the company‟s bottom line. This according to them is achieved through the seven
interlinked HR activities if allowed to take place in an organization. These are staffing, total
rewards, talent management, strategic HR management, employee and labour relations, risk
management and worker relation and equal employment opportunity. Human resources at UNO
are practiced to cover broadly the above seven linked activities.
5.0 FUNCTIONAL ACTIVITIES AT HUMAN RESOURCES
The aim of staffing is to provide a sufficient supply of qualified individuals to fill jobs in an
organization. Staffing is one of the key roles of the human resource office at UNO. It involves
doing job analysis, recruiting and selection. Generally speaking the key function of any HR
Department is staffing, that means to attract retain and enhance the number one resource its
human resources, and thus helping the University to implement its mission, particular goals and
carry on all its activities. As iterated by the Director and Assistant Director, Human Resources
help UNO to succeed in its mission and vision by „recruiting and hiring the right people at the
right time and with right skills in the right environment‟. HR works in relation with the
departments in the university to have the right number of people based on proper job analyses of
all work procedures in the university. Human Resources handle only the staffing issues of non-
academic staff of about 850 people whilst faculty recruitment is handled by Academic Affairs.
UNO has two broad category of workers; faculty and staff. Faculty embraces all academic
positions in the university and members are not referred to as employees of the University
because they are tenured and or covered by a labor contract. The office of the Senior Vice
Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs is responsible for employment matters for faculty
Staff or an employee term is used for all managerial/ professional persons serving in non-
academic professional positions including technical specialist, directors not included in the
academic/ administrative staff and departmental managers. Office / service staffs (secretarial,
security, food services, library etc) are also classified within the University of Nebraska system
By the provisions of the employee handbook of UNO and the bylaws of the University of
Nebraska System all non –faculty employees are considered employees at will. Thus at UNO
only 0.003% of persons (Chancellor, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Vice
Chancellor, Business and Finance) out of the 100% of staff have valid written contracts of
appointments. All others are given offer of appointment - employed at will. Office and service
staffs have up to two weeks‟ notice to have their appointments terminated and managerial
employees have up to ninety days, unless otherwise expressly stated in a written appointment to
a position or in a written contract of employment duly approved and executed by UNO. And
either UNO or the employee may terminate the employment relationship upon given the proper
Employment At Will (EAW) is a common law doctrine stating that employers have the right to
hire, fire, demote, or promote whomever they choose, unless there is a written law or contract to
the contrary . Conversely, employees can also quit when never they want and go to another job
under the same terms.
5.1.1 Recruiting and Hiring:
Recruiting is about finding qualified applicants. The human resource office at UNO is
responsible for developing operational procedures to employ managerial/ professional and
office/service personnel. The Director of human resources may approve in advance exceptions to
these procedures. Three procedures are generally required before recruitment for applicants
begins: (1) Classification of the position (2) Completion of the on-line Personnel
Requisition/Position Justification form and (3) Chancellors Cabinet approval. Recruitment and
selection begins after these three procedures have been satisfied.
Before any job post is made available for recruitment, the Manager of Classification and
Compensation at human resources must approve of the position description of the job. Due
diligence is done to assess the need for the position in line with UNO‟s mission and vision to
include factors like; the family of jobs the position belongs; the level of pay within each family
based on appropriate description and market analysis; whether the position is exempt from Fair
Labor Standard Act (FLSA) or non-exempt; the physical, environmental and mental abilities the
position requires; equipment to be used and the contact persons for the position. This is to
facilitate personnel transactions and budget and payroll administration.
