Definitions

Service design and delivery: Service design and delivery is a review of the way we deliver administrative services at the U of S to ensure that we are supporting the university community in achieving teaching and research goals.

ConnectionPoint: Launched as a result of the work undertaken in service design and delivery, ConnectionPoint is a one-stop service centre providing certain finance, human resources, and research administrative services you need, when you need them.

Knowledge Base: Used like Google, you can search for information on university processes and policies for travel and expense, research and human resources. You can find Knowledge Base in the ConnectionPoint channel in PAWS.

Strategic business advisor (SBA): SBAs serve as a strategic professional for a college/school/unit or group of colleges/schools/units. SBAs have strong university expertise and functional knowledge to guide the development of strategies, and can act as a senior consultant, advising leaders and executing strongly integrated strategies and initiatives for their assigned college/school/unit (or a cluster of colleges, schools or units).

Functional central office: The functional central office is responsible for leading university-wide initiatives, including creation of policies and procedures, strategic planning, special projects, and program design.

Questions related to my job

As with any changes to people strategies at the university, job loss is always a last resort. The change in service delivery is not an attempt to reduce our workforce. By moving transactional tasks (repetitive tasks that can be executed remotely) to ConnectionPoint, it will provide you with time to work on the core tasks you were hired for and/or tasks that contribute to the core mission of your college/school/unit or the institution. Your job may be adjusted to include new tasks and responsibilities to meet the needs of your unit.

As we move services and work, we expect that we will have to move people around as well. For staff that may see their jobs affected with some duties moving to ConnectionPoint, Human Resources staff will work with leaders on people planning for that unit. They will look at other like work available in the unit and realign the position to support faculty, students and staff in new or enhanced ways. There are also opportunities to look at re-assignment into ConnectionPoint if it makes sense for a specific position to become part of the service design and delivery model. We have asked leaders within colleges, schools and units to help identify people who may have a large impact to their work in order to discuss potential options.

If you have interest in a ConnectionPoint position or if you feel your position will be significantly impacted by duties moving to ConnectionPoint, you are encouraged to speak to your supervisor about opportunities to re-align your position to support the faculty and student experience with activities that are outside the scope of the services offered within ConnectionPoint. If you are interested in the work offered within ConnectionPoint, we encourage you to consider applying for a position in ConnectionPoint. If you have questions regarding opportunities in ConnectionPoint, please feel free to reach out to a member of the ConnectionPoint leadership team.

As an option for skill development and growth, the institution encourages every employee to apply for roles that may be of interest and for which they believe they may be qualified.

This is a decision that will be made by your supervisor(s). It is possible you will see your job duties re-aligned to support other unique priorities in your unit, including activities that are currently out of scope of the services offered within ConnectionPoint. It is also possible that you may become a point person for your unit for submitting requests to ConnectionPoint on behalf of faculty. We encourage you to speak to your supervisor about what you are interested in.

You are encouraged to speak with your supervisor to discuss changes to your role.

If new tasks have been added to your role to achieve the core mission of the unit, college/school or institution, every effort will be made to assist you with a successful transition. You are encouraged to speak with your supervisor to discuss any training or professional development that may be beneficial.

Service design and delivery is separate from any restructure your unit or college/school may make.

There is not an intention to move employees to ConnectionPoint that are not assigned to ConnectionPoint. Service design and delivery is separate from any restructure your unit or college/school may make. If applicable, as with acceptance of any new position, movement of location may be required.

There is not an intention to change any employee’s classification or pay through the work of service design and delivery.

As with many units on campus, there will be opportunities for advancement through the standard job posting/application process and also for lateral career growth (moving to positions at the same/similar level). Staff will have opportunities to cross-train and learn about areas outside of their immediate team to explore opportunities across ConnectionPoint that they may have an interest in. Professional development and training opportunities will be provided for staff on a regular basis to ensure effective and efficient service is provided to the campus community.

Questions about ConnectionPoint and how it works

To access services, please visit the ConnectionPoint channel in PAWS (under “admin services”), call 306-966-2000 or toll-free 1-844-697-4865, email connectionpoint@usask.ca or visit the office in Health Sciences Building room A120. Knowledge base, an online resource providing information on a variety of travel and expense, research and human resourcs topics, is available in the ConnectionPoint PAWS channel.
ConnectionPoint provides support for the following transactional activities:
  • general questions
  • travel and expense requests
  • pre- and post-award administrative support
  • tri-agency institutional approval
  • human resources general inquiries
  • purchasing and payments (including: vendor sourcing, vendor contract review and development, request for quotations, purchase order requisitions, purchase order receiving, invoice processing)
  • human resources services (including: recruitment, onboarding, off boarding, benefits and leaves)
  • data processing services (e.g., journal vouchers and electronic job submissions)

ConnectionPoint will provide support based on your needs and requirements. This may include answering questions and providing guidance, or could include completing a transaction on your behalf (e.g., travel expense claim).

