Office of Human Resources                                                              August 2012 



 Your Source for University Human Resources News and Information

New FASIS Portal Coming to Self Service

The new FASIS Portal arriving soon provides 'one stop' for users to see and update personal information. This combining of employee Self Service pages -- which contain employment information such as pay level, job data, salary, and benefits -- will be easier to access and will require less navigation. Many other tasks, including enrolling in training courses, updating addresses, and modifying emergency contacts, will be easier to initiate and complete.  


This Self Service functionality, with its sharp new look, will be available Aug. 24. During Q4 2012, Self Service features will be expanded, enabling users to manage FASIS Administration pages. More information on these features will be shared as the go-live date approaches.

Inside This Issue
Upcoming Events
Learning and Organization Development
FASIS Updates
Work/Life Resources
Wellness Meetings
Quick Links


Campus-wide information sessions are underway regarding the Absence Management Program that starts Sept. 1. Fifteen sessions, all hosted by the Benefits Division, have been held so far, providing valuable discussions about the program's highlights and learning staff's interest about particular aspects of the program.    


Everyone on staff at the University is encouraged to attend one of these sessions, and staff at each school or department should have received information about these sessions from a school administrator. Staff unable to attend an information session and who wish to attend a session in a nearby school or department, should contact Valerie Braun for a listing of these. In addition, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) have been emailed to staff and you can also find them on the HR website.      

Upcoming Events

Elder Care Support Group
12 noon, Aug. 28, Alumni Room, Norris Center

The Elder Care support group shares best practices from the many caregivers who attend this monthly meeting.  Please contact Phyllis Ellis at 7-1460 if you have any questions about this group.  

Learning & Organization Development

The Northwestern University Learning & Organization Development (L&OD) team collaborates with faculty and staff who want to develop their talent and advance their workplace outcomes, processes and engagement. L&OD provides consulting, coaching, workshops, retreats and tools for individuals, groups and organizations.


New Tips and Tools Available for Outlook, Project, and More

Because so much of daily work revolves around a computer, it's always helpful when a new tip or shortcut comes along to provide extra productivity. People who are new to Outlook and seasoned users alike will benefit and pick up a new trick when viewing one of the online tutorials available to University staff and faculty at no cost.


These self-paced video tutorials about Microsoft Outlook, Project, SharePoint and OneNote pack hours of instruction into a conveniently organized and manageable table of contents. For example, view a specific five-minute video on how to flag and categorize messages, or watch the entire MS Outlook 2010 Essentials training module. There are many choices.


Here's how to learn at your own pace without leaving your desk:  


  1. Go to the web page

  2. Select the course you'd like to view

  3. Enter your NetID and NetID password and get started


L&OD offers a variety of workshops and opportunities to help improve workplace performance. Learn more about these. 

Questions? Comments? Contact the L&OD team at or 847-467-5081.


FASIS Updates   

Exempt Staff Time Off Entry Deadlines for Fiscal Year 2012:

Employee Entry by Sept. 6

Manager Approval by Sept. 12

To complete the current fiscal year, exempt staff and librarians must enter all fiscal year 2012 time off into Kronos no later than Thursday, Sept. 6. Exempt staff will report their fiscal year 2012 absences -- this includes any sick, vacation, personal floating holiday(s), and bereavement time taken between Sept. 1, 2011, and Aug. 31, 2012 -- in the normal manner by Sept. 6. Managers of exempt staff must approve the time off for their direct reports by Wednesday, Sept. 12.


For detailed instructions on accessing and using Kronos, see the PDF instruction manual or review the Time Entry webpage.


For further assistance, contact the Kronos Help Desk at extension 7-7606 or Employees may attend a brief demonstration or stop by an Open Lab for one-on-one assistance.


Kronos Timekeeping will be Monthly Beginning Fiscal Year 2013

Beginning September 2012, exempt employees will be required to enter time off into Kronos each month, and managers must approve that time, on a monthly basis. Time off for each month must be completed by the sixth day of the following month, and must receive manager approval by the fifteenth day. For example, all time away from work for September 2012 must be entered by the employees by Oct. 6, and their managers must approve the time record by Oct. 15. More information regarding the specifics of monthly approvals and balance rollovers will be sent under separate cover to all exempt employees in late August.

Additional Pay and Non-Exempt Employees 

Each staff member at Northwestern is classified as Exempt or Non-Exempt in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and based on the type of work performed by the staff member. (The Act is  federal law and governs overtime pay, minimum wage, child labor laws and record keeping.)  


Exempt employees are paid a salary which does not change each pay period, regardless of the quantity of work. Non-exempt employees are paid on an hourly basis for hours worked each workweek. Unlike exempt staff, non-exempt staff members must be paid the overtime rate (1.5 times the regular rate) for all hours worked in a workweek in excess of 40 hours. 


There may be an occasion when a non-exempt staff member works on a special project that requires additional payment. Here are rules to remember and follow when handling additional pay for non-exempt staff.  They:   

  • may not be paid in lump sum amounts for additional pay/work.  The staff member must be paid an hourly rate for all hours worked. 
  • must record all hours worked in the workweek, whether those hours are for their primary job or special projects.  
  • must be paid overtime for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek (regardless of whether or not a different job or a special project is being performed).  

Salary Planning Update 

The annual salary planning period is concluding and each school or department should have finalized its salary plan submissions that identify proposed merit increases for eligible employees. These increases are effective at the start of the new fiscal year, Sept 1.    


Human Resources is completing the final audits and preparing to upload all approved increases into the Payroll system by mid-August. Once the approved increases are uploaded, each employee should receive written notification of his or her new salary or pay rate. Questions about merit increases should be directed to managers.   


