Process redesign

Before staff and services are transitioned to the new operating model, a significant amount of work is done on "process redesign." The key objective of this step is to optimize processes for the new operating model and ensure a greater focus on the end user's needs and the value that services provide to the university community.

The following principles guide the process redesign work:

  • Design around customer interactions and value added activities
  • Simplify, streamline, and standardize processes
  • Minimize touchpoints and handoffs
  • Perform work where it makes the most sense
  • Leverage technology (e.g. digitize, automate workflow, and implement/enhance self service options)

Process redesign approach

The general approach to process redesign follows these steps:

  1. Design the future state map with the redesign and feedback workgroups
  2. As we approach a complete future-state map, the workgroup engages IT to begin conceiving how the process can be digitized, automated, and implemented from a technology perspective.
  3. Once the technical development and testing is complete, the workgroup prepares for implementation, including policy and procedure updates, identification of roles and staffing requirements, and training development.
  4. The final stage is implementation. As processes are redefined, changes to activities may result in changes to responsibilities and lead to new positions, which will result in Expressions of Interests. Be sure to frequently check  the Position Opportunities Page, as positions will be posted here as they are more accurately defined and timelines for them are established. In support of these transitions, SET is currently developing a formal onboarding and training program to aid staff as they move into their new roles.
Process redesign approach
Example of process redesign procedure
  • SET
    • Future-state mapping (redesign and feedback workgroups)
      • Confirm design & feedback groups
      • Define future state map
      • Confirm next steps
    • IT design & development (redesign and feedback workgroups and IT)
      • Develop IT system design and build (UAT)
    • Deployment preparation (redesign and feedback workgroups and training development)
      • Update Policies and Procedures
      • Roles and staffing requirements
      • Prepare training documentation for new systems
    • Deployment (training development)

Supporting staff while implementing changes

Effective change management will help ensure staff and faculties/units are ready, willing, and able to participate in and support changes resulting from the process redesigns.

The key focus of the change management activities are to:
  1. Ensure people impacted by the change are aware of the need for change, how things will be different and when the change is happening, and;
  2. Ensure affected staff have the tools, knowledge and skill sets they need to manage upcoming changes and maintain productivity during the transition process.

Change management activities include training and engagement as well as extensive communications.

Consultation and engagement

As the process redesign work is initiated, a call for workgroup members is issued to the applicable functional stakeholders/leaders. This call has been issued for HR business processes (see section below) and initiated process redesign for appointment/reappointment. These workgroups will help define future-state processes, consult with colleagues for feedback, identify opportunities to leverage technology to streamline and automate processes, and provide support with implementation activities. Two workgroups are created for each process redesign project, with the potential for up to three redesign projects running simultaneously.

The formation of the two types of workgroups are as follows:

  • Process redesign workgroup: A typical workgroup will include four faculty/unit representatives, one central unit representative, and one service partner.
  • Validation and feedback workgroup: A typical workgroup will include four faculty/unit representatives, minimum one central unit representative, minimum one service partner and two SET Staff Advisory Team (SAT) members.

Some improvement activities may not follow the same scope as a full process redesign taking a different approach to the one described above (e.g., job evaluation). This could include a reevaluation of policies and procedures or whatever is deemed necessary work to improve the activity. Input for these activities will still be required, but the composition and number of workgroups may differ.

Training fundamentals

To ensure a consistent approach and focus on service excellence, workgroups will complete the following training prior to beginning any process redesign activities. We encourage anyone interested to take the training.

Lean is a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste while increasing value added activity. With Lean, much of the focus is on the voice of the customer. Learn how Lean is used by the university to establish efficient processes while delivering consistent levels of quality.
Learn how technology can be leveraged to improve processes and design how services will be delivered in the future. 
Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) is important to UAT and the university. Learn the key concepts of (Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and recognize how various identity factors can influence the experience of the university community. Learn to identify how GBA+ can enhance the responsiveness, effectiveness, and outcomes of initiatives while applying foundational GBA+ concepts and processes. 
  • Take the GBA+ course through the Government of Canada (2-4 hours)
  • The SET team is continuing to look for additional training resources related to EDI.
Learn how to apply user experience design principles and design services that are aligned with what's most important to the university community. Empathize with the user’s journey and experience to receive services, in addition to staff’s experiences in delivering the service.

