In fall 2016, the VPFA and her leadership team embarked on a strategic planning effort for our division. The underlying vision for the Finance and Administration strategic plan has two objectives:
Focus on Principled Problem Solving
How can our units and our employees excel as creative, customer-centered problem-solvers while also ensuring the highest level of ethics and compliance related to state laws, as well as university policies and procedures? Are we consistently helping campus clients to solve difficult issues? Do we have the right policies and processes in place, and how well do we communicate and train campus about them?
During the 2017-18 academic year, the VPFA and her leadership team began to look at modes of evaluating our units’ business processes and practices using specific activities, such as a customer feedback survey and focus groups, unit-specific consultancies.
Since 2018, the VPFA, along with the directors of the 30 or so units that make up the portfolio, have been engaged in unit-level strategic priority setting as well as training on business process improvement, change management, etc.
Our engagement in the university-wide policy review process, underway since fall 2015, has also provided a venue for evaluating current practices and created an opportunity for ensuring that current practices are well-documented, transparent, and accessible.
Focus on Attracting, Retaining, and Developing a Diverse, Highly Competent Staff
What can we do, as a portfolio, to recruit and retain a diverse and highly competent work force? Do our employees have appropriate training opportunities to excel in their work? Do the right opportunities exist for upward mobility and promotion? Are our employees receiving (and, in many cases, providing) good mentorship, coaching, and supervision?
In February 2017, we launched a portfolio-wide employee exit survey and optional exit interview to help us better understand why staff leave our organization. The survey includes questions about what motivated the employee to leave and what they will do after leaving, and asks departing employees to evaluate the supervision they received, assess the division’s leadership, and share any additional information that might aid us in improving such things as the employee experience and the departmental, divisional and university climate.
The Finance and Administration Diversity Action Plan, initially drafted in winter 2017, focuses on a number of employee recruitment and development-centered initiatives. These include implementing better search processes; an employee spotlight program; a student-to-employee pipeline internship program; a leadership development program for current employees with the potential to take on greater leadership roles in the next 5-10 years; and improved access to training and development opportunities for all of our employees. The plan outlines timelines for each initiative.