You and Your Job

4: You and Your Job

As a university employee, you help to support and serve students, patients, faculty, and other staff. You therefore must be well informed about your workplace, including the policies and practices that govern your work and that of your colleagues. The following sections provide information about the university that will help you respond to questions from employees, students, faculty, and others.

4.1 New Employee Orientation and Onboarding

University Human Resources partners regularly with units across the university to present New Employee Orientation (NEO). NEO provides staff with important information regarding the GW community, payroll practices, employee benefits and perks, as well as emergency planning, health and safety tips. Regular staff hired through University Human Resources are scheduled to attend orientation.

Staff members who work with the School of Medicine and Health Sciences or the Milken Institute School of Public Health may be required to attend additional orientation sessions that cover site specific topics such as hazard communications, blood-borne pathogens, laboratory safety, emergency management and fire safety.

Staff members generally work within their assigned units to become familiar with the standard operating procedures and protocol as part of a departmental onboarding or overview. To assist new employees, a listing of Milestones and Checklists has been provided for staff to begin identifying recommended areas of focus during the first year of employment.

4.2 GWorld Identification Cards

Staff members are eligible to receive a photo ID card called the GWorld Card. It is important to carry this card while you are at work. Your card identifies you as a GW employee and may be required for you to access available services and facilities. The GWorld card is university property and must be returned upon termination of employment.

If you lose your GWorld card, you may obtain a replacement from the Gworld Card Office. There may be a replacement charge for the card. Your department may have additional instructions on identification, including procedures for access to various campus buildings. Consult your supervisor for details.

Anyone with a GWorld card can add money to their Colonial Cash account to pay for on campus dining as well as off campus dining and other retail with a number of local merchants. Colonial Cash may also be used to pay for on campus parking.

4.3 Accent on Service

As employees of the university, we continually examine our roles and explore new ways to help support the institution's learning, teaching, and patient care goals. Whether we work directly or indirectly with students, faculty, patients, parents, or alumni, our main concern is to provide the kind of support and service of which we can be proud. You are part of the university team and, through our combined efforts, we strive to create an environment that supports quality education.

To help you make a positive difference at the university, here are some guidelines to enhance your success:

  • Know your job thoroughly. Be alert to the issues that your experience tells you will arise.
  • Help your colleagues. Remember that as part of the university's team, staff members support each other in providing outstanding service.
  • When needed, make an extra effort not only to answer questions but also to offer solutions to problems.
  • Take personal responsibility for making the system work.
  • Take some time to see what you can do to make activities run more smoothly.
  • Be courteous and cooperative to show your interest and concern when interacting with people.

Keep in mind that by working together, we make the university a great place to learn, teach, and work.

4.4 Work Standards and Conduct

4.4.1 Job Performance Introductory Employment Period

Regular staff members are subject to an Introductory Employment Period. The Introductory Employment Period (IEP) is the first 180 calendar days of employment following hire, transfer, or promotion into a regular staff position (including research staff). During this period, staff performance is evaluated. The supervisor conducts an Introductory Performance Review (DOC) prior to the 180th day of employment in the new position. Read additional information regarding the Introductory Employment Period.

Employees within an Introductory Employment Period are ineligible for transfer/promotion to another regular position at the university outside of their department. GW employees within an IEP who apply to open positions will be disqualified. Transfers within the department during the IEP are allowable.

Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement should refer to that document; its provisions supersede these policies if there is a specific conflict. Performance Management

The university's performance evaluation program is designed to support continual work improvement by providing periodic appraisals of your performance. The evaluation process is intended to encourage constructive dialogue between you and your supervisor about your past work performance and to develop strategies to enhance or improve your future work performance. The evaluation process focuses on such areas of your performance as customer service, job skills and knowledge, productivity, teamwork, work habits, and overall performance, as they apply to your position. Goal setting, coaching, feedback and recognition, self-assessment, professional development and periodic supervisory check-ins over the course of a review period are key to the process.

Additional performance criteria such as communication skills, problem-solving and analytical skills, and supervisory skills are included for employees in exempt and managerial/supervisory classifications.

Performance evaluations are conducted upon completion of your introductory employment period and annually as part of a fiscal year or academic year cycle. Supervisors may provide additional performance feedback, either orally or in writing, at other times in an effort to provide appropriate information to you about your work performance or introductory status.

