VII. Staff

Achieving excellence in Johns Hopkins’ research, teaching, and service missions depends on the contributions of staff throughout the university. Building a diverse community of staff is essential to those missions, to our profound belief in equity of opportunity, and to our understanding that a broad array of backgrounds, thoughts, and experiences fuels the excellence and creativity of our work. The values of diversity and inclusion must therefore be embedded in the selection, training, support, and advancement of our staff at all levels of the university. Our goals in this area are to:

  • Create clear pathways to employment for diverse, talented individuals through our recruiting and hiring;
  • Build programs that support the growth and development of all our employees;
  • Achieve significant and broad diversity in our managerial and leadership ranks; and
  • Provide fair and equitable compensation and benefits that allow our staff at all levels of the organization to thrive.

We recognize that we have not yet achieved these aims. At various times—including in recent years—staff have expressed concerns about the reach of our recruitment efforts; the professional development opportunities and retention efforts for talented employees; the number of underrepresented minorities in departmental, divisional, and institutional leadership roles; and the equity of our benefits. We have responded with changes to programs, policy, and practice, as highlighted below, and a clear-eyed understanding that our work in this area must be undertaken with renewed intensity and commitment. Since fall 2010, the percentage of underrepresented minorities (URM) has increased at all levels of our staff: from 28 percent to 32 percent of technical staff, from 15 percent to 17 percent of professional staff, and from 13 percent to 15 percent of executive staff. These increases are important but insufficient, and we need to be intentional in our efforts to build new and different talent pipelines into and through the organization.

What we are doing

Entry-level Hiring Opportunities

Most recently, we have given particular focus to entry-level hiring, working closely with the Johns Hopkins Health System to expand our participation in programs that draw entry-level talent and to explore opportunities to broaden our community outreach in Baltimore.

  • HopkinsLocal. In fall 2015, the Johns Hopkins University and Health System launched a major economic inclusion initiative called HopkinsLocal, which includes a significant commitment to hiring staff from Baltimore City’s most distressed communities. The university and health system aim to fill 40 percent of targeted entry-level positions from these neighborhoods by 2018. Meeting this goal will require deep engagement with community and faith-based workplace readiness organizations. We have also enlisted career coaches from the health system to help these entry-level employees and their supervisors manage the transition into Johns Hopkins.
  • Summer jobs for city youth. Johns Hopkins University and Health System continue to collaborate with Baltimore City in supporting the YouthWorks summer jobs program. In 2015, our institutions provided more than 300 students with five-week internship experiences, representing a 50 percent increase over prior years, and we matched that total in 2016. Departments across Johns Hopkins create meaningful work experiences and critical skills training for local youth, and we are seeking to deepen the institutions’ relationship with this talent pool by extending internship opportunities throughout the year or over multiple summers, with the ultimate objective of cultivating future full-time staff hires.
  • Partnership with Year-Up. Year-Up is an innovative national workforce development organization that has demonstrated results in helping low-income adults between the ages of 18 and 24 prepare for career-path jobs. Year-Up’s Baltimore Training Corps provides intensive workplace-readiness training and matches participants with carefully developed internship opportunities at major corporations. Johns Hopkins has sponsored 61 internships in areas including IT and HR/Payroll Services, resulting in 10 full-time hires. We are exploring an expansion of our partnership with Year-Up to further cultivate another source of diverse talent.

Career Advancement

Once staff members become part of the Johns Hopkins community, we must afford them opportunities to grow professionally, develop new skills, and advance into new positions. Analysis of results from the 2015 Gallup employment engagement survey underscored an opportunity to better engage staff members through greater efforts by managers to deliver constructive performance feedback and proactively identify opportunities for professional development. Although these findings, and the approach we have taken to them, are not specifically aimed at promoting diversity, they support our broad aims in this area by focusing on developing programs that foster the growth and development of all employees.