The department of human resources at UNO has since the year 2004, stopped processing hard
copy applications. About 90% of the recruitment and hiring process: completing the requisition,
applying for position, reviewing applications, selecting applicants for interviews and hire and
notifying non successful applicant(s) are automated and web-based. This new innovation of
electronic application introduced by HR was faced with opposition, especially faculty members,
but has been accepted with time. This innovation according to the Assistant Director,
Recruitment has saved tons of paperwork, allowed speedy processing of applications and
provided space for other things at the human resource office. To assist applicants who require
assistance in filling the application forms, Human Resources have set up computers to help
Human Resources ensures that all application requirements are valid and non discriminatory and
are in line with Federal and State of Nebraska laws and the University regulations. The EEO
Officer at Human Resources ensures compliance to the Federal and State regulations on staffing
to keep the University away from legal issues. The EEO officer further ensures that minority and
females are not discriminated against and that all applicants are treated fairly. Also, by State law
the pool of applicants for staff positions must be reflective of the Omaha community.
Prior to the Chancellors approval for position, selections and recruitment each Vice Chancellor
(Academic Affairs and Business and Finance) decides which requisition will be filled. All
regular full time or part-time positions are approved in the following order: Department head,
Dean or Director, Budget and Vice or Senior Chancellor.
Posting for recruitment at UNO is handled differently depending on the job post. Human
resources handles the advertisement for managerial and office/ service positions; Academic and
Student Affairs post faculty positions; Student Employment posts student worker, work study,
graduate assistant and graduate student worker positions. All these are posted on the applicant
website www.unomaha.edu/humanresources/employment.php for a minimum of five (5)
working days unless otherwise directed. Depending on the category of position required, adverts
are placed, in the news papers, industry, campus notice boards and in professional publications.
Human resources place the advertisements and works with the department to determine possible
sources, ad copy and price ceilings. The individual departments provide a cost center on the
requisition for billing.
Human Resources screens and reviews all applications pertaining to managerial/professional and
office / service before posting eligible applicants to the departments for the hiring by the hiring
authority. The Associate Director for Equal Employment Opportunity again ensures that the
selection criteria, the interview guide lines the final selection are in compliance to federal and
The employment procedures put in place at UNO does not allow for personal interest in hiring,
nepotism, family ties etc. All applications go through the same process and this upholds the
integrity of work processes within the university. By following the rules it also does not open
itself up to any law suits.
Once employed, one can work as long as at will of the supervisor and available budgets.
Retirement is based on age and tenure of service. UNO has sixty (65) as the eligible age to retire
but it is not mandatory.
5.2 EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY (EEO)
The focus of Equal employment opportunity (EEO) is that all individuals should have equal
treatment in all employment related actions. It is an attempt to level the field of opportunity for
all people at work. It concerned primarily to address discrimination based on race, gender, and
religion, but, has over time spread to include age, pregnancy and individuals with disabilities.
EEO regulations concerns people and since organizations work with people to achieve their set
goals it is required by law in the Unites States, that each state should have an EEO agency and
each institution or organization should also have someone or an officer to enforce the EEO laws.
Most organizations find this law a bone to content with but Human Resources at UNO is EEO
The Human Resource office staff at UNO need not be legal experts but in order to manage
people effectively in today‟s world of work one must understand and appreciate the significant
competitive, legal and social issues that affect the institution or organization. The University of
Nebraska at Omaha has countless number of policies, procedures and practices which outline the
obligations, benefits and privileges‟ of UNO‟s managerial/ professional, office and service
employees. The bylaws of the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska are the official
governing rules of all UNO employees. Nevertheless, Employees‟ statutory rights are the result
of specific laws or statues passed by federal, state or local governments. Various federal, state
and local laws passed have granted employees certain rights at work. UNO has a full staff of
Attorneys located at Lincoln, but immediate human resource practices does require having a
specialist who know the laws and can enforce them. UNO‟s expectation of Human Resources is
ethical guidance on policies, procedures and help to achieve goals and the EEO officer‟s duty at
HR is to do just that.
The division of human resources advocates for employees and is mostly charged with
implementation of institutional rules and policies having an EEO unit and an officer at HR
thereby ensures UNO‟S compliance with Federal and State regulations and policies. The EEO
office enforces compliance to the law from recruitment, hiring, benefits, promotions, human
relations at work and all issues at the work place or policies are in compliance to the state laws.
