Friday, 15 July 2016

Breaking up is hard to do....

This week the PIU team have had the privilege of working with colleagues from HR, Payroll, Pensions and Departments who deal with people leaving our organization.  The focus of our week together was to examine the Leavers process in detail to understand how it works and why it is the way it is so that we could address some specific problems.  These problems included:

  •          Duplication of work
  •          Delays and hand-offs
  •          Incorrect payments
  •          Late payments
  •          Inconsistency in the rules
  •         A painful process for everyone concerned

The main focus for the work was on the three categories of Resignations, Retirements and Fixed Term Contract Redundancy.  Together these counted for almost 90% of the 1300 or so people that leave the organization every year.

The team spent four days working to identify, clarify and analyse the sources of the problems then redesigning the work methods to deliver an improved way of handling leavers.  We used the lean methodologies, which the team members had been exposed to as part of our training courses, to take a structured approach to making real improvements to the services.

The team came up with new work designs in the form of process maps, which typically took half as many steps as the old approach and did so in a clear and consistent way.  They then developed a comprehensive action plan and communications plan to ensure these new process designs can be delivered in a timely and effective way.  Some of the key features are:

  •          Clarity of actions at all stages, especially the initial leaver/manager initiation          actions
  •          Combined processes (resignation & redundancy)
  •          Removal of unnecessary duplication across teams
  •          Simplifying process steps

Specific benefits will include:

  •          Right action at the right time to reduce chasing and re-work
  •          Correct and accurate information from the start of the process
  •          Streamlined approval processes
  •          Reduction in feed-back  loops
  •          Reduction in time between resignation and leavers letter (from HR)
  •          Clear communication between the Leaver and our teams
  •          Clarity in how leavers and their managers navigate the process
  •          A reduction in processing time in all areas
  •          Better information for our business intelligence and our HESA returns

Practically, these will translate into a reduction in staff effort needed to produce a better and more consistent service.  Whilst the Leavers in general were not complaining about a poor service the old system achieved what it did by much running around and chasing rather than as a result of an effective process.

The event closed with the team presenting a very clear and compelling case to Helen Rodger as the sponsor of the work.  Helen was clearly impressed by both the solution and the effort which the team had put in and gave a commitment to support the implementation of what would make a significant difference to the Leaver, the staff working on the process and the University.

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