Case Study

Role defragmentation is key to enabling more effective use of talented staff

University characteristics

Undergraduate Students: 25-30,000
Postgraduate/graduate students: 7-8000
Academic & Professional Staff: 4-5000
UniForum involvement: Over 5 years

Reasons for joining UniForum

  1. University had invested in technology to streamline processes but benefits were not being realised
  2. Management needed robust fact base to understand why benefits were not being delivered
  3. Management wanted to collaborate with other intuitions willing to develop robust comparisons that all can learn from

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  • Fragmented roles meant no community to learn from, no obvious career path
  • No ‘connected processes’ so local heroes critical to getting things done
  • Inefficient transactional activities taking up time that could be spent on more strategic activities
  • Mismatches between skills and roles and no available training because each role was unique

How UniForum helped

  1. UniForum frameworks applied to the data delivered insights that highlighted the levels of role fragmentation that existed
  2. UniForum benchmarks showed how, in comparison to other universities, inefficient transactional processes were crowding out capacity to invest in more strategic activities
  3. UniForum reports and briefings helped start the internal discussion about how fragmented roles may be impeding the university’s ability to develop people and provide career pathways through the institution
  4. Highlighted that role design was preventing the institution realising the benefits of technology investments it had made and resulting in a highly transactional focus of a skilled workforce

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The university:

  1. Redesigned the end-to-end processes for key administration and support processes including student administration and support, transactional and strategic HR, finance and IT services
  2. Designed differentiated service delivery models for the processes depending on whether they were transactional or advisory in nature
  3. Created common administration and support service roles across the academic divisions with a clear understanding of the competencies needed for each role

The formation of common roles led to:

  • The creation of communities of practice, a greater focus on the strategic needs of the university and the opportunity to deliver more tailored staff development
  • Increased retention and career progression of talented personnel