Presentation on theme: "Getting the best out of our staff"— Presentation transcript:
1Getting the best out of our staff Russell AshworthHead of Faculty Administration, Faculty of HumanitiesThe University of Manchester
2The plan … The theory … The challenges … The proposition … The case study …The learning pointsThe end …
3Theory: people and organisations that perform well ‘Best practice’ - one best set of ‘people’ things to do‘Best fit’ - which ‘people’ things you do depends on your organisation‘Resource based view’ - maximise the contribution of all resources:physicalhumanorganisational‘Best practice’ - all organisations can and should adopt a set of human resource management practices for the combined benefit of the organisation and its employees : but which ones are the best “set” to adopt?‘Best fit’ - to experience competitive advantage, ‘progressive’ HR practices need to be aligned with business strategy: the organisation has to choose the appropriate practices: but complex to work out which are appropriate‘resource based view’ - focuses on the internal resources of the organisation rather than treating factors external to the organisation as the main driver of HR. Focus on adding value and competitive position. Types of resources:physical (technology and equipment)human (experience and knowledge)organisational (structure, systems planning, monitoring and controlling)As usual (?) academics don’t agree …but RBV is trendy and makes sense to me
4More about resources physical (technology and equipment) “hygiene factors”?human (experience and knowledge)performance is a function of ability, motivation and opportunityorganisational (structure, systems planning, monitoring and controlling)Strategy and management?Don’t forget about physical things – re-organisation and not enough people can be a problem …Refer to Sheila Gupta presentation later on how to manage peopleWe will focus on the organisational aspects
5Challenge 1: The organisation is not simple Students with a qualificationStudentsApproving and providing programmesEnhanced or new knowledgeSupporting researchKnowledgeThere are other things that could be included … purchasing of services to support these processes etc …Supporting the development of societyAn improved societySociety
6Challenge 1: The organisation is not simple (2) WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO?Ensure that structures and systems are effective and designed to support what the organisation is there to doThis will require a clear strategy which is understood and disseminated at all levels“Operating in a matrix management structure in a highly political environment”
8Challenge 2: People in the organisation think differently about it WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO?Recognise that people think differentlyBeware of the “hard” mechanistic view when dealing with those who are more “touchy-feely” as it can put them offRecognise that things change – and pursuing harmony may be unrealisticThink about your own view and how it influences the way you work“The fundamental problem is a paradox betweencalls for a common set of values andthe need to recognise that academics and managers do and should think differently”
9An elephant is like a brush Each of his own opinionexceeding stiff and strong,though each was partly in the right,and all were in the wrong“The blind men and the elephant”J G Saxe ( )An elephant is like a brushAn elephant is like a ropeAn elephant is like a snakeAn elephant is soft and mushyAn elephant is like a tree trunk
10Some unanswered questions Why is it easier to work with some people than others?Why do administrators always stop us doing what we need to?Why do people misunderstand me??What do academics actually do?Who is in charge?Who can make academic staff do things?
11Challenge 3: staff are motivated by different things Financial rewardStatusJob SatisfactionRecognition for a job well doneBeing part of a successful team/unit/organisationManagement engagement/opportunity to participate in decision makingPolitics
12Challenge 3: staff are motivated by different things (2) WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO?Find out what motivates themDesign systems to support thisRecognise this in times of inter-personal conflictAcademics are egotistical – a lot are motivated by their own glory (and the promotion system rewards this); not by working in a team (reference lunch conversation with Jackie – why aren’t people (academics) nicer to each other? Because they aren’t motivated or rewarded to do that) – Ability, motivation, opportunity
13How did it affect students and staff? Challenge 4: Physical and financial resources impact on staff morale and motivationThe situation at workHow did it make you feel?How did it affect students and staff?We’re in a terrible state with the student admin. They have put a new computer system in, but quite frankly it doesn’t work, so. It takes four times as long as before to book students onto courses→Everybody is highly stressed because the staff are under enormous pressure. People dread coming to work.You feel so helpless really because there is nothing you can do about it.Students cant get through on the phone so there are loads of complaints when they do start the course. Staff don’t know who is going to turn up and then they complain too because students are late or missing.WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO?Provide them (Obviously!)When you can’t, explain why and think about (and act on) the impact this will have – don’t just assume that staff will cope.
