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Administration > Business Office > Personnel/Payroll > Staff Employees

Supervisor's Basic Responsibilities

As a new supervisor, some of the topics you will want to familiarize yourself with may include:

  • The current job descriptions of employees who report to you

  • Employees’ payroll titles, job classifications and personnel policies or bargaining unit agreements which govern the terms and conditions of employment for those employees

  • Previous documentation about job performance of each employee supervised

  • Your job performance expectations of each employee

  • How to communicate expectations and manage employee performance

  • What employees expect from you as their supervisor

Copies of job descriptions and past performance appraisals may be requested from your Personnel/Payroll Representative in the Physical and Biological Sciences Business Office. This is also your first point of contact for information and/or advice regarding personnel and payroll issues and actions.

Federal and state employment laws, UC-wide personnel policies and collective bargaining agreements, UCSC campus policies and guidelines, and campus/unit practices guide the actions you may take regarding staff whom you supervise. Taking actions, which do not comply with these laws, policies and guidelines may result in difficult and strained relationships with employees, complaints to unit managers, formal grievances and even lawsuits. All of these consequences consume significant amounts of time, energy and, potentially, funding. Therefore, it is critical that you work closely with the Personnel/Payroll unit for guidance and support.

Formal supervisory development workshops are available to help orient you to the parameters of these challenges. Contact workshop@cats.ucsc.edu for information and workshop dates.

Basic Responsibilities of UCSC Supervisors

Hire: Determine the duties to be performed and select the best-qualified candidate. This includes taking the Fair Hiring workshop, forming a Selection Committee, writing the job description, working with the Business Office to conduct the recruitment, screening applications, interviewing candidates, checking references and documenting the selection. (See Recruitments)

Orient and Train: Provide appropriate orientation for the employee addressing such topics as are listed on the new employee orientation checklist at the end of this document. Give employees the information, technology and reference materials necessary to perform their jobs. Training is an ongoing activity, crucial for new staff as well as for long-term staff who take on new responsibilities or who experience changes in the way their existing duties need to be performed. Those who take on new responsibilities or experience job changes typically need additional direction and guidance for a period of time until the new work becomes more familiar. The Division has prepared an orientation checklist (Word or PDF) of topics to consider when orienting new employees.

Assign work: Assign certain duties to the employee, explaining how those duties are to be done (i.e. what level of performance will meet the supervisor’s expectations) and communicate how the successful performance of those duties will be measured. Ensure that the employee is working under a current job description and in a classification appropriate to the duties. Update job description, and submit it to the Business Office, as needed.

Evaluate Performance: Be sure your employee is familiar with the format of the appraisal form you will be using and is clear about the evaluation process. Proper attention to performance evaluation during the probationary period and carefully considered decisions as to whether the employee should pass probation can be critical. The initial probationary period is your opportunity to judge the suitability of an employee for a specific position. If you have any concerns about an employee’s performance during probation, contact the Administrative Personnel/Payroll Staff in the Business Office for assistance. Under certain circumstances a probationary period may need to be extended, or the employee released during his/her probation. After probation is complete, continue to have regular, ongoing discussions during which you can provide feedback throughout the year; complete a specific written appraisal at least once annually. Contact the Business Office for sample appraisal forms and refer to Performance Evaluation information.

Reward Performance: Recommend performance awards and/or merit increases when appropriate. As merit increases and award programs are implemented, supervisors will receive information for their eligible employees.

Approving Time Records and Requests for Time off: Sign monthly time and attendance records and approve requests for time off. Your signature on a time record means you concur with the hours worked as recorded by the employee, including any overtime worked or time taken off. University policy requires that overtime be approved in advance and confirmed in writing. Physical and Biological Sciences’ policy is to complete a Request for Overtime/Additional Time form, which is signed by the employee and the supervisor and then submitted to the Business Office for the next level of approval prior to the overtime being assigned/worked. Supervisors are responsible for approving requests for a leave of absence or to use compensatory time off or vacation time; and for ensuring their employees’ appropriate use of sick leave. Review the personnel policies or bargaining agreements for your staff and consult your Personnel/Payroll Representative in the Business Office for guidance. Complete policies or bargained agreements and request forms are available:
Current Personnel Policy for Staff Members for non-represented employees
Current Bargaining Agreements for represented employees
Request for Overtime/Additional Time for CX employees (PDF or Word)
Request for Overtime/Additional Time for non-CX employees (PDF or Word)

Resolve Complaints: Help employees address and resolve a wide variety of concerns and complaints. These typically involve job duties and job descriptions, performance standards, relations with coworkers, relations with supervisors and managers. UCSC provides a variety of resources to employees and supervisors to assist them in resolving complaints: you, as the supervisor; the unit manager; Physical and Biological Sciences Personnel/Payroll Staff; Staff Human Resources; Benefits; Labor Relations; Affirmative Action; Sexual Harassment Compliance Office; Ombudsman; etc. Supervisors are responsible for being familiar with the options available and making referrals to employees.

Discipline and Dismiss Employees: Address performance problems through corrective action and dismissal. Shari Hastings or Pat Gross in the Business Office provide extensive support and guidance to managers and supervisors in any disciplinary or dismissal action. Supervisors are responsible for documenting performance at least annually and keeping written records of performance problems. Campus policy normally requires "progressive" steps in the disciplinary process, except in exceptional circumstances such as theft, violence, etc. Contact Personnel/Payroll Staff for assistance early on if you suspect there may be a performance problem.

Training: all supervisors should familiarize their employees on policy for Title IX, Americans with Disabilities Act, Worker's Compensation, etc. See Orientation of New Employees.

Additional Responsibilities: Additional responsibilities of supervisors include such activities as developing your staff, mentoring, and providing career coaching; motivating your staff, individually and as a group; understanding and supporting diversity; and establishing an effective team.

Other challenges might involve supervising students, volunteers, or staff who work different hours than you; supervising employees who work in different locations; and supervising employees who telecommute. Please contact Personnel/Payroll staff if you need assistance with these or any other personnel issues.

General skills to build for effective supervision:

  • Setting goals and objectives
  • Delegating
  • Providing assistance and support
  • Providing a climate for motivation
  • Creating a supportive working relationship
  • Emphasizing continuing development
  • Providing opportunities for future growth and advancement


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