One of the major steps we’ve taken in Human Resources this year is updating the way we do our annual performance reviews, also known as APR. Our main goal was and is to further advance a culture of performance enhancement.
What does this mean practically? An APR system that works is one where performance reviews are not about criticism or assigning numbers. An effective APR system means working with each member of our staff to set clear, meaningful goals for the coming year, and then using those goals, together with the employee, to evaluate their performance and find ways to continually improve.
We are also making sure that each individual’s set of goals — in other words, what everyone is working toward — is in line with the goals of our Strategic Plan. If you think about it, it’s like the sport of rowing. Our Strategic Plan has told us where we want to go. Now it’s our job to make sure everyone in the boat is doing the right things to get there.
In other areas, we’ve had great success with our benefits program, where we found savings of over $130,000 while raising the quality of the health insurance we offer. Now, our employees have dental, vision, and life insurance coverage, as well as a help desk and concierge service they can call with questions about benefits.
In addition, I have been able to become a resource for our kehillot in the area of human resources. As word gets out, more and more kehillot are reaching out to USCJ for instructions and assistance with basic activities such as creating employee handbooks as well as advice on HR policy and procedures for complex problems such as performing HR investigations when there are complaints of a sensitive nature in the workplace.
I think we’re moving in the right direction in terms of helping strengthen our own human capital at USCJ and helping our kehillot do a good job of managing the people who work for them.
—Vivian Lewis, Director of Human Resources