Your supervisor uses your annual performance evaluation as a factor in recommending your rate/salary increase, if any, through the provisions of a merit-based Salary Review Program. The completed performance evaluation form becomes part of your official employment record maintained by Human Resources. Communicating With Your Supervisor

If you have questions about your duties and responsibilities, it is important to discuss them with your supervisor. It is your responsibility to ask questions and to understand goals, policies, and procedures.

Observe what is going on around you, and give your supervisor constructive feedback about your job. Use the self-assessment section of the Performance Evaluation forms to review your progress and set goals for your own development. Use your preliminary self-evaluation as a tool to stimulate dialogue between you and your supervisor.

4.4.2 Conduct and Work Rules

While at work, staff members are expected to follow the guidance, policies and practices of the university, their department, and their particular position. A violation of policies, practices or guidance may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

4.4.3 Work Behavior

The university has among its values respect. As such, the respectful treatment of students, patients, and co-workers is essential, and sensitivity to their individual circumstances is often necessary.

Preventing difficulties is preferable to solving problems after they occur. Violent behavior on the part of staff, such as fighting or disorderly conduct, should be reported to supervisory staff immediately and is grounds for immediate termination. If you have reason to believe that your own safety or the safety of others is threatened, report the situation immediately to your supervisor or the GW Police Department.

If you are having difficulty coping with a work situation, you are encouraged to discuss it thoroughly with your supervisor. If you need additional help, you may contact the Human Resources Representative or Equal Employee Opportunity/Employee Relations at for advice.

4.4.4 Workplace Attire

Staff members are expected to present a professional image to clients, visitors, customers and the public. Acceptable personal appearance, like proper maintenance of work areas, is an ongoing requirement of employment.

Supervisors will communicate any department-specific workplace attire and grooming guidelines to staff members..Questions about the department’s guidelines for attire should be discussed with the immediate supervisor.

Any staff member who does not meet the attire or grooming standards set by his or her department may be subject to corrective action and may be asked to leave the premises to change clothing. Hourly paid staff members will not be compensated for any work time missed because of failure to comply with designated workplace attire and grooming standards.

All staff members must carry or wear the GWorld identification badge at all times while at work.

Certain staff members may be required to meet special dress, grooming and hygiene standards, such as wearing uniforms or protective clothing, depending on the nature of their job. Uniforms and protective clothing may be required for certain positions and will be provided to employees by the university.

Reasonable accommodation of religious beliefs.

GW recognizes the importance of individually held religious beliefs to persons within its workforce and will reasonably accommodate a staff member’s religious beliefs in terms of workplace attire unless the accommodation creates an undue hardship. Those requesting a workplace attire accommodation based on religious beliefs should contact Equal Employment Opportunity/Employee Relations at

4.4.5 Hours of Work Workweek and Meal Periods

The university generally maintains a standard 40-hour workweek.

The workweek begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. Hours of work are set by individual departments to address their particular operational and service needs. Hours worked in the workweek include time required to be on duty, on the premises, or at any other required place of work. Supervisors are responsible for establishing arrival and departure times and a meal period within the daily schedule.

A bonafide meal period is an authorized period of time during the workday when you are completely free from duties. The university provides for bona fide meal periods of from 30 to 60 minutes, based on individual departmental needs.
Time provided for bona fide meal periods is not paid time.

For regular part-time employees, a meal period may not be appropriate, depending on the arrival and departure times as well as the number of hours scheduled on a particular day.

4.4.6 Absenteeism and Tardiness

Frequent tardiness and absences may have a detrimental impact on the workflow in a unit. These issues may also lead to corrective or disciplinary action. Each department has specific guidelines and procedures governing hours of work and requests for time off. Please consult your supervisor for the appropriate guidelines.

4.4.7 Corrective Action

If your work performance is unsatisfactory or if your conduct on the job becomes a problem, your supervisor may counsel you and work with you to help resolve the issues. You may initiate this counseling as well. Your supervisor may also use a corrective action process. This process may involve, but is not limited to, oral or written warnings, probation, mediation, disciplinary suspension, and/or termination.These forms do not need to be applied as progressive or escalating steps. In determining what performance counseling or corrective action is appropriate, the seriousness of the infraction or action, the employee’s past record, and the circumstances surrounding the matter will be taken into consideration. In addition, the university is an at-will employer, and this guidance does not preclude the university from ending the employment relationship without notice at any time. Decisions about whether discipline is necessary and what type of discipline is to be imposed are at the sole discretion of the university.