  • Leadership recruiting and action plans. The university’s commitment to enhance the broad diversity of its workforce is equally critical at the leadership and management levels. Members of the university cabinet and senior leadership team are in the process of customizing and implementing best practices in diverse recruiting, hiring, and advancement, modeled after the Faculty Diversity Initiative. In addition, offices within the senior university administration will be developing departmental diversity plans over the next year to help advance the full range of activities in the Roadmap and to cultivate a diverse talent base and inclusive working environment at all levels of the institution.
  • Professional development and training. The university currently offers access to a broad range of career development and training opportunities and allows employees to use three full workdays for training each year. To reinvigorate this policy, the university in FY17 will roll out communications that encourage managers, supervisors, and employees to identify those training opportunities most closely tied to employee performance feedback and career development plans.
  • Training of human resources professionals. In spring 2016, approximately 200 staff members within Human Resources went through a three-hour training on building diverse teams in the workplace. The aim of this training was to engage participants in conversations about diversity and bias, demonstrate the ways in which diverse teams more effectively solve organizational challenges, and ensure that a key and influential group within the university is attuned to these issues.
  • Development and Alumni Relations (DAR). In 2016, DAR began a diversity planning process, considering diversity within both the department and the development industry as a whole. The process has included a focus on creating an environment of diversity and inclusion; a commitment to diversity when identifying, recruiting, and promoting candidates; and a recognition of the need for further diversity within the profession. By the end of FY17, DAR plans to build a three-year plan that touches on areas such as awareness building, information sharing, training, education, and community outreach.

We have also developed programs that are aimed at fostering the development of women and underrepresented minority staff in career tracks that are both central to the university’s mission and rewarding to the employee.

  • Research Administration Training Program. Since 2008, many divisions of the university have participated in the Research Administration Training Program—or “RAT Pack.” The program is designed to develop the skills of employees who are interested in working in sponsored research administration, an area that makes up a significant component of the university workforce and is vital to the stewardship of over $1 billion in research support generated by our faculty each year. The RAT Pack combines curricula and rotational work experiences for existing employees and new hires to teach essential skills for this career track. The program, which has trained 86 participants, is designed to recruit and retain URM and women staff; over seven years, women represent 72 percent of those who have successfully completed the program, and URM represent 41 percent.
  • Diversity Mentor Program. In the 2015–16 academic year, with encouragement from the Black Faculty and Staff Association, we developed and piloted the Diversity Mentor Program in University Administration Finance. Part of a strategic effort to attract and develop diverse talent, the program provides a voluntary and personal mentoring experience, and broadens mentees’ exposure and experience within finance. In its pilot year, this program took applications from interested staff and mentors, ultimately selecting four mentor/mentee pairs. While the first-year program was complicated by the fact that several mentees shifted into jobs in other parts of the university, formal and informal feedback from participants highlighted the importance of the mentoring effort, and the university is working to enhance the program in the 2016–17 academic year (as detailed below in the “Next steps” section).

Employee Benefits Programs

In recent years, the university has made a number of changes to our benefits programs in response to the needs of our diverse staff community. These changes were rooted in our benefits philosophy, drafted by a faculty and staff advisory group in 2004. The philosophy, which affirms, among other points, that our benefits should be equitable, fair, and affordable, has served as the foundational principle behind key changes to employee benefits in recent years. In 2012, for example, in response to federal government budget pressures, we adopted an income-based cost-sharing mechanism when allocating the proposed increases in health care insurance premiums. This change, recommended by the Benefits Advisory Committee and endorsed by our faculty and staff, allowed the lowest-income employees to bear a lower share of the increase in insurance premiums, a practice that helps us attract and support staff from a broad range of the socioeconomic spectrum.

  • Task force on inclusive benefits. In 2016, at the recommendation of a task force composed of faculty and staff, the university adjusted its medical plans to include transgender employee benefits and establish equity across marriage and domestic partner benefits. The changes were responsive to recommendations from the Diversity Leadership Council and other advisory bodies within and across the divisions regarding improvements to our benefits programs and policies to ensure they are fully inclusive.
  • Health and Health Services Study Committee. In 2015, a faculty-led Health and Health Services Study Committee was convened to examine various areas of employee health services—wellness strategies, preventive care and primary care, care management for chronic disease/large cases, innovation, and management of prescriptions and specialty drugs—and make recommendations on how we can better cultivate a culture of health for the university’s diverse community of employees. As the committee works to finalize recommended improvements to the university’s employee health care and wellness programs, it is being particularly attentive to the needs of our lowest-income employees, for whom health care access and affordability can be serious challenges.

