Various schools and state governments have been grappling with the issue of teacher retention, with educators citing stress, being overworked and feeling unprepared for work as their main reasons for quitting.
However, some institutions are overcoming this hurdle.
The Australian Catholic University (ACU) has almost doubled in size over the past eight years, with a corresponding increase in its number of employees.
Established in 1990, ACU has approximately 33,500 students and 3,500 employees spread across seven campuses: Melbourne, Ballarat, Strathfield, North Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, and Adelaide.
Surveys show that employee satisfaction around service delivery is at 60%, following a substantial rise in the volume and complexity of service requests across the ten directorates of the University’s Corporate Services.
Levels of service delivery were found to be inconsistent between campuses; there were multiple help desks; general information to help employees answer their own questions was not documented or easily accessible; there was little transparency if a request had been seen or acted upon; and data collection and reporting were minimal, with service providers having to manually count emails and telephone calls to provide basic data.
ACU’s service providers also felt overwhelmed in responding to inquiries that were often repetitive and did not require their level of expertise.
Issuing new or replacement employee access cards was one area where the inefficiencies, double handling and complexities with service delivery were highlighted.
Employees wanting an access card had to wait up to four weeks with several directorates, including Finance, HR, IT and Properties and Facilities all involved and no streamlined or transparent process.
Improving service excellence
To address the problem, ACU’s Corporate Services carried out an information discovery and assessment review, conducting employee surveys, ethnographic research and establishing focus groups across all levels and areas of the university and from different campuses.
The findings showed employees wanted to help themselves address issues through self-service where possible; be able to easily submit requests online and via telephone at one central location; have visibility on who was managing a request and what its status was; be able to communicate easily with the relevant provider about a request and vice versa; and provide feedback on the service provided.
ACU appointed digital services consultancy, RXP Group, to implement ServiceNow’s Customer Service Management application, which was identified as the best and most flexible solution to deliver streamlined and automated capabilities for its employees.
Properties and Facilities and HR, two of the biggest service areas of the university, were the first to deploy. The second implementation stage saw the release of 1,000 knowledge articles specially created so employees could easily find answers to their questions from one source without the need for using telephone or email. This relieved service providers of simple enquiries. The other directorates were onboarded progressively over a five-month period.
Delivering transparency and data
Service Central, the name given to the platform has now been rolled out, giving ACU access to significantly more data around service demand, delivery, response times and satisfaction, providing it valuable insights into where pain points are and how they can be resolved.
In addition, the portal has provided employees with access to over 200 services from ten directorates in one place; streamlined service requests by digitising workflows and delivery; improved transparency of service requests by providing instant access to the current status and assignment; and delivered more than 25,000 views of knowledge articles, meaning potentially 25,000 phone calls or emails have been avoided.
The time taken to get a new or replacement access card has gone from up to four weeks to just days and employee surveys show that satisfaction around service delivery has risen from 60% to 86%.
Sharone Ciancio, director of Corporate Services and project sponsor said that while it is early days, employees are already sharing positive experiences with Service Central which is reflected in the University’s satisfaction scores.
“The organisation will also gain a better understanding of service delivery which it never had before, and in that way, we can make more informed decisions about what needs to be improved for both the service user and service provider and where our efforts need to be focused,” Ciancio said.
“We have insights and evidence now.”