The policies of the university are reviewed to ensure that there is nothing illegal in the policy and
that the policies in place are in line with Federal laws. If anything has to be changed, information
has to get to everyone on campus. Any change in policy requires training on the campus and so
human resources communicate these through training programs made over time meant to create
staff awareness of what new policies are in place and help staff know how to do things
Implementation of equal employment opportunity also requires affirmative action in the
institution. The state agency of EEO requires of UNO to submit yearly report on the
demographic information of applicants. The report requires appropriate recordkeeping,
completing the annual report, keeping applicant – flow data and investigating EEO complaints.
With affirmative action it looks at how many women in Omaha have applied for job post, how
many are at work against how many could be hired.
One major issue, which according to the Assistant Director EEO is difficult for HR at UNO to
deal with, is the law of discrimination. These laws, passed in 1964 have to do with anything
involved with employment were a recognizable difference among items or people have been
shown. Employers must discriminate among applicants for a job on the basis of job
requirements and candidates‟ qualification. But when discrimination is based on race, gender, or
some other factors it becomes illegal and employers face problems.
According to the Assistant Director the discrimination laws are complex to deal with because
discrimination starts in the mind of the individual. They are subjective in nature and may not
always depend on the situation. Employee relation problems span through the whole of the
university as some people don‟t just get along. EEO unit works hand in hand with the HR
Director to solve employee relations problems when they occur. The human resources staff at
UNO is constantly handling cases of people who feel they have been mistreated. Many
employee relation problems are just trying to get things resolved between two disagreeing
employees. Poor performing employees are employees who will just not take instructions, argue
to perform assigned jobs and challenge supervisors.
Human resources in any business entity often have to deal with problem employees and
according to the Director, HR- she spends more time dealing with non-performing employees
and handling conflict management than with performing employees and issues of strategic
management. This supports Mathis and Jackson (2008) opinion that human resource
professionals spend considerable time on crises management dealing with employee problems
that are both work related and non-work related. Part of employee advocacy helps to ensure fair
and equitable treatment for employees regardless of personal backgrounds or circumstances.
The EEO officer at Human resources go through the process of fact finding and exhaust all
available evidences to come up with the solutions to employee problems. Thus, Human
Resources, through EEO help to alleviate the pain people feel.
5.3 TOTAL REWARDS AND COMPENSATION
Total rewards are the monetary and non-monetary rewards provided to employees in order to
attract, motivate and retain them. Total rewards and compensation come in the form of pay,
incentives and benefits and rewards people for performing organizational work. Critical to an
effective total rewards approach is the need to balance the interest and cost of the employers with
the needs and expectations of employees. UNO‟s rewards and compensation packet for faculty
and staff are administered by Human Resources. Human resources benefit employees ensure
that compensation and benefits provided by UNO are compliant with applicable federal, state
and institutional laws and regulations. The Manager, Benefits/ Compensation and her immediate
assistant provide administrative support for the compensation package for all faculty and staff at
UNO. The available rewards for faculty and staff at UNO are compensation (pay, wages and
salaries) and benefits. UNO has no incentive package for members.
There are two major packages open to faculty and staff at UNO; the State of Nebraska benefits
and the University of Nebraska benefits. One can choose which benefit plan to be on, but
comparably UNO offers a very competitive benefit plan which is attractive to faculty and staff.
In the administration of all the benefits eligible, Human Resources staff are guided by the
University‟s procedures and policies and applicable federal and state regulations.