14Challenge 5: Effective communication is often difficult to achieve ComplicatedTwo-wayInfluenced by cultureInvolves listeningEngagement importantWHAT CAN WE DO?Think about HOW you communicateThink about WHEN you communicateThink about WHY you communicateMore in Andrew West presentation
15Often difficult to mobilise staff to work as a ‘single team’ when: Challenge 6 – many administrative activities cross organisational boundariesFor example:ProcessesProjectsOften difficult to mobilise staff to work as a ‘single team’ when:No line managementStaff have local teams and sub-culturesProcesses need to work across different organisational units
16Proposition – we will only get the best out of staff if we manage this complexity effectively Need to organise and mobiliseHave a clear strategy and plan for taking a service forward or delivering the projectEnsure effective leadership (vision important)Champion a single team approachEnsure lines of accountability, responsibility and control are clearImplement a management structure to deliver engagement and buy-inEffective communication is vital
17Case study: Student System Project at the University of Manchester Major project to implement Campus Solutions post mergerNot just a student records system:Self serviceElectronic processingEssential conditions:Accurate information and dataEffective process managementNovember 2005 – project falling behind key milestonesChallenge – get buy-in from “business owners”, agree and implement necessary changes to business processes and mobilise staff
18Case study: Student System Project (2) What did I do?First engaged with business owners to get buy-inVision and realistic plan agreedSet up project management structureHigh level Steering GroupGroups to lead process change in each areaSet out clear lines of responsibility, accountability and controlImplemented communication strategy:Managers, users and allEngaged with staff face-to-face to get buy-in
19Case study: Student System Project (4) Outcomes Success:Created a sense of team and commitment in the high level management group andNew arrangements and greater buy-in created a renewed momentum across the project as a wholeHad structure in place to identify and solve most problems as they aroseAs a result got through registration and averted some major risks to the institutionMistakes:Failure to engage sufficiently with academic communityFailure to properly understand and deal with the sheer complexity of the project
20So, we all need to:Realise that it is more than knowing the rules and the theoryUnderstand perspectivesCommunicate effectivelyEngage in dialogue on key issues – lunches and meetingsBe honest about the constraints under which we workRecognise that imposed change does not work
21As managers and leaders we need to: Lead by example:Ensure there is a vision and strategyEngage with stakeholdersStrike the right balance between being directive and consulting/listeningSeek to balance the interests of different levels and groupsBe clear to junior staff about priorities and rulesInvolve academics fully in management and resource decisionsBe prepared to put our heads above the parapet: take decisions and stand by themBuild on success: Effective execution builds credibility and support
22The skilled administrator … Ability to achieve buy-inAn ‘ear to the ground’Analytical and problem-solvingEffective project managerResolves tensions through dialogue and seeks a consensus“Leadership: the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”Dwight D Eisenhower ( ) US Statesman
23So academics need to:Accept that all academic decisions have resource dimensions,Recognise that academic autonomy has to be balanced with transparent accountability,Support the systemisation of academic work,Share power when working in teamsEngage positively with managers and administratorsEasy to say – less easy to doWords not originally from academic research but from health service research – where managers and doctors working together can be a very big issue – even made great TV in UK last year when leading business “guru” tried to ‘cure’ the NHS – and found it much harder than he thoughtLast week met HR Director from UoM – still finding out about this sector after 12 months – and spoke on the same platform as the HR Director of the NHS – who was previously at Tesco and is finding out that things are different there too – mainly because of the professional loyalties of those in the workforce.