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The Daily Tar Heel

Employee Forum talks technology

Members of the Employee Forum learned about ways technology adds conflict to the workplace at their first meeting of the school year.

But they also explored technologies that will make their jobs easier.

During the first meeting Wednesday, Ombudsperson Wayne Blair presented trends his office has come across. Many issues centered around using technology to solve interpersonal problems.

“Alright, we love technology. Technology is really efficient, but you cannot manage conflict via email, or text messages or Twitter,” he said.

“You cannot tell the world how you feel about your colleagues and your supervisor and put it on Facebook.”

The line was met with laughter and applause from forum members.

Other trends he noted reflected the toll of budget cuts.

Blair said people are stressed and exhausted, both physically and emotionally, because there are fewer people to do more work.

Blair also mentioned cases of bullying, especially toward supervisors who feel that their subordinates gang up on them.

Salary equity is another problem because many University workers look up their colleagues’ salaries, which are public record, and find out their colleagues are being paid more, he said.

Charles Streeter, a member of the forum, presented three ways technology is moving the Employee Forum forward.

Streeter hopes to have an online voting system in place for its next election, Streeter said, and has decided on using Qualtrics, an online survey system.

He said the idea came from an employee who had concerns with the confidentiality of the current ballots, which are delivered through campus mail.

Members are moving the website to WordPress, which offers new features such as photo galleries, he added.

Streeter also presented SharePoint, a software for storing and sharing documents, which would help members collaborate.

“Everything is free, but it’s also supported by other people in the University,” Streeter said, adding that when members phase out, others at UNC will be able to maintain the new technology.

Brenda Malone, vice chancellor for human resources, also spoke, and gave an update on the University-wide transition to PeopleSoft software, which will replace the current finance and HR and payroll systems.

The software was to be implemented in two separate segments in 2013, but will now be implemented all at once in January of 2014, she said.

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