Questions (in bold blue) have been edited slightly for clarification, grammar or punctuation. Specific names or references to people have been removed.
I just received your email about the shared service center. Someone actually wrote, "Pendulums are so 20th century. There’s no place for them in our new business model." Sounds to me like you don't really want to hear from anyone unless they agree with you. Some of us remember when things WERE centralized and that wasn't efficient. Things were decentralized because it was more efficient! The tone of the email was a bit snippy. Perhaps someone could do a tone check before the next one goes out. [April 2011]
Thank you for your feedback. The comment about pendulums was not intended to be snippy but simply representative of the fact that we are moving in a new direction, rather than returning to a centralized structure. Shared Service Centers are different from the historical centralized model, in that they combine the best aspects of both a centralized and a decentralized work environment. Those administrative transactions which are done on a more regular basis and can be standardized will move into the Shared Service Center while unique or complex queries or processes that cannot easily be standardized will remain at the local or central unit level. Budget circumstances are such that we have to find a more efficient, effective way to deliver administrative services. Re-engineering and standardizing current processes, implementing enabling technologies and consolidating staff and services where appropriate will help us achieve that goal.
The email describing the "donut" purchase process is confusing and seems to make light of a serious situation. This message would have been more effective if it started with the "Consolidating employees..." paragraph and just got to the point. If an example is needed, use something more practical. Or, if you must use food, at least spell it correctly - doughnut - rather than using slang in an official message. While I realize the value of a positive attitude and sense of humor, the process we're going through right now, what things will look like, and who will still have a job is still pretty much a mystery for us. Messages like this make some of us wonder if the work and the impact it will have on so many people is being taken seriously. I want to have confidence in the people working on this. Please help me with that by sending clear, practical and concise messages. [April 2011]
Thank you for providing specific feedback on how our communications can be improved. We can assure you that the implementation of the Shared Service Center and the impact it will have on so many people is being taken quite seriously. The “doughnut” example was the reflection of an existing process that was recently mapped for the purpose of identifying inefficiencies in our purchase and reimbursement practices.
I believe the March 30 Brown Bag will focus on what was learned at SunGardHE Summit. Are there agendas or areas of focus for the other Brown Bags? [March 2011]
Each Shared Service Center (SSC) Brown Bag meeting has two primary goals. The first is to present up-to-date information on the SSC project while taking into consideration the latest questions posed via this feedback mechanism, the regular email updates from this office and the SSC-related articles posted in the Friday Updates from Dateline. The second goal is to provide an opportunity for staff to ask questions and have a dialogue with the project leaders about the SSC. We hope you and colleagues will take an opportunity to attend one of the upcoming meetings.
It would be most helpful if you would quit sending out advisory emails about the SSC until you have the concrete facts. It is extremely stressful for staff to receive many emails (one time we got 3 in one week, from 3 different entities) expressing nothing but conjecture, no facts. It is stressful to sit here and be constantly reminded we might soon be out of job-maybe so, maybe not ! It also makes for very poor morale! We know part of your plan is to get staff to quit but adding this constant stress level through freq. email updates is a poor way to do it. [March 2011]
Thank you for your message. It seems to reflect some of the general frustration and anxiety that our staff members are feeling during a time of great change on our campus. We certainly do not intend to cause additional stress through our communication strategies – just the opposite. During periods of significant change, one of our team’s primary goals and assignments is to keep communication lines flowing – even if we do not have all the answers; and we have received significant feedback from staff indicating that direct email is a preferred medium for communication. Of course, we are reaching out through other channels such as the Friday Update, Staff Development courses, town hall meetings, etc. Hopefully, you will have the opportunity to glean information about the SSC initiative in whatever way is beneficial to you.
As manager of a unit directly affected by the ScottMadden recommendation regarding the implementation and staffing of shared service centers on campus, I am frustrated by the confused and uncoordinated communication about this initiative. It contributes to building resentment, fear, anger and miscommunication about this plan throughout campus. What could have been a positive, compelling and exciting new opportunity has now been inextricably linked with lay-off, fear and the "corporatization" of higher education. And, of course, when employee's get their news from the Davis Enterprise, I lose the opportunity to help frame the discussion and provide more detailed information. [Sept 2010]
The Organizational Excellence team conducted comprehensive communications to the Phase I divisions prior to the Davis Enterprise article publication. The communication strategy included the following forums:
- August 11 – Senior Managers in organizations impacted in Phase I of the shared service center implementation
- August 12 – Directors, managers and supervisors in organizations impacted in Phase 1 of the shared service center implementation
- August 16 – All staff in organization impacted in Phase 1 of the shared service center implementation (webcast live and recorded)
- August 19 – Staff forum open to all campus constituents
In each of these forums, we spoke about the fact that further analysis was required and that there were several important decisions that needed be made by the chancellor’s cabinet. We also described the ScottMadden recommendations at these forums and next steps in the process. There was also significant time allocated for Q&A at the end of each forum to address specific staff member concerns.
We hope that you are able to attend future forums in person or via the web as they will assist you as you work to frame discussions with those you supervise.
My colleagues and I came away [from the staff forum] with feeling that the shared service center concept is not very thought out. There are no concrete processes or policies to serve as guides. Even walking into the presentation showed that the people behind this do not know how to plan efficiency: There was no one at the table to greet and hand out the program and comment card, instead this had to be done by people walking up and down the aisles (a waste of time and energy) or by requesting the participants to ‘come and get a copy'. On the PowerPoint printout, page 3, "Our Current Service Model," the last bullet point stated that $500,000 is lost annually due to improperly managed employee leaves of absence/separations. The UC Davis budget is more than $600 million, so this represents only .08% of that budget. I think that shows that people are actually doing a very good job. [June 2010]
Thank you for this feedback. We appreciate your desire to see more specific information, and that is forthcoming shortly when the recommendations are published and campus leadership makes decisions regarding next steps.
From our vantage point, the $500,000 we lose every year is significant, and would be avoidable through better business practices. Campus leadership agrees, and through a small investment in staff to better manage leaves and separations, we have already curtailed this loss and more than recouped the investment.