September 21, 2015

Last week, the Staff Ombuds Office released its new data for fiscal year 2014 – 2015.  Otherwise known as a “supergraph,” this new graphic chart illustrates usage of the office by Berkeley staff and the top issues of concern.  The information is based on aggregate, non-identifiable data from employees who used ombuds services during this time period.

Following are some highlights:

  • The Staff Ombuds Office served 290 employees resulting in 422 total appointments, a 5% increase from the prior year fiscal year. 
  • The top 3 issues of concern brought to the Staff Ombuds Office were respect/civility, job/role clarity, and management skills.
  • 58% of cases involve disputes between employees and their supervisor.   It is important to note that 17% of these employees were in managerial or supervisory roles themselves and had concerns about higher-level supervisors.

In collecting data, the Staff Ombuds Office has noticed a new discrepancy whereby 7% of employees who self-identify as managers or supervisors are not coded as such in the CalAnswers database.  This may contribute to confusion about roles.  Changes within organizational structure, including centralization of services, may also contribute to employees’ lack of understanding about their role and/or job responsibilities.

The Staff Ombuds Office provides employees with a confidential conflict resolution and problem-solving resource to address concerns that interfere with work.  Coming to the Staff Ombuds Office also helps employees learn new ways to handle future work-related problems.  In fact, 77% of survey respondents indicated that through their interactions with the ombudsperson they developed skills or learned approaches that might help them to resolve future problems.  Additionally, 95% indicated that they would use the ombuds services again or refer others for assistance.

 The Staff Ombuds Office also conducts short presentations for units to better understand ombuds services and the data it collects.  Employees who have questions or are interested in more information should contact 642-7823.