5.3.1 Benefits and Retirement Package
The University of Nebraska offers a comprehensive package of employee benefits. The
University of Nebraska‟s benefit plan (NU Flex) employee benefit package includes medical,
dental, vision, employee life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment, long-term
disability, spouse life insurance, child life insurance, health care reimbursement account,
dependent care reimbursement account, and long term care insurance for benefit eligible
employees. UNO bears the cost of up to 80% of total cost of medical expenditure of faculty and
In addition, the University offers a basic retirement plan that is matched by the University as
well as a supplemental retirement plan and a deferred compensation plan. The basic plan (401a)
is mandatory if one is at age 30 and voluntary if at age 26. To be on this plan requires two years
service and also recognizes prior service at other educational institutions. The supplemental plan
(403b) is a flexible tool for putting away pre-tax money for ones retirement and the deferred
compensation plan (457b) is applied when the individual has maxed out the 403(b).This plan can
be use to continue savings towards retirement. There are two types of tiers for retirement
enrollment which allows faculty and staff to make a choice. One can decide to upgrade his plan
upwards by moving from one to two thereby paying a higher premium or remaining comfortably
on the first tier of the plan. Eligible employees accrue vacation, sick leave and paid holidays
according to the leave schedule. Faculty and Staff have the option to select the packages they
want to be on as eligible and somewhat have the opportunity to makes changes and amend
family beneficiaries when the window for changes is opened. Application forms and change
status are done online and forwarded to the Human resource officer in charge for further action.
Two interesting packages inclusive in UNO‟s NU Flex are; extent of family coverage and the
COBRA. Medical care coverage extends to spouse and children of faculty and staff and staff
sick leave may be taken for the care of parents and in-laws. The COBRA program or
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 is a law passed in the United States to
provide a kind of safety net for employees and covered family members who were previously
covered by the NU Flex to have a continuation of their medical, dental and vision care in case of
any eventualities- death, divorce, termination of appointment, sickness for up to eighteen months
(18) for the employee and thirty six (36) months for their dependants.
One laudable package put in place by Human Resources for faculty and staff at UNO is the
benefit and wellness fair. This fair held once every year offers faculty and staff the opportunity
to learn and avail themselves to the opportunities available to them. Participating in the fair
during the fellowship the service providers of UNO‟s medical, insurance and physical fitness and
others concerning healthy eating, foods and habits are available to answer questions, provide
samples of souvenirs and render on the spot services.
The University of Education, Winneba also has benefits eligible provisions for faculty and staff
to cover medical, dental, vision, death and dismemberment and some insurance coverage. It is
operated in line with the Government of Ghana National Health Insurance Scheme and
Condition of Service Provisions for faculty and staff in public universities in Ghana. The medical
care covers the employee, spouse and up to six children but does not include COBRA benefits
for spouse or dependants after the faculty or staff ceases to be an employee of the university,
divorced, disengagement or death.
5.3.2 Classification and Compensation
Staff of the University of Nebraska at Omaha are compensated based on their placement on
salary values called pay bands. These bands have only three ranges- minimum, median and
maximum points for all categories of staff. The individual‟s salary is based on the job family
one falls in determined by the minimum qualification for the position, the experience one is
bringing on board and by the budget available for the department and the legislative
requirements. Payments of salaries are made from State resources. This sometimes leads to
intermittent budget and salary cuts and sometimes no pay rise over a period. Budget cuts are
made by the government and the state and this can lead to layoffs. Since staff personnel
expenses are the largest chunk of the budget any budget cut by government affects staff whose
job position/schedule could be handled by anyone. The budget cut is shared among the
departments and departments and sections will do some kind of due diligence to decide the jobs
to be affected.
Across board increase in salary for faculty and staff is non existence at UNO but rather based on
individual achievement and is performance based. It is based on performance evaluation and
available departmental and legislative funds. Staff gets increases in salary only when money
from the legislature has been released to the university.
5.3.3 Management of Employee Payroll
The Pay roll unit in its daily activities and administration of rewards is a component part of the
human resource division at UNO. It is headed by a manager, assisted by an accounting
technician. Although payroll is regarded as accounting payable it works better with HR than with
the accounting and finance section. Payroll is fed with information from hiring, benefits, and
classification and compensation units. It handles a wide range of activities that have to do with
both faculty and staff. Basically, the unit makes sure that payments are charged to the correct
cost center, credit the right accounts with the right amount of money and ensure compliance to
appropriate laws. As part of human resource staff their work also involves training departments
and giving orientations on work analyses, time entry, tax matters, workman compensation, social
security, and issues that bother on deductions and payments. They also provide metrics on the
financial stand of the institution.
