Posted: Tuesday, 6th March 2012
A YEAR on from the publication of the University’s first ever Staff Survey much progress has been made.
You will be familiar with some of the steps taken courtesy of updates in ManMetLife and elsewhere, but as we prepare for the re-assessment for Investors in People, it seems timely to provide a ‘round-up’ of the main achievements.
The three key areas arising from the staff survey results were: communication, workload, bureaucracy and the management and communication of change.
According to the Staff Survey, only 19% of you were getting news via staff web pages and only 10% through e-alerts, meaning you weren’t finding what you wanted, nor did you feel that you were getting the full picture of a range of major projects and priorities.
ManMetLife - our new staff news website was created to improve internal communications, giving all staff easier and quicker access to the news and information you should know about as well as highlighting achievements which make us proud to work at the University. The news portal has now added a ‘marketplace’ which lets staff buy and sell items ranging from houses to CDs.
Coffee and Conversation – hosted by the vice-chancellor and his senior management team, this gave staff the chance to raise questions about a wide range of issues and saw over 50 staff engage in discussion in the first event alone. John Brooks and senior colleagues have also been involved in ‘back to the shop floor’ and walkabout sessions.
Open Staff Meetings – led by deputy vice-chancellor Professor Gerry Kelleher during October. The meetings covered issues such as the Research Excellence Framework, the University Corporate Plan) , HEFCE’s proposals for 2012/13 and our response to the Government White Paper, followed by questions.
The Corporate Strategy - is now available for colleagues to peruse on the MMU website. The document sets out a ‘road map’ for the University from 2012 to 2017 stating the objectives and activities that are core to our success. There are targets and actions for each of five main themes – Student Experience, Research, Innovation, International and Sustainability – and statements of our mission and values and key facts and statistics.
Local initiatives - faculties and departments have been working hard to improve communication. In Art and Design a pilot of the ‘Working together to Improve outcomes’ programme was held where technicians, academics and administrative staff came together to discuss the student experience and how cross-team working could be improved. Staff found this “useful” and the programme will be offered across the whole university.
New support posts: - In the Faculty of Art and Design new teaching assistants have been assigned to each programme. University-wide, 35 Grade 5 student support roles are being funded along with 16 centrally funded student experience roles through the new MMU Intern scheme.
More than 50 roles have now been created through the Intern Scheme, many to take forward project work, which frees up staff to concentrate on their core work at the same time as providing our graduates with high quality work experience.
Focus groups - Human Resources organised focus groups to find out more about your concerns regarding workload. Some of you felt that we could do better at providing a central point for students to discuss their experience, and work is now underway to develop a ‘customer service’ facility or helpline for students. This will free up staff time and provide a central point for students to get the advice and support they need.
Services to Students Task Group – this is looking into the information that academic staff require for administering ‘triage’ with students on a regular basis.
New coursework submission system - this has enabled staff to drastically reduce the turn around time for recording and checking coursework. A bar-coded sheet - replacing the carbon forms – allows staff to quickly and accurately input coursework assignments onto the receipting database.
The new approach, piloted by Faculty & Campus SAS in the School of Law and School of Architecture was extended across the All Saints South Campus (HLSS and Art & Design) last year and has now been rolled-out to all faculties. In the pilot, 94.4% of assignments were ready for tutor collection within 1 day of the submission deadline resulting in positive feedback from academic colleagues. For more see www.staff.mmu.ac.uk/manmetlife/news/view/warm-welcome-for-coursework-project
Moodle enhancements have made access to coursework deadlines, information and reportsquicker and easier.
e-HR integrated finance and HR - the first phase has been introduced for this system which ultimately will lead to a significant increase in administrative efficiency. The optimisation phase and the introduction of e-recruitment will lead to a streamlined and simplified on-line vacancy control process.
Management and Communication of Change
‘Coffee and Conversation’ sessions created a two-way street for discussion of plans for the future.
The Start-the-term Address by the vice-chancellor is now a standing feature on ManMetLife through which he provides an update on the University’s plans.
The Business School move - MMUBS senior learning and teaching fellows and ‘New Building’ champions have worked with the senior management team on the move to the new building.
‘Leading Transformation’ workshops – these new workshop for managers were devised by senior management and the Organisation Development & Training team to identify key messages, principles and commitments about how we will collectively transform the University.
MMU Change Academy - launched in December 2011, the first Change Academy event was attended by 120 members of MMU staff from across the different staff groups and grades. The event included master classes on change and improvement subjects and access to resources and support. The master class and story-telling sessions were delivered by volunteers from across the University and covered subjects such as how to improve the student learning experience through podcasting, the story of successful accreditation for the Customer Service Excellence Standard in the Library and examples of how to engage a whole team in service reform from the Finance team.
The Change Academy network is now up and running and the first meeting, attended by over 35 staff, was held in January. The next session will take place in March. The network will operate both physically, through regular meetings, and virtually through the web area, in order to allow as many members of staff as possible to engage.