Next steps

We have been actively engaged on a number of fronts to build the diversity of our staff and promote inclusion in the workplace, but we recognize the work is far from complete. In some cases, we will be able to build on existing programs; in others, we will construct new approaches, and continue to work with interested groups and individuals to ensure our university attracts and cultivates a diverse and talented community of staff at all ranks. Among our next steps:

  • Staff diversity initiative for recruitment and hiring. The Faculty Diversity Initiative (described in the Faculty section) was developed with an understanding that great universities are enriched by the variety of their scholars, and it included a comprehensive review and consideration of best search practices in the areas of equity, inclusion, and diversity. Through the FDI, divisions have implemented a range of strategies, including a broader cultivation of candidate pools, search committee trainings to eliminate unconscious bias in hiring, the participation of trained diversity advocates on search committees, and reporting on search practices and activities. Believing that the interests guiding the FDI apply to university staff as well, and that some (and potentially all) of these practices could be adapted to enhance recruitment of staff, particularly at the leadership level, Human Resources will convene in FY17 a working group of cross-functional leaders from across the institution. This group will review the FDI and industry best practices around diversity recruitment and hiring, and make recommendations for new processes that can be piloted in FY18, with particular focus on hiring practices, related training programs, and the development of key metrics that can help us better understand recruitment and hiring outcomes and trends.
  • Finance Diversity Mentor Program. We have recently begun to broaden the reach of the Diversity Mentor Program in University Administration Finance, working to expand it to include staff in divisional business offices. The second year of the program will include additional check-in sessions with mentors and with mentees to review progress, provide feedback, and make adjustments as needed.
  • Diversity training for managers and staff. Currently, our new-staff orientation includes a limited discussion of issues and values of diversity, and interested employees can engage in various diversity-related trainings throughout their career. Beginning in FY17, Human Resources will improve staff onboarding diversity training. In addition, recognizing that managers can most directly impact the growth and professional development of our staff, we will enhance the training that managers and supervisors receive regarding managing diverse workforces and unconscious bias. Our aim will be to help managers develop the diverse talent in our workforce. Beginning in FY17, Human Resources will develop communications to guide all new hires, managers, supervisors, and staff through required and available opportunities, and will solicit feedback from the community on the offerings.
  • Entry-level hiring. We will continue to advance two aligned efforts to train and hire entry-level staff from Baltimore’s most disadvantaged communities, supporting our city and its residents while achieving one of our key goals: creating clear pathways for employment for diverse, talented individuals. The first effort is a city-supported collaboration involving Johns Hopkins University and Health System, a local workforce development organization, and other area universities and hospitals. It is focused on training residents of the city’s most disadvantaged communities in the hard skills needed for administrative support and medical assistant positions. The second effort, mentioned earlier in this section, is HopkinsLocal, through which we aim to hire 40 percent of employees in targeted entry-level positions from identified neighborhoods in Baltimore City by 2018.
  • Health and Health Services Study Committee recommendations. In FY17, this committee (mentioned above) will deliver recommendations to university leadership on actions that we can take to improve employee health and wellness. Faculty and staff advisory groups will provide additional analysis and consultation around these recommendations before we develop a plan and implement an employee health initiative for FY18 and beyond. The final plan will account for the range of diversity within our staff, with particular attention to socioeconomic status.
  • Family support benefits. The Diversity Leadership Council and other groups have raised the issue of supporting a broader range of child care options for our employee community. In FY17, Human Resources will develop options to enhance the university’s dependent care voucher program, considering whether the university can expand or better target dependent-care subsidies and how to facilitate an increased use of this benefit. In FY17, Human Resources is also exploring a broadening of parental leave policies.
  • Measures of progress. As an academic institution, we are committed to public accountability around these efforts. Accordingly, we are committed to rigorously assessing our progress, and to openly and transparently publishing where we are, including providing periodic reports on the diversity of our workforce at every level of the organization.