Tag: Shared Services
Shared services units are designed to reduce inefficiencies and improve the service quality of transactional business activities. As is the case with organizational models, one size does not fit all when it comes to selecting a portfolio of activities to deliver via shared services.
Administrative staff who remain in units and those who transition to the shared services center may feel equally anxious about stepping into the unknown. Uncertainty about changing roles and responsibilities can minimize buy-in and spark damaging rumors about what is waiting at the other side of implementation.
Shared services developed a bad reputation in higher education in part because many early movers followed the private sector lift and shift model, “lifting” administrative personnel from units and “shifting” them to the new shared services organization all at once. In most cases, top-down mandates and mass migrations to shared services are neither desirable nor practical.
Engage shared services customers in the conversation around service expectations and ongoing performance
Faculty often equate physical proximity of support staff with service quality. Consequently, they fear that “distant” shared services will prioritize central projects, controls, and costs over academic unit needs.
While most campus leaders understand that implementing shared services requires significant communication, they often rely on one single message unlikely to satisfy the needs of diverse stakeholder groups.
In order to demonstrate the value of shared services and identify areas for improvement, administrative leaders must continually monitor shared services performance. However, institutions historically lack mechanisms for selecting and tracking core performance metrics, and often they are unsure how to begin organizing and evaluating data, even when it does exist.
Consolidating staff positions from across campus without standardizing the underlying work undercuts efficiency opportunities, as the same problems that plagued workflows in the previous structure have just moved to a different part of the organization.
When transitioning to shared services, failing to deliver on customer service expectations can reinforce stakeholder skepticism about the model’s effectiveness.
Shared services organizations absorb administrative work from distributed campus units to realize efficiency and quality improvements.
Without careful planning for future staff transitions and training, transitions to shared services can result in inefficiency due to staff who are no longer working at full capacity—or unnecessary anxiety from staff who worry their jobs will be eliminated. NASA targeted these issues by analyzing current and future staffing needs, then building each employee an individualized transition plan.