5.4 MANAGEING TALENT AT UNO
Managing diverse talents in institution is a complex thing because the competitive pressures
facing organizations today require that staff knowledge and ideas are current and that they have
skills and abilities that can deliver expected results. Talent management at UNO begins with the
orientation of new employees, and focus on human resource development, training and
HR offers several on-line and in person training programs for supervisors and staff members to
help them understand university policies and procedures and thus improve their on-the-job skill.
Programs include interviewing skills, performance evaluations, communication skills, and
disciplinary action guidelines, ethics in the workplace, leadership skills, safety procedures
employee relations and dozen more. Programs also include employee issues that bother on
compliance to Federal and State regulations and laws. Although HR plays diverse roles in talent
management of staff at UNO it has no budget for training purposes but still works with the
departments for their training needs.
On human resource development, UNO has a laudable benefit package available to all
employees. Once employed into the university- janitor or director, one has access to the
employee and dependent scholarship program. This scholarship allows employees to take
academic credit courses being offered at any unit of the University of Nebraska for credit or
audit. The Employee Scholarship Program (ESP) is limited to not more fifteen (15) credit hours
in any 12-month period (September-August) and is restricted to no more than six (6) credits hour
per semester. Employees taking advantage of the ESP enroll in classes held during non-working
hours. UNO sponsors program of study taken within its system but does not sponsor staff to take
any advance study program outside the Nebraska system. Staff still have the option to go out of
the Nebraska Universities to study but this will be self sponsored and with permission from the
Additional qualifications from any further study do not merit the staff for review of grade, status
or promotion. Promotion is not by linear progression. Every employee is employed based on the
basic qualification for the job and it ends there. UNO does not have the luxury of having two or
more people fitting into the same job position at one and the same time and so does not identify
career path for individual employees as they move within the organization. To progress on the
job employees may have to reapply into higher post were eligible and if a suitable position
Assessing how well employees perform their jobs is the focus of performance evaluation
management. UNO has a systematic performance appraisal management key to effectively
assessing managerial/professional and office and service staff by Human Resources. All
departments, supervisors and staff get involved in the reviews. It provides opportunity for
communication between employee and supervisor. The results of the evaluation are used in many
ways as follows: to evaluate past performance on the job; to call attention to the need for training
for employees whose reviews reveal deficient performance; to support disciplinary actions; to
support decisions granting salary increase; to serve as official records for grievance hearing and
to determine if positions are correctly classified. Human resources conduct periodic training
sessions for supervisors and managers for conducting an effective performance review.
Additionally, the Director, HR sees talent management as crucial for the success of the division
of human resources and has taken some initiatives to assist in the development of staff at the
division. She started a reference library inside of human resources for the use of all employees.
UNO HR has in stock a wide range of human resource management books either individually
owned or communal. She also encourages her staff to take up continuing HR development and
enforce HR specialization and professionalism. According to her management of human
resources thrives on the regulatory environment and so sees her job more as a catalyst not in the
negative sense but to sensitize how things should be done properly and with confidentiality.
The broad range of issues faced by HR professionals has made involvement in professional
associations and organsation important. HR professionals need considerable knowledge about
employment regulations, finance, tax law, statistics and information system. In most cases, they
need extensive knowledge about specific HR activities. The Director encourages her staff to take
the professional examinations and join the professional association for continuous information
and education. The most widely known HR certifications are the Professional in Human
Resources (PHR) and the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Public sector human
resource professionals also tend to be concentrated on International Personnel Management
Association (IPMC) With recourse to the above staff at the HR office hold either of the
professional certificates in their area of specialization.
