Customer service, making the mark

Much of the effort to make Carleton a great university takes place behind the scenes.

For example, in the Finance and Administration Division, staff provide specialized services ranging from maintaining our buildings, supporting our computing infrastructure, to providing a safe environment. These services help ensure an outstanding university experience for our students and a positive work environment for faculty and staff.

And we are continually trying to improve these services. Each year, we survey faculty, staff and students to measure the usefulness and quality of the various services and then develop plans to improve both the way we work and our customers’ satisfaction with our services.

Recently we have embarked on some benchmarking initiatives as a way to improve services. Through benchmarking, we identify best practices in certain service areas and then exchange information with recognized leaders to discover ways of improving how we do things at Carleton.

Two completed projects focused on services that were identified through our surveys as being specific areas that needed improvement.

The goal of the first project was to decrease the time it takes to fill a non-academic position. Over a period of six months, a team comprised of people from across campus reviewed the entire hiring process, identifying best practices within the recruiting industry, and conducting site visits.

The result was a series of recommendations that included investigating the feasibility of purchasing an electronic recruitment system that would streamline much of the staffing process and help reduce the amount of time it takes to fill a position by several weeks.

A second area of concern focused on cleaning. The custodial services benchmarking team followed a similar process to develop recommendations to improve the cleanliness of the campus. The team put forward 12 recommendations that ranged from developing and implementing a quality assurance process to increasing communication with the customer.

Currently, three new projects are underway. The first project will identify and make recommendations on how student payments are handled with the goal to improve timeliness of information and the efficiency of the student fee system.

We are also taking a close look at the residence application process to make sure resources are used optimally and to ensure that the residences have a vacancy rate of no more than one percent.

The final project focuses on security in the athletics facility. As this complex has grown, more effort is needed to find cost-effective improvements for controlling access to the facilities.

While many of these projects occur behind the scenes, they certainly are crucial in the everyday operations of the University. The more we improve these processes and operations, the more the entire Carleton community can enjoy the time they spend here, whether they are a student, staff member, faculty member or visitor.

Duncan Watt
Vice-President (Finance and Administration)

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