HR project

Job Description Review Project

The Faculty is about to undergo several major changes, namely:

  • Adoption of a new Student Information System (SIS)
  • Restructuring of the Office of the Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Change in the duration of the undergraduate program

Given these changes, the Faculty of Education wants to ensure that its staff members are fully equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities that will arise during this transition period, and that a high-quality work, research and learning environment is born.

To do so, the Faculty is conducting, in partnership with its staff members, a review of its work processes and related roles and responsibilities.

 The key expected outcomes are:

  • simpler processes
  • clearer roles and responsibilities for each position to help implement these changes
  • maintenance of the quality of the services offered
Vision
  • Faculty of Education employees excel in their fields, feel appreciated and engaged, are employed in positions that make full use of their talents, and actively contribute to continuous quality improvement. They work with procedures, tools and mandates that are effective, innovative and clear.
  • An excellent employee experience generates an excellent student experience. Hence, the entire Faculty contributes to the University's vision (Destination 2020) of making the University of Ottawa one of the great universities of our time, one whose reputation matches its achievements.
Reasons for the project

Changes: Several changes, both known and not-yet-known, require us to adapt some of our processes, roles and responsibilities. The Faculty wishes to minimize the negative effects of these changes on its staff members and on the quality of services offered to students.

Job descriptions: Most of our job descriptions date back more than five years and follow an obsolete format. Over the past few years, the roles and responsibilities of our staff members have shifted, which is not reflected in the current job descriptions.

Optimization: Some of our work methods and procedures require updating.

Retirements: In the coming years, an increasing number of our employees will be retiring and the Faculty wishes to proactively preserve and transfer the expertise and corporate memory of these future retirees.

Desired outcomes

From now until the end of the project

  • key procedures will be simplified and standardized
  • roles and responsibilities of each position will be clarified
  • job descriptions and the organizational chart (if necessary) will be updated
  • procedures will be put in place to transfer expertise and preserve corporate memory
  • a shift towards a culture of continuous improvement will be initiated
Roles and responsibilities

Stakeholders

Key roles

Céline Morin

— Chief Administrative Officer

Marie-Claude Haché

— Human Resources Generalist

  • Guide the project
  • Keep project on track
  • Liaise with the Dean
  • Ensure that the various project stages follow the  decision process set by the Faculty’s senior management
  • Minimize obstacles, as much as possible
  • Accompany teams at each stage
  • Provide support as needed
  • Manage the communication process

Program directors and managers

  • Operate as partners, not as enforcers
  • Play a key role in the project, champion the project
  • Provide expert advice on the procedures managed by their team and the roles of various positions within the team
  • Rely on their vision to anticipate the impact of the various changes (both imposed changes, such as SIS and FGPS, and desired changes, such as optimisation) on their positions and procedures

Administrative staff members

  • Cooperate with others
  • Provide expert advice on their work processes and on the needs of their clients
  • Actively participate in the various stages
  • Identify ways to improve their sector and the other sectors
  • Suggest ideas, innovate, dare to do things differently
  • Discuss their concerns and their need for support with the right people

(Central) Multidisciplinary Human Resources Committee, comprising representatives from:

  • Labour Relations
  • Health, Wellness and Leave
  • Leadership, Learning and Organizational Development (LLOD) and
  • Talent Management
  • Help the Faculty in running the project
  • Provide advice, support and tools
Benefits for each team

Although this project will be challenging, it will also be an extraordinary opportunity for all administrative staff members

  • This is an opportunity to voice your opinions and help identify solutions to the issues that concern you, to question current practices and to develop new ones.
  • This is an opportunity to identify repetitive work that could quickly be automated (major automation projects will be addressed later, and not as part of this project) and increase the value-added of each task you perform.
  • This is an opportunity break down barriers and uncertainties to create an optimal work environment for everyone.
  • This is an opportunity to use your extensive knowledge of student needs or client requirements to design solutions to the challenges that you and your team encounter every day and to participate in decisions on how best to serve them.
  • This is an opportunity to conduct project management and implement a continuous quality improvement process in order to apply these concepts on a daily basis.
Project phases

Each of the Faculty’s teams is unique in its mission, structure, tools, strengths and challenges. Consequently, the project has been divided into 6 phases, one phase per team. Each phase is further broken down into 4 stages: diagnosis, planning, execution and evaluation.

Although each team will run the project in a similar way, the content they will deal with, the solutions they will find and the changes they will make will be tailored to the needs and situation of the team itself.

* The order of phases 2 to 6 is not final and may be subject to changes.

The six phases

 Décanat, Études supérieures, Services administratifs, Études de premier cycle, Marketing et comm., Services info. et Centre de ressources

The four stages

Les 4 phases

Diagnosis

This phase is the longest. It includes all activities that aim to provide a clear picture of the work actually performed by each incumbent in each position, as well as the issues that are common to all team members and to the various sectors. Here are the main diagnostic activities:

  • Collect data on the current situation from employees at all levels (the tool used to do so varies, depending on the situation):
    • Group interviews
    • Individual interviews
    • Questionnaires
    • Interpret and analyse the gathered data to determine if current communications, organizational structure and business models meet the client’s needs, the team’s operational needs and the Faculty’s objectives.
    • Develop a common vision of the current situation and the desired changes (if necessary).

