Managing Smart: Navigating Staffing Shortages

Thursday, February 17, 2022

By Ben Taylor, Assistant Director, Equal Opportunity

With the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the recent surge in cases resulting from the Omicron variant, departments saw and may continue to see an increase of employees being out sick simultaneously. These unexpected absences can create staffing shortages and result in delays in the completion of work and an increase in response time and stress.

As we experience and navigate this together, it is important to take time to process and collect our thoughts and encourage our teams to do the same. We may need to temporarily focus on baseline operations as there may be impacts to what we initially thought we would accomplish when we returned from Winter Break and began the spring term. There are, however, actions we can take to mitigate the impacts of these unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances. Some things to consider as you manage through this challenge:

  • How am I being impacted by current circumstances?
  • What support do I need from my supervisor and/or college leadership?
  • How are the individuals on my team being impacted by current circumstances?
  • What can I do to support the individuals on my team?
  • What is the “must-do” work for our department at this time?
  • What work can/should we temporarily pause?

While all of the work that we do is important, during these unique times, it may be important to consider the work that absolutely must get done and first focus our effort on that. Depending on your area, it might be ensuring that students or colleagues are served, that contracts are signed or that payroll checks are issued. Longer term projects may need to be temporarily paused to give focus time to the core work, those things that absolutely must get done. The keyword here is temporary. If any work is paused, it is temporary as we adapt to the changing circumstances and can continue to reprioritize our efforts.

If your area is stretched very thin and you and your team are having trouble accomplishing the core “must-do” work, some additional options you may consider are:

  • Consult with leadership to explore temporarily increasing part-time hours and considering overtime.
  • Are there staff members available at another campus that could help your team?
  • Is your supervisor aware of the challenge you’re facing? What suggestions might they have?

When enlisting support of part-time employees or seeking overtime for full-time employees, please remember that you should not be asking anyone to complete work tasks that are beyond their job description. Please also remember to consult with Organizational Development and Human Resources to ensure that there are no long-term budgetary or other unintended impacts of any temporary adjustments to scheduling or work tasks.

In times of stress, practice the leadership competencies of open communication, adaptability and prioritization. It is also important to give the individuals on your teams the space to have an open dialogue about their needs and how they are experiencing work and the impact this may have on them. While we hope the need for these adjustments ends soon, we must continue to care for our employees and recognize that the way this is affecting them as much as it is impacting our work.

If you need help thinking of creative ways to navigate staffing challenges, or to help create an open dialogue with your teams, reach out to or 407-582-HR4U (4748) for support

Policy Update: Work Assignments and Compensation During Emergencies and Other Extraordinary Work Conditions

Thursday, February 17, 2022

In this Policy Update series, you’ll receive information about recently updated, repealed or approved policies to ensure you are kept abreast of key policy changes. We are excited to provide you with relevant and timely policy information to assist you in your role and your team’s contributions to the College. 

By Michelle Sever, Director, Policy and Special Projects

Valencia College has a framework for how it prepares and responds to handling emergencies, disasters and adverse work conditions. A policy was developed as a new addition to this framework in 2019. (See Policy Update: Emergency Management). In 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the College to reflect and expand on the policy.

College Policy 3C-01.5 is intended to cover a myriad of circumstances and where the College may implement plans to adjust operations to provide critical resources and continuity of services to our College community. Depending on the circumstances, these plans may range from temporary employee work assignments where employees still maintain their regular salary and benefits (as applicable) to large-scale College closures with potential designated work assignments and emergency duty compensation for certain employees.

College Policy 3C-01.5 Work Assignments and Compensation During Emergencies, Disasters, and Other Extraordinary and Adverse Work Conditions was amended and includes the following new information:

  • As the College may be faced with responding to a future epidemic, pandemic or situation regarding an acute communicable disease, language was added to address these types of circumstances along with employee-related work assignments, compensation and the process as a whole.
  • Language clarifying banked holiday leave was added for those circumstances involving a large-scale impact necessitating a College closure and where a holiday falls within that timeframe. This language is also in alignment with similar language found in Procedures II. B. 2. of College Policy 3C-01 Total Rewards: Compensation & Hours of Work for Employees of the College.

Valencia College continues its commitment to the safety and health of the College community. Please become familiar with the new sections of this policy/procedure and share with your teams.

For additional questions on the policy or resources, contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at or call the HR4U helpline at 407-582-HR4U (4748).


