The University of Minnesota will soon begin conducting its second annual E2 Employee Engagement Survey. You should have received an email today (Thursday, October 9) from Mary Stein in Bob McMaster's office with the subject line "IMPORTANT: Employee Engagement Survey." That email contains important information about how to define certain terms used in the survey. If you need that email re-sent to you, please send an email to asrcomm@umn.edu.

Benefits-eligible faculty and staff will receive an email on October 13 from the Hay Group, an external vendor that is administering the survey. Take 10 minutes to share your thoughts about your work and your workplace. All answers are confidential. Your answers will help the University fulfill its teaching and research mission.

If you have any issues with the survey link you receive, contact the Hay Group directly to request a new link at UofMNsurvey.US@haygroup.com. Each survey link is customized and can only be used one time.

More information on engagement is available from the Office of Human Resources.

SCAMPER: Substitute - Combine - Adapt - Modify - Put to another use - Eliminate - Reverse

Asking questions about existing processes or services using specific prompts will help you come up with creative ideas for developing new processes and for improving current ones.

First, take an existing opportunity that you want to improve, one that you're currently having problems with, or one that you think could be a good starting point for future development. Then, ask questions using the SCAMPER mnemonic to brainstorm as many questions and answers as you can.

  • Substitute: What other process could you use?
  • Combine: What could you combine to maximize the uses of this process?
  • Adapt: How could you adapt or readjust this process to serve another purpose or use?
  • Modify: How could you change the shape, look, or feel of your process?
  • Put to another use: Can you use this process somewhere else?
  • Eliminate: How could you streamline or simplify this process?
  • Reverse: What would happen if you reversed this process or sequenced things differently?

Finally, look at the answers that you came up with. Do any stand out as viable solutions?

Sound interesting? Find more here.

Employees can now save $400 or $600 on their annual UPlan rates, depending on their tier of coverage. UPlan members enrolled in Employee-only or Employee and Children coverage who earn at least 400 wellness points will save $400 on their 2016 annual rates. UPlan members enrolled in Employee and Spouse with or without Children coverage who earn at least 600 points will save $600 on their 2016 rates.

To correspond with the increased UPlan rate savings, the program has increased the points employees can earn with many of the wellness programs. UPlan-covered spouses can now earn up to 200 points for their joint balance, but they are not required to.

You are invited to a brown bag session to hear more about the merit-based performance evaluation system ASR is implementing for civil service and P&A employees. This change is due to a directive from President Kaler and will be implemented during the 2015 review cycle.

Sue Van Voorhis will go over the process and answer questions. Sessions are scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 22, 12-1 p.m. - Williamson 160B (OCM Demo Room)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 5, 12-1 p.m. - Fraser B20

Bring your lunch and come hear about the new process!

ASR mini-poll results

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Last week's poll asked employees whether or not they agreed with this statement "I understand how ASR supports the overall University mission and goals." 94% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they understood how ASR supports the University's mission and goals.

One respondent said that "We (ASR) are the spine," of the University, while another said that "If I didn't think that the work I do on a daily basis in ASR makes a positive difference in the lives of students, I would not be working here! It is very important to me to be able to make that connection in my work."

Just as a reminder: ASR's mission, vision and Values are posted on the ASR website. The University's history and mission and the University's current vision and goals are also available.

In October, the SR Help Training Team is conducting training preview sessions for the Upgrade. They held two sessions the first week of October, with 88 and 105 attendees respectively. This week, they are conducting two more sessions for University staff to learn more about the Upgrade and the avenues for training.

Employees from across ASR will be performing system testing for the Upgrade over the next several weeks. System testing will require very focused effort - please be courteous to employees that are performing system testing and respect their need for time alone. If you are performing system testing, here are some ideas on how to alert colleagues to your need for privacy:

Disruptions will result in wasted time and effort, so please be sure to avoid interruptions to system testing.

ImageNow upgrade

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On November 7-9, Collaboration & Web Content Services will upgrade ImageNow to version 6.7. While changes to the user experience will be minimal, it is necessary to upgrade in order to maintain technical support from the vendor. In addition, based on vendor recommendations, the ImageNow infrastructure will be enhanced to conform more closely with industry standards.

The upgrade activities will require down time for the tool. To minimize disruption to University business, the majority of the work will occur over the weekend of Nov 7-9:

Status updates will be provided during the upgrade via IT Service Status. Additional details about the upgrade will be sent to ImageNow users in the near future.

If you have questions about the upgrade or ImageNow, send a message to imagenow-support@umn.edu.

To learn how you will report absences electronically after the Upgrade, please watch a short 3-minute sneak peek video about the process.

If you are are a full-time civil service or labor-represented employee who earns approved overtime or shift differential, please also watch the sneak peek on electronic time reporting (for overtime and shift differential).

Both electronic processes will offer easy, streamlined, and ink-free ways to report absences and overtime.

There are several ways to participate in the University's community fund drive:

Visit the University's Community Fund Drive donation page. Click the "Donate Now!" link in the upper right to make a donation. If you are not able to donate this year, or if you donate in some other way, you can still be be entered in the prize drawings by clicking the "Donate Now!" button < "donate on line" < scroll to the bottom of the page and click the box next to "Can't pledge this year, but want to be included in the prize drawings?"

You can also participate in the ASR Penny War. The ASR penny war will run October 6-24. Building winners will be revealed at the October 29 ASR Staff Event. Collection jars will be available in these buildings:


  • Coffey - commons area, room 130

  • Fraser - commons area near 261

  • STSS - kitchenette, room 211G and

  • Williamson - kitchenette, room 160K

Please remember: the value of pennies collected by a building count positively toward that building's point total, while the value of other coins or dollar bills are subtracted from that building's point total. So, putting pennies in your building's jar while putting other coins and dollar bills in other building's collection jars would be a winning strategy.

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