5.5 EMPLOYEE AND LABOUR RELATIONS
HR policies, procedures and rules greatly affect employee rights and discipline. Policies are
general in nature and act as general guidelines that focus organizational actions, whereas
procedures and rules are specific to the situation.
Procedures provide customary methods of handling activities and are more specific than policies.
Rules are specific guidelines that regulate and restrict the behavior of individuals. They are
similar to procedures in that they guide action and typically allow no discretion in their
application. Rules reflect a management‟s decision that action be taken – or not be taken in a
given situation, and provide more specific behavioral guidelines than do policies.
Employees at UNO are not allowed by rules to form labor unions but have procedures for
grievances. The institution allows only faculty to have a union. Staff grievances can be
channeled through the staff advisory council or human resources.The Staff Advisory Council
(SAC) was established in March 1973 to promote and facilitate communication between
Managerial/Professional and Office/Service employees of the University of Nebraska at Omaha
and the Chancellor. My experience in attending one of their meetings showed that employees are
encouraged to provide meaningful input into the development and operation of the management
of human resources at UNO through the advisory role played by SAC. SAC works in close
consultation with other University administrators and the Director, HR to meet employee
More often than not staff grievances are channeled to Human Resources. According to the
Director of HR, the institution is more performance driven. Employees are just not required to
meet expectations but to exceed expectations and this makes HR spend much of its time looking
at the discords of employees who are none conforming. This may lead to HR having to terminate
contracts and appointments of staff. This however does not sway the HR department from
meeting its customer service principles outlined earlier on by playing the employee advocacy
role of operational HR management.
UNO is characterized by an attitude of teamwork, good internal as well as external
communications in the execution of work processes and the division of human resources sets a
perfect example as testament to its customer service principles. Staff working in the division
strive to achieve goals to fulfill the HR mission and vision for the university Staff interpersonal
relations in all offices are warm and cordial that it is difficult to make out who is Senior in an
office. There is no issue of „boss‟ and „subordinate‟ yet each staff knows his or her limit of
action. This is unlike what pertains in Ghanaian institutions including UEW.
5.6 RISK MANAGEMENT AND WORKER PROTECTION
Nonmonetary rewards, such as enjoyment of the work performed, satisfactory workplace
environment, safety and health, provides flexibility and are more likely to yield productive
employees and long-term benefits to any institution or organization.
The Director, HR who is also the risk manager for UNO manages a comprehensive risk
management system and is committed to preventing workplace violence and to maintaining a
safe work environment for all employees. To provide a safe, healthful environment in which to
work and study she spends considerable time on crises management dealing with employee
problems that are both work related and non-work related. Performing the operational role of
employee advocacy helps ensure fair and equitable treatment for employees regardless of
personal backgrounds or circumstances. Sometimes, playing the HR advocacy role may create
conflicts for the HR boss, but without the advocate role employers would face even more
lawsuits and regulatory complaints. She also works hard on health and wellness issues.
Accordingly, UNO spends over 12 million dollars a year on health insurance alone. UNO thus
has health, safety and security policy packages for staff and employees are sensitized to realize
the importance of these and comply with the associated rules and regulations in order to have
good, safe work habits in their every day work. Employees are to report any unsafe acts and
unsafe conditions for prompt correction. Human resources intermittently organize health fairs to
sensitize faculty, staff and students.
5.7 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMET SYSTEM (HRMS)
Human resources at UNO rely on an integrated system of technology to provide a wide range of
services and information for decision making purposes. This helps to ensure administrative and
operational efficiencies and effectiveness of work. The use of the Human Resource Management
System (HRMS) enables HR to have access to accurate information required for strategic
planning purposes instead of relying on managerial perceptions and intuition. Access to HRMS
helps the director and staff at the HR office in the execution of their duties. It helps in accurate
job evaluation, appropriate compensation and benefits payments, and payroll information. As
discussed already human resources also use HRMS in posting jobs, recruitment, hiring and
training purposes. HRMS helps to free up time for HR staff members who would previously
spend considerable time to answering employee routine inquiries.