Celebrate Career Anniversary Milestones With These Fun Resources

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Do your team members know how much you appreciate them?

Celebrating career anniversaries is a way to demonstrate your gratitude and recognize the unique attributes, special connections and the many ways each employee contributes to student success. 

If you received a gift for an employee on your team, take the time to present the gift in a meaningful way to each recipient. Make this special occasion more personal by acknowledging the unique contributions of your employee during an upcoming team meeting or special gathering.

Below are some resources to help you celebrate career anniversaries at different milestone levels:


The career anniversary videos can be used as additional ways to celebrate your employees in emails or virtual team gatherings. The set contains anniversary videos from year one to year 45, and each video contains a unique greeting, according to its respective milestone.

Zoom Backgrounds

Celebrate your team members during virtual meetings and team celebrations with custom animated Zoom backgrounds.


Recognize your colleagues by giving a badge and sharing your thoughts in a short post. It’s simple to share your appreciation and reward a job well done. Check out the badge descriptions for more details on each badge. For instructions on how to give a badge, check out the video tutorial or the printable tutorial.

All these resources can be found on the Career Anniversary webpage for easy access.

Thank you for helping us build a culture where every career is nurtured and celebrated.

You’re Invited: Performance Management for Supervisors

Thursday, February 17, 2022

By Courtney Demings, Coordinator, Equal Opportunity

As supervisors, performance management is embedded in all that we do — often thought of as a tool that leaders use to guide employees about appropriate performance and behaviors in the workplace. Performance management can be an enriching experience that elevates employees to reach their potential, or it can be a demoralizing experience that stifles their growth. At Valencia College, we wish for employees to have the former experience that encourages their growth and development, because effective performance management is essential to every aspect of the employee life cycle from expectation setting to taking corrective — and disciplinary— action, when needed.

While performance management may seem intuitive for some supervisors, others may need additional support with the philosophy and tools of performance management — things like giving and receiving feedback and addressing any performance concerns. Therefore, Employee Development is partnering with Equal Opportunity to host a series on Performance Management for Supervisors, regardless of where they land on the range of performance management experience. The following sessions will begin in March 2022:

  • Performance Management: Addressing Employee Performance or Behavioral Concerns for the First Time
  • Performance Management: Addressing On-going Employee Performance or Behavioral Concerns
  • Documenting Employee Achievements and Performance or Behavioral Concerns

The first session will allow supervisors to explore non-disciplinary options for addressing concerns, understand when to connect with Organizational Development and Human Resources (ODHR), and improve employee performance. The second session covers recognizing the differences between corrective and disciplinary actions, how to improve employee performance once a disciplinary action occurs, and ways in which ODHR can support issuing disciplinary action. The third session will include tools for documenting employee performance and employee achievements and best practices for documentation.

Essentially, there is a bridge between sessions to familiarize, strategize and revolutionize how we lead and support our employees. We encourage supervisors to attend all three sessions, but note they can be completed in isolation if this is not possible. When you attend your session, we encourage you to engage with the other participants, lean in and incorporate what you learn into your leadership style. Here’s why:

  • Supervisors can learn from other practitioners on positive and negative performance management behaviors
  • Supervisors can ask questions and receive advice in an open, safe environment
  • Supervisors can learn how to strengthen partnerships with other departments to enhance performance management
  • Supervisors can develop strategies for successfully moving their team forward

To learn more, click here. 


Payroll Updates: Spring Break Deadlines

Thursday, February 17, 2022

A Message from Bettie Cooper, Director, Payroll Services

Spring Break is quickly approaching, and we want to provide important information about payroll deadlines for part-time staff, students and hourly part-time faculty that will impact the Friday, March 18, 2022, payroll.

Part-time staff, student and hourly part-time faculty timesheets for the Friday, March 18, 2022, pay date will be processed during the break. The timesheet deadline for those employees for the pay period ending on Saturday, March 5, 2022, is Monday, March 7, 2022, with an approval deadline of Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Part-time staff, student and hourly part-time faculty employees who are not working during Spring Break can submit their timesheets on the last day they work in the pay period so their hours can be approved before the break.

Please remember that timesheets should never be submitted and approved before the hours are worked. Unfortunately, any timesheet that is not submitted and approved by Wednesday, March 9, 2022, will not be paid on the Friday, March 18, 2022 payroll.

Supervisors will receive an automated message when an employee submits a timesheet and their review and approval will be required.

For questions, please contact me at or 407-582-8100.