The Best Preparation for a Job Interview Means Using the STAR Approach

Preparing properly for a job search means knowing how to interview effectively. Interviewing is the primary tool that organizations use to assess candidates, and is a great way to determine a mutually good fit. It's likely that one component of a meeting with a future employer will be a 'behavior-based interview' which relies on a candidate's past experience as a predictor of how he or she would perform in the role.


These interview questions prompt the candidate to recount those occasions when he or she demonstrated the skills and competencies required for a position. These questions often begin with "Can you tell me about a time when..." or "Can you describe a situation where...."


Use this STAR approach for answers, which should be kept to about two minutes in length:


Situation - describe the situation

Tasks - what was the task or goal? 

Actions - what actions resolved the issue?

Results - what happened and what were the positive outcomes?


An example of a behavior question: "Tell me about a time you received developmental feedback and how you handled it."  Here is a possible answer using the STAR approach:

  • My position at a research center required publishing and distributing the company's weekly newsletter to clients and donors (the Situation).
  • I had a staff of three and we met frequently to discuss our progress and review newsletter material (the Task).
  • My manager gave me feedback, saying she felt I could improve my delegation skills. I thanked her for the feedback and let her know I would reflect on how I could improve. I took action with two steps: I began every meeting with a look at the 'big picture' and I closed by sharing action items and deadlines with my team members, but left it up to them to determine how they would accomplish their tasks (the Action).
  • My team was enthusiastic about these changes, and enjoyed creating their own approach to their responsibilities. They also had a greater realization we were working on something of lasting importance -- and it showed in their work. At my performance review, my manager praised the positive changes I made (the Result).

For more information, including a list of sample questions, see the Northwestern Candidate Interview Guide and the Northwestern Job Search Resource Guide.    


New Hires Can Receive NetIDs and Email 90 Days Before Start Date

When hiring new faculty and staff for the upcoming academic year, please keep in mind that new hires may receive their NetID and password up to 90 days before their official start date. This allows a future faculty or staff member to gain access to necessary University systems, such as Blackboard and email, prior to arriving on campus.

Administrators need not take extra steps for this to take place. Simply submit a completed Position/Appointment Form and Personal Data Form, with the hire date listed, to  the Payroll Office. If it is within 90 days of the start date, a NetID will be assigned automatically upon entry into the FASIS system. As with all new hires, the employee's NetID will be sent immediately to the designated NetID Coordinator at the hiring department who is responsible for communicating with the new hire. Questions about the process? Find answers here.             

Work/Life Resources 

Back to School Tips for Working Parents  

The right back to school transitions can get a new school year off to an even better start and help children perform well. Re-establish bedtime routines at least one week before school starts, to prepare your child and avoid becoming over-tired or overwhelmed by school work and activities. Allow plenty of extra time the first few days. Make sure your child has adequate time to get up, eat breakfast, and get to school. Other tips:

  • Schedule Doctors Appointments Well Before School Starts. It helps to have all physician paperwork completed and submitted on time. Also, any concerns about your child's development may be better identified and begin to be addressed before school starts.
  • It's smart to prioritize and plan ahead for school activities. Sit down with your child and your own calendar in August when the school schedule arrives and plan the year. Together you'll be able to decide which special events at school you would like to attend and take some time off work in order to be there (Find a short piece on this topic below).

Plant the Seeds that can Lead to Success   

  • Build a partnership and meet with your child's teachers at the start of school, and explain that you want to be involved in your child's education, and offer your availability. Ask for suggestions and tasks for home that will boost your child's learning ability, and ask the teacher for the best ways and times to be in touch.
  • Visiting school with your child, meeting the teacher, locating the classroom, locker, and lunchroom will help prevent or ease pre-school anxieties and allow your child to ask questions about the new environment.

Remember that Northwestern offers resources to help you with locating childcare. Action for Children can assist with learning about child care options and referrals to providers. Sittercity's on-line tools can help connect you with sitters in your area. For additional information about these and other child care benefits, contact the Office of Work/Life Resources at 847-491-3612 or 


For more tips, visit: 

Finding the Best Time to Attend School Conferences

As children head back to school, it is worthwhile for benefit-eligible staff, when requesting time off to attend a school conference, to be familiar with and follow the University's guidelines for these visits. These are some highlights of the guidelines, which are based on the Illinois School Visitation Act:


Accrued vacation or personal floating holiday time can be used to attend a school conference. When requesting time off and recording the time away, please follow department and University rules and guidelines. Staff may take up to eight hours during any school year.  No more than four hours may be taken on any one day.


A non-exempt employee who does not have vacation or personal floating holiday time to cover the school conference may take the time for the conference as unpaid time.  Alternatively, the employee can let her or his manager know the preference to make up the time on another day, and the manager may agree to that option, but employee needs to know it is necessary to make up the time within the same work week.             


Managers may ask for verification of the school conference.  If so, the school administrator should provide a note verifying the date and time of the conference, along with the name of the child's school.   


Questions? Please contact your HR Consultant.

Wellness Meetings

Weight Watchers

12 noon, every Thursday, Lower Level, Chambers Hall

New members can sign up through a Universal Employee Portal (company ID: 8908, company passcode: WW8908). Monthly Pass holders are always welcome.

For more information about Evanston campus meetings, contact Tamara Rosner at 1-2209.

12:30 p.m., every Monday, suite 1400, 680 N. Lake Shore Drive, (Department of Preventive Medicine Building)

For more information about Chicago campus meetings, contact Veronica Jackson at 8-8655.