Part-time employees pressured to complete Covey training

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20-hour training session would take 19-hour employees away from helping students.

By Katherine Garcia

An email from human resources is making part-time employees feel pressured to take Covey training, Jane Focht-Hansen, English professor and writing center director, said.

The training is based on Stephen R. Covey’s self-help book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Training is required of all full-time employees, but a requirement of part-time employees is up to each college, Linda Boyer-Owens, associate vice chancellor of human resources and organizational development, said in an interview Friday.

She said President Robert Vela doesn’t require part-time employees to complete the training, but he ultimately wants all employees to receive training.

Focht-Hansen said the cost of sending employees to 20 hours of training is not worth it. Employees would have to be paid salary for the time spent at the training, and the writing center would have to pay for a replacement employee.

While she said the Covey training session had some good information, she said she prefers she and her employees remain in the lab helping students.

“My first responsibility is to the students,” Focht-Hansen said.

“The hours don’t equate — a 19-hour employee is going to 20 hours training,” student trustee Jacob Wong said, adding the training would take up a week of employee hours.

At the end of Tuesday’s meeting of the Policy and Long Range Planning Committee, Wong requested information on the impact training on “7 Habits” is making on the budgets and employee efficiency of college departments.

He requested an agenda item be placed on a board of trustees meeting.

Wong asked for information regarding “7 Habits” training for part-time employees because he said it was negatively affecting interaction with students in areas, such as tutoring services, disability support services and “anything which we have direct student contact.”

An email sent to full-time and part-time employees by James Lievens, a member of the 7 Habits Organizational Learning Team, read, “You are receiving this email because our records indicate you have not completed the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People workshop.”

An attached FAQ answers some employee questions:

“Q2: Do all employees have to attend 7 Habits session?

A: Yes. Senior leaders have the expectation for ALL (stet) employees to attend a session.” Focht-Hansen said her Covey training experience was good and informative, but she said she’d prefer the time is spent helping the students.

Q4: Are adjuncts and part-timers required to attend?

A: Part-time employees are included in the expectation to attend a session. Adjuncts are highly encouraged to attend a session as well, but at this time, are not compensated for their attendance

Lievens said he sent the email to all part- and full-time employees who haven’t completed the session.

Boyer-Owens said if part-time employees had to attend, they’d work with advisers to find time in their schedule.

Forty-two out of 134 part-time employees across the district have completed the training.

Wong said the investment to not be at work is not an investment at all.

He said the self-help book focuses on improving part-time employees and “doesn’t have a direct, positive effect on tutoring students.”

Chancellor Bruce Leslie said the research would be added as an agenda item for a future board meeting.


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