We are a culturally and demographically diverse set of communication and marketing professionals and practitioners. With a staff complement of 46, the Communication and Marketing Department (CMD) is one of the smaller professional administrative support services (PASS) staff departments at the university. But as the saying goes, “Dynamite comes in small packages” – this couldn’t be truer of this bustling and professional unit.
The department works very closely with colleagues across the entire campus.
As at 31 December 2020, we had 41 permanent and contract staff, with five vacancies yet to be filled. Eighty percent of staff at CMD are permanent staff members, with the balance being on short- (one year) to medium-term (three year) contracts.
The HR function at CMD is supported by one UCT HR business practitioner and one UCT HR recruitment advisor. This means that a significant amount of HR work still resides within the department and this is supported by the executive director’s (ED) executive assistant, the Executive Support Unit, line and unit managers. HR-related work includes responsibilities such as staff development and support, health and safety of staff, mental wellness, annual Development Dialogues, selection and recruitment processes, supporting and signing off on training requests, leave and overtime analysis, among other things.
When the COVID-19 lockdown hit, almost all selection and recruitment processes were put on hold due to operational priorities; these processes resumed towards the second semester of 2020. In 2020, two roles were regraded; some roles were assessed and work streamlined, meaning combining functions in one unit; and there were some reporting line changes – all with the aim of making the department more efficient and effectively aligning skills, services and competencies within units.
Post the 2019/2020 (May 2019–June 2020) Development Dialogue process, 12 individuals were awarded either an Exceed or Discretionary award within the department. This is one award more than in the previous DD cycle. These awards are made to staff who have consistently shown an extraordinary commitment to their work and CMD, as well as to UCT’s values; and who have attained their objectives, and/or contributed something new or innovative in the way the department delivers its outputs. We are extremely proud of these colleagues, and once more thank them for their service to the department and university.
In 2020 we spent 30% of our training and development budget, mostly due to the lockdown and going forward, we would like to increase this.
Many CMD colleagues are actively working to develop themselves. It is pleasing that 11 staff are engaged in tertiary courses and have qualified or are completing degrees.
Notably, in 2020 we celebrated 21 years of service to CMD by three key members of the team: our ED, Gerda Kruger; senior writer, Helen Swingler; and executive assistant to the ED, Charmaine Dublin. It is indeed indicative of a wealth of experience.
As the CMD executive we are grateful to all our colleagues for the resoluteness they demonstrated during one of our toughest years yet. The commitment of staff in CMD to the department and the institution is admirable and there for all to see. Many colleagues had to battle mental exhaustion and fight to maintain physical, emotional and mental strength, but we believe we came out stronger, wiser and better for it – for this and all our wonderful outputs and outcomes achieved in 2020 – we honour, cheer on and humbly thank our colleagues.