Verbal warnings are oral notice to an employee that he or she is not meeting expectations or that his or her conduct is inappropriate in the workplace. Verbal warning clarifies the standards of acceptable performance or conduct, and may identify the potential consequences if the problem is not corrected.

Written warnings identify the nature of the performance or conduct concern, what needs to change or improve, and the potential consequences if the problem is not corrected.

A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) outlines specific areas of improvement that must be made within a specified time period, and includes various checkpoints for assessment.

A suspension temporarily removes the employee from the workplace and may be imposed as a corrective measure or during an investigation when there is a reasonable concern that the employee’s continued presence in the workplace during the investigation may be inappropriate. A suspension may be imposed with or without pay. Suspension without pay will generally not exceed 60 calendar days. Suspensions with pay will generally not exceed 15 calendar days.

The university may terminate an employee at any time if it believes circumstances warrant such action.

4.4.8 Use of University Equipment and Supplies

University property is intended for university business only and is generally not for your personal use. Use of university funds to purchase personal or other items not related to university business is prohibited.

4.5 Safety and Security in the Work Place

The GW Police Department (GWPD) is located at 801 22nd Street, N.W., in the Academic Center. GWPD covers the campus by foot, bicycle, and vehicle patrol and also staffs several fixed posts in administrative areas and residence halls across the campus. The officers of GWPD are supported by Community Service Aides, who are students, trained by GWPD to monitor access to the residence halls and to maintain a security presence in select areas. GWPD provides around-the-clock patrols and other services to the university community. It also enforces federal and local statutes as well as GW regulations.

To report a crime or public safety emergency, call GWPD at 202-994-6111. Officers are on duty and dispatchers respond to emergency calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

For non-emergency issues, including university lost and found, call GWPD at (202) 994-6110.

A complete listing of GWPD programs and services can be found on their website.

4.5.1 Security Precautions

In general, the university is a safe area in which to live and work. Because of the open nature of the campus, however, there are precautions that you should follow for your own well-being:

  • Avoid walking alone at night.
  • Walk where there is plenty of light and traffic.
  • Avoid shortcuts through unoccupied buildings and unlighted areas.
  • Use the public sidewalks.
  • Be alert.
  • Lock your office when you leave it unattended.
  • During non-business hours, keep your office door closed and locked.
  • Notify GWPD if you plan to be in your office outside of working hours, and then let them know when you leave.
  • Never leave your wallet, purse, or other valuables unattended.
  • Report thefts to the appropriate security office immediately.
  • Lock up keys that you leave behind in your work area.
  • Remove building identification tags from key rings.
  • Report suspicious persons immediately to GWPD.

4.5.2 Security Escort Services

4Ride provides GW community members with the option of a safe ride to and from locations on and around the Foggy Bottom Campus. The service operates during the late night hours to provide safe transport between buildings across the GW Foggy Bottom Campus. Arrange for transportation contact 4Ride at 202-994-RIDE (7433) between 8 pm and 4am.To obtain an escort, call 202-994-RIDE, and give your name, current location, and destination to the GWPD dispatcher. Have your GW ID card ready to show to the van driver or patrol officer. For additional information about this service, call 202-994-RIDE. During all other hours, escorts are provided by GWPD officers.

4.5.3 Safety Measures

Safe working conditions are important. Any unsafe conditions, should be report reported to your supervisor. Examples of unsafe conditions include, but are not limited to, slippery floors, hazardous equipment, defective or broken equipment, careless handling of combustibles, and cluttered hallways, stairs, exits, and entrances. The Office of Risk Management and Insurance is available to provide additional information and training for staff on a variety of topics including, but not limited to accident reporting, worker’s compensation, international travel, and auto rental guidelines.

Dependent upon their assigned units, staff may be required to received specific mandatory training related to that area (infection control, laboratory safety, blood borne pathogens, fire safety, etc.) and as required by local and/or federal regulations.

4.5.4 Fire Safety and Prevention

The university has Fire Emergency Action Plan standard procedures that must be observed in case of fire. Every building has an evacuation plan. Staff members should become familiar with the plan for their work area. Supervisors and/or Floor Wardens should be able to address questions regarding building evacuation.

The Office of Emergency Management, Health and Safety can also assist in providing information on fire hazards and proper handling and storage, potential ignition sources for fires and their control procedures, fire protection equipment or systems and to identify persons responsible for maintenance of fire prevention equipment.

For campus employees, the Office of Risk Management and Insurance can arrange for classes on fire prevention or the use of fire equipment. Medical Center employees participate in fire safety training once a year.


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