This is the model that administrative services at the university are moving towards for financial services, human resources services and research services beginning in 2016. Many of the provided transactional services will be required to be accessed through ConnectionPoint as they will no longer be offered through the traditional central office.

For the foreseeable future, Concur will remain available to staff via PAWS to complete your own claims. However, ConnectionPoint staff are available to provide assistance with the completion of the claim or complete the claim on your behalf.

Yes, ConnectionPoint staff as part of their processes look into factors including fund balances and eligibility of expenditures.

Faculty and staff can reach out directly for services, or, if colleges/departments prefer, administrative staff can access services on behalf of colleagues.

ConnectionPoint staff will answer questions, provide requested support or connect faculty and staff with the right unit/individual to provide the information and support required.

Documentation is stored in a case management system, and faculty and staff have access to see their requests and associated correspondence in PAWS, including the status of their request. The goal of this system is to create a higher level of transparency into the process for the customer, as well as a higher level of accountability and nimbleness to respond from ConnectionPoint staff. This system tracks all correspondence between ConnectionPoint and the faculty/staff member and can be accessed at any time.

ConnectionPoint staff are able to determine who someone’s supervisor is through PeopleSoft, which is the system that also feeds this information into Concur.

ConnectionPoint will do the validating, following institutional policies and procedures. ConnectionPoint staff, as part of their processes, look into factors including fund balances and appropriate use of accounts codes. ConnectionPoint staff will work in co-ordination with the fund manager and/or finance staff in the college, school, unit or department, where required.

ConnectionPoint staff will work in co-ordination with the individual/department making the request to fix the error.

Approval processes in Concur do not change for travel requests or expense reports. The fund manager does not need to review the request prior to submission to ConnectionPoint as they will be prompted for approval by Concur. If ConnectionPoint staff need to contact fund managers, they will do so by email or phone.

ConnectionPoint staff, as part of their processes, look into factors including eligibility, which may include a review of university policies and information pertaining to a particular award in UnivRS. There are also research support specialists located in ConnectionPoint to provide guidance on eligibility.

Questions about strategic business advisors and the functional central office

There will be two separate SBAs: one for finance and one for human resources. For some of the larger colleges/units, there may be multiple SBAs assigned to ensure appropriate support is provided.

Staff in Human Resources and Financial Services are meeting with deans and leadership teams to discuss the role of SBAs and how this looks for each college, school and unit. There is not a one size fits all approach. In some cases, there may be a person within the unit that makes sense to be re-assigned to an SBA role. In others, it may be a new staff person. HR SBAs will be announced shortly. Due to the complexities within finance through the current service delivery model, finance SBA roles will be assigned as it makes sense. As these are staff located within the unit to support the unit, announcements will be made by your college leadership team.

It is not expected the SBA join the leadership or faculty council team; however, it may be beneficial to have finance and human resource experts in attendance at meetings to better support leaders and to respond to “in the moment” questions or concerns. If they do not sit on your leadership or faculty council team, you may wish to invite SBAs as guests when an agenda item is specific to finance or human resource functions.

The functional central offices in the current implementation of service design and delivery are: Financial Services, Human Resources and the Office of the Vice-President Research. There are staff in place in the functional central offices as they are existing units. The functional central office is responsible for leading university-wide initiatives, including creation of policies and procedures, strategic planning, special projects and program design. For example, we will continue to have Financial Services at a central level to support institutional budgeting, controls and reporting.

General questions

As an institutional priority, funds have been set aside centrally to support the first two years. We are currently in conversations with functional central offices regarding how ConnectionPoint fits into the responsibility centre management model (RCM) and how costs may be allocated through TABBS.

Beginning in 2018, ConnectionPoint will be treated as a support centre as part of the responsibility centre management model (RCM). Similar to how colleges are allocated costs for items such as heating, custodial costs, student services and finance support, colleges will be allocated a portion of the cost of ConnectionPoint for having access to the services provided. Currently work is being undertaken to determine what this will look like. For now the costs are being funded through strategic priority funds.

ConnectionPoint is an institutional initiative that will provide efficient and enhanced service to the entire campus community. Our first goal is to provide the administrative services required for a U15 research intensive university to support and facilitate its academic mission. We know there will be costs involved in making this change. Longer term, we will look at attrition to ensure our administrative staff numbers don’t grow in excess of what is needed to support our academic and research missions.

The best and most up-to-date source of information is connectionpoint.usask.ca.
We encourage you to speak with your supervisor. The Employee and Family Assistance Program and your union representative are also great options.
You are encouraged to ask questions and provide feedback on your experience. Suggestions for improvements are always welcome. If you have questions or feedback regarding ConnectionPoint, please email connectionpoint@usask.ca or call 306-966-2000. If you have feedback or questions regarding the work the university is undertaking to change the way we delivery administrative services (service design and delivery), please email servicedesign@usask.ca.