5.7.1 Measuring Effectiveness
The contribution of human resources is always taken for granted in many organizations and or
institutions. HR is always blamed when services provided by employees are lacking, too
expensive or of poor quality. In order to benchmark and measure activities the Human resource
office uses the Human Resource metrics which is a measurement tool to make informed
decisions about performance indicators. Human resource metrics is about measuring output
against expected value /outcomes.
The Manager in charge uses this tool to determine the cost of employee turnover, payroll
analyses to revenues, staff strength, jobs and job analyses. The jobs are classified to look out for
the uniqueness of the job and this helps to determine the value of an employee and helps
determine the pay. The metrics provide specific data to track human resource performance. The
set up of the metrics is linked to all the units in the office but tied more to classification and
compensation and this helps to collect accurate data, compare results externally and internally,
and provide clear information expected by executives. Information received through this
assessment informs the Director on strategic and operational effectiveness and guides her to
present accurate performance evaluations to management.
6.0 MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES FOR HUMAN RESOURCES
The role of HR as a strategic partner is often described as having a seat at the table and
contributing to the strategic directions and success of the institution. This means Human
resources should be involved in devising the strategy in addition to implementing strategy.
Several roles can be fulfilled by human resource staff but the nature and extent of these roles also
largely depend on both what upper management wants Human resources to do and what
competencies the human resource staff have demonstrated.
Activities of Human resources at UNO have far advanced the administrative and operational
roles of human resources management. The operational role of human resources which are
tactical requires HR to cooperate with management to identify and implement needed programs
and policies in the organization. HR has so far put in place many strategies to make UNO
survive in a competitive academia. HR ensures compliance with EEO and other laws to
recruiting expertise to sustain various job positions and roles ensure equitable pay plan, process
employment applications, interviews, train supervisors, safety problems are resolved and wage
and benefit questions are answered. These efforts require matching HR activities with the
strategies of the organization.
However, HR does not help formulate strategies for the organization as a whole; instead it
merely carries them out through its activities. Despite the laudable human resource work
processes that Human Resources at UNO have achieved over the past years under the present
director, to give the university a safe work environment and effective staff, HR is still being
relegated to the background. HR is not invited to the table but invited to deal with the “mess” or
crises when it arises.
The environment faced by the institution and human resources is changing. Responding
effectively requires a competent Human resource presence to deal with them. UNO still has a
long way to achieve excellence and to define strategy relative to human resources and its
contribution to organizational results will be worth embracing.
7.0 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The increasing importance and visibility of human resources management in today‟s
organizations are recognized by the strategic roles played by some efficient human resource
managers and their staff. The study of the practices and general characteristics of the Human
Resource Division at UNO has revealed that Human Resource professionals in public
educational institutions can also be proactive in addressing business realties and focus on future
business needs. Although not a profit oriented organization, Human Resources at UNO manages
its activities in a “business- oriented” manner and can be made accountable for making decisions
regarding the University`s future workforce.
Besides the many challenges that still face the division , the strategies, policies and procedures
put in place links practically all the university‟s departments and units, and this determines the
main functions of the division and its uniqueness as a unit which perhaps in the most visual way
demonstrates what Human Resources stands for.
It is therefore necessary for my home university to emulate the best practices of Human
Resources at UNO in order to fulfill a broader and more strategic role in driving the strategic
direction of the university. This could be achieved if Human Resource is reorganized,
restructured and reoriented along HR activities away from its traditionally routine activities and
mundane tasks and allowed to position itself to focus attention on issue of greater strategic
importance. It is hoped that through this fellowship UEW will build a lasting partnership with
UNO and learn from her successes.
From the foregoing therefore the following recommendations are some HR best practices that
can be adopted by the division of human resources at UEW in particular and the University of
Education, Winneba as a whole.
