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Human Resources Exit Interviews Will Be Web-Based Beginning January 6

An exit interview is an invaluable source of information that the university can use to assess the quality of work life and identify opportunities for improving employee retention and engagement.

The Knoxville Human Resources team is revamping the exit interview process to better collect and analyze this vital information. Beginning January 6, Human Resources will begin using an automated, web-based exit interview process. Employees who are leaving the university will be sent a link to an exit interview questionnaire. The questionnaire will take less than 10 minutes to complete and all responses will be kept confidential. The survey will be accessible from a desktop or laptop computer, a tablet, or a mobile phone.

The new electronic process will help Human Resources and campus administrators better understand the causes of attrition so they can assist with developing and retaining high-performing employees. If you have questions about exit interviews or other employee retention strategies, contact Nate Taylor in Employee Relations at 865-974-6686.

New Employee Orientation

HRConnection v0.1In November 2016, Human Resources will be introducing a newly modeled New Employee Orientation (NEO) program. We are very excited to be able to provide a more welcoming experience on our employees’ first day. Major changes to the NEO include:

  • Changing the venue from the UT Conference Center to the UT Visitor’s Center on Neyland Drive (beginning November 14)
  • Adding a greeting and welcome from senior leadership.
  • Providing new employees with a UT ID card before the end of the session.
  • Asking employees to complete the necessary documents needed by Payroll and HR ahead of time, with the exception of the I-9.
  • Providing new employees with information about the university and its traditions.
  • Creating a less transactional, more dynamic orientation experience.
  • Including an optional campus tour.

The information to be shared with the new employees on their first day will include a video and slide show highlighting the traditions and beauty of the campus. The NEO will include short presentations by the UT Police Department, the Office of Equity and Diversity, Employee Organization and Development, Payroll (about insurance), and Benefit and Retirement Services. Both Payroll and Benefit and Retirement Services will have representatives available to address specific individual questions about insurance and/or retirement.

Because most paperwork will have been completed ahead of time and the formal presentations will be abbreviated, orientation sessions will end by 11 a.m., or 11:30 a.m. with the campus tour.

HR anticipates that this new model of NEO will provide UT’s new faculty and staff with an exciting and interactive first step in their UT careers.

FLSA Workshops Announced for UT Employees and Supervisors

To prepare for the upcoming deadline to implement changes to the US Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations, UT Human Resources is offering workshops for impacted employees and their supervisors.

UT Human Resources has been working closely with departments and units across campus to implement changes required by federal law. The law requires that employees who earn less than $47,476 be converted to nonexempt status on December 1.

UT Human Resources staff will conduct these workshops throughout the month of November. Several colleges and departments where there are large numbers of employees impacted by these updated regulations have requested workshops for their specific unit.

Departmental Sessions

Arts & Sciences: Tuesday, November 8, 2:30­–4:30 pm, 308H Ayres Hall; Wednesday, November 9, 2–4 pm, 308H Ayres Hall; Thursday, November 10, 9–11 am, 308H Ayres Hall

Education, Health & Human Sciences: Wednesday, November 9, 9­–11 am, 412 Claxton Education Building

Engineering: Tuesday, November 8, 9–11 am, John D. Tickle Building, Room 500

Enrollment Services: Tuesday, November 1, 9­–11 am, Scripps Lab Theatre; Wednesday, November 2, 2:30–4:30 pm, Scripps Convergence Lab

Finance & Administration: Thursday, November 10, 2–4 pm, Facilities Services Complex Room 101

Social Work Office of Research and Public Service: Friday, November 18, 10 am–noon, Conference Center Room 323

Student Life: Tuesday, November 1, 2–4 pm, Student Health Building, Room 206A & B; Wednesday, November 2, 9–11 am, Student Health Building, Room 206A

Open Sessions

General sessions are planned for impacted employees and supervisors who do not work in the departments listed above or are unable to attend their department session:

Wednesday, November 16, 9–11 am, Brown Hall Rooms B & C

Thursday, November 17, 2–4 pm, Brown Hall Rooms A, B & C

Sign-up is available for these sessions through Employee and Organizational Development.

Contact your supervisor or departmental HR contact for more information about these workshops. If you have questions, please contact Human Resources at 946-8847.

For an overview about the FLSA changes and commonly asked questions, visit

Do You Have a Temporary Staffing Need?

HRConnection v0.1If so, please consider the Temporary Help Pool, managed by UT Knoxville Human Resources. This is a fantastic resource in the case of a short-term or seasonal staffing need due to retirement, illness, or other circumstance. HR identifies candidates, handles background checks, and helps to match a candidate with each department’s specific needs.

To thank our regular employees who refer successful Temporary Help Pool candidates, we have developed a new rewards program. Any regular employee who refers a successful Temporary Help Pool employee will be entered into a quarterly drawing for a $50 VolShop gift card.

If you have any questions about the temporary help pool or wish to make a referral, contact Natalie Johnson at or 865-974-1912.

Reference Checks

WebOne of the most critical steps in the hiring process is checking references. It is standard practice to request that a candidate provide a number of references that can speak to his or her performance and background. Typically, those references are current or former supervisors, co-workers, or clients. The primary purpose of the reference is to provide the hiring manager with information about the candidate’s job duties and responsibilities, attendance pattern, level of performance, verbal and written communication skills, and potential to succeed in the position for which he or she is a candidate.

References are generally contacted following an interview, but there are circumstances in which they might be called sooner. Regardless of the timing of the reference check, collecting the same information on each applicant ensures that the decision-maker will be comparing the same data points for each candidate. The questionnaire also provides the manager with a set of answers that are directly related to the specifics of the job, which, when included with the information gathered in the interview, will provide a more accurate picture of the candidate’s skills and abilities and may assist in the hiring decision.

It may also be helpful to contact others not listed as references but who can provide additional feedback about the candidate and his or her ability to perform the activities of the job in question.

One final thought regarding reference checks: Check with your HR recruiter for possible reference questions or to ensure that the questions you are considering are appropriate. Should you have any questions about background checks or recruitment, call Human Resources at 865-974-6642. We are here to help you!

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