Planning

This stage involves creating strategies, selecting implementation methods, establishing an action plan, designing and preparing the tools needed to implement the action to affect the desired changes. Here are the main activities:

  • Hold team meetings to brainstorm, discuss and explore options
  • Identify the resources required based on the options chosen (e.g. create a database)
  • Recommend options and action plans to the Faculty’s senior management for approval
  • Reconvene the team to discuss the approved action plan and how to carry it out

Execution

At this stage, the action plan is set in motion, support measures are put in place, job descriptions are drafted and follow-up mechanisms are implemented to check to see whether the action plan is being followed and whether adjustments are required.

Evaluation

This stage consists of describing the results and comparing them to the original goals. This is the time to assess the change to decide whether the project is complete or whether further action is required (return to diagnosis stage).

Timeline

Between 18 and 24 months. Each phase of the project should take a few months.

Latest News

Fall 2016

Phase 1 Planning

This fall, we are going to concentrate our efforts on the evaluation of diverse options in order to elaborate on an action plan.

Benchmark activities and consultation with key persons are being scheduled.

The process of writing the job description of the administrative assistants from the Office of the Dean has already started. Several meetings with the supervisors will be scheduled in the coming weeks.

Summer 2016

Beginning of Phase 1

The main actions undertaken with the team of administrative assistants from the Office of the Dean:

  • Presentation of the summary of results collected in the Preliminary Analysis.
  • Sending a survey to complete the portrait of the situation in the Office of the Dean and to identify actions to prioritize.
  • Training session to introduce the concept of continuous improvement

Feedback sessions

We hosted two feedback sessions, one to the Dean, the vice-deans, and the programs directors, and the other to the managers. During these sessions we have:

  • presented a summary of the results obtained;
  • confirmed that the position of each is reflected in the summary;
  • provided the groundwork for a shared vision of the situation.

Spring 2016

Analysis of the results obtained in the information gathering process, Preliminary Analysis has enabled us to:

  • Recognize the strengths of the team of administrative assistants from the Office of the Dean
  • Understand the current needs of the Dean, vice-dean, program directors and managers in terms of administrative support
  • Define operational interdependence between the Office of the Dean and the different teams of the Faculty
  • Targeting elements of the current structure that contribute to the emergence and maintenance of the key issues experienced in the Office of the Dean.

Launch of the web page devoted to the project.

Please see the Latest News section, where you will find an update of the progress of the project.

Winter 2016

Preliminary Analysis

Before beginning Phase 1, information will be collected from the vice-deans, program directors and managers to:

1) provide a general overview of current Faculty issues that will guide our review of all Faculty support staff and contract positions, and

2) identify the key issues and areas to explore with the team from the Office of the Dean.

Fall 2015

Project validation

In October 2015, the project was presented to a Human Resources multidisciplinary committee, which approved it. This new committee is made up of representatives from three HR sections — Employee Relations; Health, Wellness and Leave; and Leadership, Learning and Organizational Development — as well as senior HR advisers. It is mandated to assist faculties and services in implementing major projects. In early November, the project was presented to, and subsequently approved by, the vice-deans and program directors.

In early November 2015, the project was presented to, and approved by the vice-deans and program directors.

Project presentation

In November, Faculty managers and administrative staff members were invited to an information briefing that outlined the project’s purpose, scope, approach, timeframe and the participation expected of employees.

Review of Policy No. 1

We have begun reviewing Policy No. 1 to update the sections on the scope of activities, and the roles and responsibilities, of vice-deans and program directors.

We are currently working to complete this review in order to begin the official approval process.

The results of this process will help us find out how updating the scope of activities, and the roles and responsibilities, of the vice-deans and program directors will affect the roles and responsibilities of the Faculty’s administrative staff members.

Summer 2015

New resource person hired

To assist in completing this project, we have hired human resources expert Marie-Claude Haché. She has a doctorate in labour and organizational psychology and has an in-depth knowledge of the University, having worked in HR as a counsellor and in a number of HR generalist positions.

Project development

We have determined the scope of the project, the objectives to pursue and the general process that will be used to conduct the project.

* Now that the project is underway, the Dean has asked all employees not to change their roles, responsibilities or work procedures without first informing Céline Morin, our chief administrative officer, so as not to interfere with the project.

Your questions, your ideas

Consultation: a vital part of the procedural and job description review project

Administrative staff members play a crucial role in the project to review our procedures and job descriptions. These staff members are not only experts in the Faculty’s procedures, they also work with these procedures every day and are aware of the difficulties they pose. It is essential that we consult these staff members to gather a realistic and representative picture of the work environment.  This is why this project has been designed with a consultative and participative approach in mind.

To this end, several methods or tools will be used successively or simultaneously, namely:

  • Online surveys will be sent to specific employee groups, depending on the phase and stage of the project
  • Meetings with individuals have been planned to learn more about certain aspects or to work on drafting the job descriptions
  • Discussion groups and working groups are being created to design and run the action plans, and to review procedures that are shared between different staff members.
  • Staff members can contact Céline or Marie-Claude by email or in person to discuss the project at any time
  • You can also send us your questions, suggestions, comments or concerns to edu-questions@uottawa.ca, for the duration of the project.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Resources

Training

The LLOD (Leadership, Learning and Organizational Development) and the CCE (Centre for Continuing Education) offer several top quality training workshops.

Be sure to check the various courses they offer and feel free to discuss them with your manager.

Quick info

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions regarding this project, please contact us at edu-questions@uottawa.ca

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