Using technology to improve the client experience

Website improvements better support Management and Professional Staff

In late 2017, under a new provincial labour relations legislative framework, the university created a new classification of management and professional employees who are excluded from a bargaining association. Though the new Handbook of Terms and Conditions of Employment for Management and Professional Staff (Excluded) was developed to outline the terms applying to these employees, the Human Resources website didn’t specifically reference this employee group, leading to confusion for employees and leaders.

To address these needed improvements, a working group from across HR came together to ensure we had appropriate processes, procedures and documentation in place to support the MAPS category.

The faculty and staff and HR websites were updated to include new benefits, leave, retirement and health web content, making it easier for MAPS employees to understand the conditions of employment outlined in their handbook. New contact information was also included to assist people who hire and manage this group. The new site is easier to find important information and serve the 320 employees in this important group.

Alfresco implementation improves access to HR forms and process documentation for faculty/unit administrators

When HR developed flowcharts and process documentation for over 500 business processes, HR Business Services needed a way to make this content accessible to HR administrators across the university. An effective documentation tool needed to be able to display documents based on roles and include a workflow to ensure processes are regularly reviewed and maintained.

To meet our needs, with the help of Information Services and Technology, we were able to implement Alfresco, the university’s electronic document and records management system. Leveraging Alfresco also gave us the opportunity to manage other documents, like forms and tip sheets, in a new way and make it easier for users to quickly locate process documentation and the necessary tools and information to manage critical HR processes. The new system was launched in September 2020 and is regularly used by administrators across our campuses.

“During our online training sessions, users told us that HR documentation in Alfresco was a game changer!” says Lynn Bell, an analyst with HR Process Development and Training.

New tool allows for a flexible approach to email marketing

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, the university quickly transitioned to working from home. To ensure leaders, faculty and staff could get up-to-date information in an effective, clear and transparent way, the HR newsletters became one of the most important ways to communicate.

With several different units across HR, we quickly discovered that a multitude of different tools, some with limited functionality, were being used to create and distribute these newsletters. The HR communications team identified an opportunity to develop a unified approach to email marketing by moving to a single tool with attractive, clean and user-friendly templates.

After reviewing several different systems available, HR joined the Office of Advancement in their institutional Campaign Monitor account and designed a similar but distinctive look for each newsletter. The new format and tools ensure a consistent look and feel to improve communication to all of our clients.

A better way to deliver valuable information sessions

In looking for new ways to keep HR administrators and managers informed of changes in important practices and processes, Human Resources reintroduced the HR webinar series. In the past, webinars were held quarterly but registration limits demanded presenters deliver the same information to multiple groups over a number of sessions, which required extensive booking, planning and IT support.

The rapid adoption of video communication services that accompanied the move to working remotely allowed us to re-launch the HR webinars at a fraction of the effort previously required.

“By providing webinars, information related to managing staff and changes happening in HR is reaching other staff,” says Celeste Talastas, Finance/HR Coordinator in Risk Management Services.

Since September 2020, HR has hosted three webinars to more than 425 participants. This new method of sharing has improved the timeliness of important information and allowed us to reach more people than we could had we tried to do this in person. To ensure that information is readily available, the webinars are also recorded and available to those that couldn’t attend virtually.

New total compensation calculator supports faculty budgeting, recruiting and retention

“A compensation calculator is a comprehensive visual tool to build awareness and understanding of the various components of compensation and benefits,” says Fatima Mirza, director of HR Business Services. “It is a simple tool that can be used to calculate potential salary and benefits expenses, engage with candidates during the recruitment process and educate employees to understand the value of total compensation.”

Using the calculator will allow current employees and potential candidates to better understand the value of our employer-paid benefits programs as an element of total compensation. Managers, supervisors and HR practitioners can plan their budgets and show a prospective employee the full scope of the benefits of working at the U of A.