Processes undergoing redesign

Process redesign workgroups will be kicked-off as each of the workstreams complete discovery and confirm priorities. The following outlines processes that are currently undergoing redesign.

Activities related to HR

The HR functional stream has planned to redesign 12 of 25 processes identified through the HR discovery findings and prioritization. Some of the processes overlap and may be released in service groupings. A maximum of three services will be mapped at one time.

Employee appointment/reappointment for support staff

While the hiring process applies to new and existing employees, the various collective agreements require nuances/exceptions to the standard processes. The process redesign will initially focus on support staff appointments (covered under NASA collective agreement).

Job evaluation
Focused on optimizing and streamlining job architecture within the university. The intent of the redesign is to provide a solution to deliver and catalogue job cards as well as add a self-serve path that will be triggered when a faculty/department identifies a position/job need.
Time and labour

Intended to transition employee self-service (ESS) time entry from a department focused support model to a centralized support model. This process redesign is focused on centralizing all data audit procedures, help desk questions, support onboarding for the new employee and supervisor, as well as standardize the time entry procedures across campus for all user groups.


Focused on finding opportunities where recruitment processes are similar and can be standardized, digitized, and/or automated (e.g. minimizing manual tracking and paperwork circulation, improving transparency/visibility of request status, automation shortlisting and introducing hiring controls).

Activities related to finance

The finance functional stream identified 100 processes through the finance discovery and prioritization. Related processes have been organized into 22 bundles and prioritized based on a number of factors including ease of implementation and strategic impact. The finance functional stream roadmap initially focuses on three priority areas containing eleven processes, identified through the finance discovery and prioritization. Finance processes can overlap and may be released in groups to form connected services.

Payment services process bundle
Processing payments to suppliers, processing payment requests, and processing reimbursements to employees and non-employees. The process redesign is currently underway.
Procurement support process bundle
Creating requisitions in SupplyNet, ordering goods and services, validating requisition details prior to budget approval and general procurement support. The process redesign will initially focus on SupplyNet requisitions.
Chart of accounts management bundle
Maintaining faculty/unit chart of accounts, requesting a new speed code or ChartField and maintaining budget owner data & one-over-one approval structure.

Frequently asked questions

How long does the process redesign take?
The length of time it takes to complete process redesign is entirely dependent on the scope and complexity of the specific process. Due to the iterative nature of the transition planning and depending on the time it takes to establish workgroups and develop end-to-end processes in the new model, each workstream is moving at a different pace.
Who selects the members of the working groups?

As the process design phase of the functional review gets underway, each stream will be issuing a call for working group members. These workgroups will help define future state processes, consult with other colleagues for feedback, identify opportunities to leverage technology to streamline and automate processes, and provide support with implementation activities. The open call is issued to leaders in each functional area to identify and nominate staff that have knowledge of the processes as well as the time to dedicate to the redesign. Once the pool of nominees is received, members will be drawn over the next two to three months to support process redesign, testing, training, implementation, and go-live activities for the prioritized activities.

The goal is to have as diverse of a pool of participants as possible, within the process areas of expertise needed. We recognize that smaller entities may not have resources to offer, but we will continue to seek out the diversity of nominees.

What is the difference between Lean and business mapping? How will training opportunities be rolled out to staff?

A number of different tools are available for evaluating systems ultimately to make them more efficient and effective. Lean is a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste while increasing value added activity. With Lean, much of the focus is on the voice of the customer. Business mapping is a tool used to help identify and confirm activities within an organization and is an important tool for planning and designing new systems, services, and processes. It can identify gaps and areas for improvement, and illustrates the logical flow of activities.

We are reviewing different areas of training as well as developing onboarding processes and training around service culture, as this is a critical piece of the SET initiative. We will be sharing more information on training including modules above in the near future.

How can I get involved if I'm not on a working group, but want to provide feedback?
The SET team is always looking to hear your feedback and suggestions as we move forward in transitioning to the new administrative operating model. There are many ways to share your thoughts including:

If you have questions relating to the University of Alberta for Tomorrow, Administrative or Academic restructuring, visit the U of A for Tomorrow FAQ.