Tips for Onboarding a Hybrid or Remote Employee

Thursday, February 17, 2022

A Message from Chanda Postell, Director, Employee Experience 

When onboarding remote or hybrid employees, we want to ensure that they feel welcome and informed, which may take some additional coordination and dedicated connection with the Organizational Development and Human Resources (ODHR) team, the supervisor and relevant campus partners, such as the Office of Information Technology (OIT), Security, etc. To aid in this transition, we encourage you to review the Compass – Supervisor Resource program, which is a valuable tool to help guide you through a successful onboarding experience for new Valencia College employees.

Below are some additional tips to help you provide a successful onboarding experience:


– Connect with the Employee Experience team to confirm the new hire is set to begin on the agreed upon start date and to ensure VID and Atlas access are granted.

– Contact the new hire prior to the start date to address first-day expectations and provide:

  • Date and time to connect remotely or in person. Specify if he or she will be receiving a call or Zoom/Teams invitation.
  • If hybrid, provide the address and special instructions about the location.
  • Dress code (if applicable).
  • Overview of the first week and what to expect.


– Regardless of whether the employee will be working hybrid or remotely, schedule the employee’s first day on campus. This allows for an in-person introduction and for technical and logistical needs to be addressed, such as obtaining an employee ID, parking pass, etc. Additionally, the first time an employee logs in to a Valencia College computer, it must be done on campus on our network. After the initial logon, OIT can support computer set up either in person or remotely.

For Hybrid Workers

– Go over the physical office space they will be utilizing:

  • Ensure that you have prepared the desk space.
  • Make sure they have office supplies, access to copy machines, etc.
  • Provide a tour of the shared facilities — restrooms, lounges, kitchens, etc.

– Discuss COVID protocols, including the location of masks and any departmental cleaning supplies.

– Communicate department hybrid/remote policies and schedules, including days onsite and remote.

– If an office key is needed, email requests to:

After the supervisor receives confirmation that the key request has been processed, the employee must pick up the key from the respective Plant Operations office (location will be noted in the confirmation email). An employee ID is required for pick-up.

For Remote Workers

– Ensure they are set up and comfortable with all remote technology needed:

    • Zoom/Teams.
    • Department-specific software.
    • Discuss preferred methods of communication: phone, IM, text, etc.
    • Make touchpoints throughout the week to keep new employee engaged.
    • Ensure necessary access is granted in a timely manner to ease the transition: VPN, Outlook, Skype, etc.

For Remote and Hybrid Workers

– Employees on all campuses, except the Downtown Campus, may visit the Security office to obtain a faculty/staff ID. Downtown Campus employees should visit Card Services Downtown in the Communication and Media Building near the front lobby to request a Faculty/Staff ID. For more information, click here.

If the employee requires access to doors or spaces, email a request to your region’s director of security:

– Employees on all campuses, except the Downtown Campus, may apply for a parking pass through Atlas and then take the application, along with their vehicle registration and photo I.D. to Security. For details, click here.


– Send a welcome email to the team/department/campus introducing new employees.

– Schedule a time for the team to have a short Zoom meeting with new employees. This is dedicated meet-and-greet space to help new employees feel welcome. Ask employees to exchange contact information should they need to connect with one another.

– Ensure new employees meet anyone outside of the team that they may work with on a regular basis.

– Have new employees connect with a point of contact to guide them in their onboarding journey.

– Involve new employees in ongoing projects to make them feel part of the team and give them a chance to show off their skills.

– Introduce employees to The Grove, Valencia’s employee news site, so they can get familiar with company culture, news, etc.

– Encourage the new employee to review the Valencia College COMPASS Navigation Guide onboarding program — a valuable resources to help them get acclimated to Valencia.


– Provide as much clarity as possible regarding their role and expectations:

  • Review the job description to ensure they understand the overview of the role.
  • Discuss how new employees can use their unique skills and abilities in the role.
  • Outline work logistics and expectations.
  • Share an onboarding plan and timeline.
  • Set subsequent meetings in the coming weeks to review progress with the onboarding plan.
  • Initiate professional development and personal growth by setting face-to-face or video meeting reminders to discuss 30, 60 and 90-day goals.


Here are some great articles you can use as reference:

– How to Set Up a Remote Employee for Success on Day One

– The Complete Remote Onboarding Checklist for Virtual Employees in 2022

The Employee Experience team will be launching an update to Valencia College COMPASS with onboarding tools and resources. Read upcoming issues of the Supervisor Segment and The Grove for details.