7.2 Recommendations for UEW
With the change in name from Personnel Office to the Division of Human Resource
activities of the division must seek to reflect Human Resources Management. The
division is still heavily characterized by the traditional administrative role of HR which
has been heavily oriented to focus on clerical administration, record keeping and lower
level administrative aides to the institution.
UEW should move towards professionalization and specialization of activities at the
Division of Human Resource just as is required of audit, finance and accounting.
The Human Resource Division should embrace professional human resources
The Division of Human Resource should develop clear customer service principles to
guide work activities and relations with staff and all customers.
UEW spends considerable productive time on recruitment, promotions and other staff
matters. To save productive resources, Human Resources should consider installing the
automated and web based technology for recruitment to replace the manual processing
for recruitment and hiring and free staff time and space for more productive HR
The current approach to hiring staff into various positions should be reconsidered.
Human Resource should conduct a proper job analysis and evaluation of positions to be
Due diligence should be given to manpower planning and the luxury of filling positions
without recourse to efficiency and standards should be reconsidered. Human resources
accepting applications when job vacancies have not been posted should be reviewed.
UEW has a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate that largely seeks the professional
development of females (staff and students) within the University But in the wake of
ensuring equal employment opportunity for all faculty, staff and applicants it will be
proper if the HR division strives to establish an EEO unit to enable employee advocacy
and ensure ethical guidance to all policies, rules and regulations of the University.
HR activities at UEW remains an expensive function and so some cost cutting measures,
should be given to the recruitment and hiring process and due diligence done to job
classification and manpower planning before any recruitment.
The idea that “liking to work with people‟ is a major qualification necessary for success
in HR is one of the greatest myths in the field but rather depending on the job, HR
professionals need considerable knowledge about employment regulations, finance, tax
law, statistics and information system. In most cases, they need extensive knowledge
about specific HR activities. Senior administrative staff at the Division of Human
resources including the Acting Deputy Registrar should consider upgrading themselves in
the fields of professional human resources management.
As much as employees are to be encouraged to develop themselves, the luxury of junior /
senior staff presenting certificates for consideration for promotion and review of status
should be considered.
UEW must set standards of quality for the type certificates staff produce for promotions
and review of status.
UEW should consider the payment of yearly salary increases for staff based on
The University needs to ensure the efficiency of its staff. Staff already in the employ of
the university must be well assessed and non performing employees must have their
appointments terminated to enable the institution keep the cream of staff that will work
and move UEW towards achievement of excellence.
UEW must take a second look at the kinds of institutions staff enroll for further studies.
The National Accreditation Board and National Council for Tertiary Education must
enforce quality of education and assess the proliferation of certificates coming into the
The labour law in Ghana allows employees to form and join unions. Employees of UEW
are privileged to have different unions for the different categories of staff - GAUA,
TEWU and FUSSAG but having one voice through a Staff Advisory Council as pertain at
UNO would be more appropriate.
Management of UEW organized a health screening exercise for faculty and staff for the
first time ever in the year 2007 and has been discontinued. Human Resources can take
this up and introduce and replicate the health and wellness fairs for members of the
university community as organized by UNO human resources.
The decision of UEW to introduce a provident fund for faculty and senior
administrative/professional staff besides the existing government pension are laudable.
But it should be introduced in tiers to give members the flexibility to choose the tier
suitable to ones peculiar situation and be given opportunity to move upwards with time.
The Division of Human Resources must be able to use data available in their unit to
forecast outcomes and become real partners with upper management.
HR must be able to show to management how they can add value to the university.
HR must be run according to the same rigid criteria that apply to other units like finance,
audit and accounting.
As much as UEW owes it a public duty to offer job appointments to citizens of Ghana,
the issue of nepotism/family ties should be reconsidered since this practice does not
promote a healthy and productive work environment.
8.0 PROJECT PROPOSAL
Project proposal will seek for approval for the purchase and implementation of Human Resource
Information System with particular reference to the Automation of the Recruitment and Hiring
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