Shared services launches July 26

15 July 2021

Over the past two and a half months, the Shared Services unit has been busy hiring and planning for the phase one launch of its services on July 26. Phase one will focus on the opening of the Staff Service Centre for general HR-related inquiries, and the HR Services team that will coordinate existing processes related to payroll, benefits, pension, and time and labour training and audit support, as well as federally funded summer employment programs.

How we currently access HR services

When faculty and staff members have questions, there are a number of channels to access information, including:

  • Asking a supervisor or HR partner
  • Using the "Find your HR contact" form
  • Emailing a familiar contact in the Human Resources, Health, Safety and Environment unit
  • Emailing an HR, payroll or timekeeper contact in your faculty or unit
  • Searching the U of A website

On July 26, you'll no longer need to try so many avenues, because many of your inquiries will be directed to the new Staff Service Centre.

Launching the Staff Service Centre web page

On July 26, Shared Services will launch a new Staff Service Centre web page, which you will be able to access from the Services tab at the top of the U of A homepage.

Preview of the Staff Service Centre tab on the website

Draft preview of the new tab on to access services

The web page will include links to information about the most common HR questions, as well as an option to fill out a web form to contact the Staff Service Centre. Staff are encouraged to view the links on the web page before reaching out to the Staff Service Centre. Web links will continue to link to the Human Resources, Health Safety and Environment web pages at this time.

New habits to adopt

Here’s how the Staff Service Centre will affect most faculty and staff:

  • Faculty, staff, supervisors, HR staff, partners, and Centres of Expertise will visit the Staff Service Centre web page to view articles about common HR inquiries. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can submit a form to be contacted by email. 
  • All questions about time and labour, payroll, benefits, pension, employee data changes, and the Canada Summer Jobs program should go to the Staff Service Centre instead of faculty or unit contacts. 
  • If you have forms saved to your computer or Google Drive, ensure you’re instead accessing them through the Alfresco electronic document and records management system so you’re using the most up-to-date form with the right information for submitting it.

Activities moving on July 26

Beginning on July 26, a number of responsibilities will move from faculties and units to the Staff Service Centre in Shared Services.

Staff in faculties and units who do HR activities will direct payroll, pension, benefits, and Canada Summer Jobs program questions to the Staff Service Centre.

Activities moving on August 15

On August 15, time and labour will move to Shared Services as well.

Staff in faculties and units who do HR activities will direct time and labour-related auditing and exception activities for pay periods after August 15 to the Staff Service Centre.

Shared Services will send monthly accrual balance reports to HR partners.

The role of the Staff Service Centre

The Staff Service Centre, with the HR Services team in Shared Services, will respond to employee questions about time and labour, payroll, benefits, pension, and changes to employee data. If necessary, they will triage requests to Centres of Expertise in other areas. The Staff Service Centre team will use a system to manage responses similar to IST's ticketing system.

Tasks at shared services: questions and responses, triage to centres of expertise, manage ticketing system

The role of Service Partners

The primary role of Service Partners in the university’s new operating model is to partner with faculties and units on strategic matters.

The future state of the Shared Services unit 

Later this year, other services will transition from faculties and units into the Shared Services unit, including:

  • Additional HR services (summer and fall)
  • Finance services (early fall)
  • IT helpdesk services (late 2021)

Shared Services will also establish the Service Innovation team in mid-August.

More services will be defined as SET continues.

Summer and fall: More HR services. Early fall: finance services. Late fall: IT services. Mid-August: establishing service innovation team.

Anticipated additions to Shared Services in 2021

Welcoming new team members to Shared Services

The Shared Services team is growing quickly. We have several positions on the Position Opportunities Page (POP) where HR knowledge and experience can be leveraged. We encourage staff from faculties and units to apply for available positions that interest them now. 

The Shared Services team will expand on the value already delivered by staff across the university. The vision of AVP, Shared Services Ria Ames is to build a close-knit community of smart, approachable people who collaborate, exchange knowledge, and identify solutions. The staff who are joining the team can expect to feel empowered in the service they provide and look to grow their careers with critical thinking, relationship building, and ongoing learning opportunities.

The transition to Shared Services

These adjustments are a massive undertaking and it will take time to optimize the new Shared Services unit to its full potential. Over time, Shared Services will grow from an embryonic (a phase of learning and growing), to an emerging phase (implementing new processes), to established (refining and improving), to integrated (collaborating with faculty and staff to deliver what they need) to optimized, our final efficiency, high-functioning state. Through collaboration with faculty and staff, and a bit of patience, Shared Services will become a powerful driver of service excellence, information and process innovation.

Shared services maturity: Embryonic (0-6 months), emerging (6-12 months), established (12-18 months), integrated (18+ months), optimized (2+ years)



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