If you have questions, contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-582-HR4U (4748).

Quarantine Guidelines for Spring Break Travel

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

With Spring Break only a few weeks away, if you or your team members are planning to travel internationally, please keep our latest quarantine guidelines in mind.

Currently, if you’re up to date* on your vaccinations, you do not need to quarantine and do not need to contact Valencia College’s COVID-19 case management team prior to your return to campus, unless you develop symptoms.

*The current definition of up to date on vaccinations is:

  • Completed the Moderna or Pfizer two-shot series in the last six months;
  • Received the Johnson & Johnson vaccination in the last two months; or
  • Received a Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson booster at any time.

If you travel internationally and are not up to date with COVID vaccines, you must quarantine for five days after travel and contact the COVID-19 case management team at Please note that this quarantine is not covered by COVID leave with pay. Employees must use their own leave or may work with their supervisor to determine if alternative arrangements are possible, such as working remotely.

Anyone who has tested positive for COVID in the last 90 days does not need to quarantine after international travel, regardless of vaccination status.

For travel guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, click here. 

Fostering and Supporting Valencia’s Equity-mindedness Work

Thursday, February 17, 2022

A Message from Natasha McIlmurray, Coordinator, Employee Development

While racism and discrimination are systemic issues we still face today, as supervisors, it is your responsibility to ensure everyone on your team feels like they belong. Check out the following self-paced courses via LinkedIn Learning to learn more about how you can foster and support the College’s equity-mindedness work by cultivating cultural competence, supporting allyship and anti-racism, and creating an overall great place to work for your team.

Cultivating Cultural Competence and Inclusion

In this course, instructor Mary-Frances Winters explains why cultural competence is key to the success of any diversity-related initiative, as well as how to assess and grow your own cultural competence. She shares scenarios and techniques that can help you grasp how your worldview impacts your behavior, as well as how to more effectively engage and adapt across cultural differences.

Click here to access.

Supporting Allyship and Anti-racism at Work

In this course, Dana Brownlee, an expert on organizational effectiveness, teaches you the three primary ways racism shows up in the workplace and provides practical strategies that employees at all levels can apply to build a better culture that supports historically underrepresented groups.

Click here to access.

Creating a Great Place to Work for All

In this audio-only course, host Zach Nunn speaks with Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work, about how he transformed the company into a Fortune 100 best place to work. Michael shares what he believes executives should consider when it comes to building better trust within organizations. He recounts his first one hundred days as CEO and how he used analytics to help make the workplace more inclusive. Michael talks about becoming a CEO as a Black man and where he sees Great Place to Work expanding to capture more marginalized voices and experiences.

Click here to access.

Now Hiring: Vice President for Equity Strategy and Partnerships

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The search for a vice president for equity strategy and partnerships is now underway. The vice president will serve as a thought leader, a trusted partner and an advisor to College President Kathleen Plinske and the Senior Team in the efforts to build a college community characterized by equity, inclusion, belonging and respect for all people. The individual in the role will connect with others in a highly accessible way to understand college culture and our students’ and employees’ experiences and will collaborate with leaders across the College to advance equity through policies, administrative and instructional practices, communications, community engagement and culture.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Experience in implementing and evaluating equity and inclusion initiatives and programs.
  • Experience creating data informed models to develop, communicate, monitor and assess strategic priorities and actions related to equity and inclusion.
  • Experience collaborating with leaders to develop equity-minded competencies, practices and culture.

Preferred qualifications include:

  • Experience creating and facilitating training in areas of equity and inclusion in a higher education setting.
  • Success with cultivating partnerships at all leadership levels to collaboratively create comprehensive equity programs, including curriculum development, organizational development and institutional change.
  • Relevant and progressive experience in organizational leadership positions.

To read a full description of the position and to apply, click here. Apply by Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

If you have questions about applying, visit the position website or contact the Talent Acquisition team at or 407-582-8033.

To sign up for job alerts, to receive notifications when jobs become available in your field, follow these directions:

  1. Navigate to
  2. Fill out the Email, First and Last Name fields
  3. Review and select the job categories of interest

Orlando Sentinel Features Kathleen Plinske in Sports Column

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Orlando Sentinel Sports Columnist Mike Bianchi interviewed our own College President Kathleen Plinske on sports. Yes — sports — and how they inspired her to rise from a first-generation college student to the first woman president in Valencia College’s history.

View the article in Valencia College’s Library Newsbank database. You will be required to enter your Atlas username and password.