RES Conference

RES Conference

10th December 2018

We asked for your feedback and Questions

At the Inaugural RES Conference on Monday 10th December we will be giving RES staff the chance to develop their ideas in working groups and present them to RES Senior Management for feedback.

The aims of the conference are to:

  • Share best practice, skills and knowledge

  • Learn more about the work of teams across RES

  • Create an inclusive vision for teams within RES

We encouraged everyone to contribute. Your idea may be part of the solution to someone else’s. It could raise an issue that senior are not aware of. It can help us gain a better picture of how can things work more efficiently across RES. Your ideas – no matter how small it may seem to you - may make a big difference to how we work as a division.

The top suggestions, as decided by the RES Conference Working Group and the RES Senior Team, went forward for this year's conference and have now formed the bases of the working groups on the day.

This is what you asked us...

Your Question: - How do we promote best practice in Audit and Compliance? Can we do it better?

The Idea: - Throughout RES and the University there are a number of teams that are required to gather evidence, test assumptions and assure compliance. All these teams have ways and means to achieve their goals but could it be that there are some methods that are tried and tested in improving efficiency and effectiveness. Our teams can work together to devise a set of tried and tested ways to gather and test evidence assuring us of the validity of the evidence collected

Context and feedback: - Sharing of best practice between CAM team in PSU and Post Award over audits, collection of evidence etc.  
i.e. are there any of the processes used in ERDF that could also be used for EU / Innovate Audits with RSO.

What resources do you think you might need to implement this idea or develop it further?Staff Time for the discussion initially. Staff Time for guidance writing / implementation of any new processes / training of stakeholders if there are any areas that can be used.

Your Question: - How do we continue learning about the teams in RES?

The Idea:Throughout the process of Values and Behaviour creation and the RES conference, the resounding theme has been that we all want to learn more about other team roles, responsibilities, goals and objectives. We want to find ways to continue to develop our understanding of each RES team and what we all do in more detail. How can we achieve continued RES team understanding and when will this happen?

Context and feedback: - Poster session - it gives people a chance to wander around and chat but gives some teams a chance to show what they already do/are doing to improve. Encouraging people to show what they have already changed/are changing for the better would be good, too! 
Share what we do with the rest of the division through experience rather than simply describing, so potentially some kind of interactive activity that gives participants a taste.

What resources do you think you might need to implement this idea or develop it further?A small budget for poster printing?

Your Question: - How can we gain more value from the Divisional Staff Meeting?

The Idea:Currently we get together quarterly for an update from members of the senior team. This is precious time during which a majority of the division are in a single space…..together! What is it everyone wants to gain from these meetings? Is there another format that may be more efficient? How do we make divisional staff meetings more interactive or discussion based

Context and feedback:This means that the divisional meeting might be more of a two-way discussion, rather than just listening to the senior team speak 
Not sure about the format, a Twitter type feed perhaps (If there already a Twitter feed for RES, I am ignorant of it) but not actually on Twitter.   It could also be a chance for colleagues to update on sponsorship etc?

What resources do you think you might need to implement this idea or develop it further?Feedback from the teams & communication.

Your Question: - How do we implement a RES Apprenticeship Training Scheme?

The Idea:How do we take advantage of the apprenticeship levy? How do we leverage the opportunity for apprentices to alleviate pressures in under resourced areas? As a division we can utilise this resource to assist contingency and resilience planning. Also providing members of staff on lower grades, already within the division, opportunities to develop supervisory and line management skills.

Context and feedback:A RES apprentice training scheme. A bit like a graduate scheme. We hire two apprentices at grade 3/4 to provide flexible admin support across the Division. They can also provide admin support and resource to any strategic projects that we have. If anyone leaves in grade 4/5 then the apprentice is well placed to apply for and be promoted into the role. They can start immediately and have a good understanding of the systems within RES. We then recruit another apprentice to replace them. This would significantly increase the resilience of the Division.

What resources do you think you might need to implement this idea or develop it further?A financial commitment to fund the roles.

Your Question: - How do we provide our staff with development and progression planning? Can we help them to grow?

The Idea:Our division is responsible and identified in its ability to be innovative and enterprising. How do we provide those who wish to develop the time, space and signposting to do so? What is in place for people to grow and learn? There is a requirement as part of resilience and contingency planning to ensure there are members of staff in place who have the skills and capabilities to become successors. How do we do that?

Context and feedback:It would be good to formulate a clear process for requesting Job Shadowing within the division and sharing this so that people can access this to develop their skills. It does not need to be very prescriptive but just an outline of principle steps. 
Job Shadowing could also assist with cross training of people and enable individuals to apply for internal secondments within the Division. 
Training Plans 
Competency Frameworks 
Formalised processes

What resources do you think you might need to implement this idea or develop it further?Buy in from Dion and importantly all line managers so that this is truly available to all within the Division.

Your Question: - How do we improve customer service for our faculties? Can we develop closer relationships?

The Idea:A project to build closer working relationships with faculty-facing colleagues. For example, what are the specific needs of different faculty academics, and how can we (the Quality Team, QT) better support faculty-facing professional services colleagues to meet those needs? The project could begin as a pilot with one faculty, perhaps FASS or FHM, and involve helping faculty-facing staff to design data collection tools. The QT could also support with the subsequent data analysis. The initial pilot with one faculty would be used to inform a potential rollout with all faculty-facing colleagues, on a staged basis.

Context and feedback:It would be great to use the working group to discuss potential questions to ask academics in faculties about the types of support they benefit most from. There will be examples of best-practice already in the organisation, and this would be an excellent opportunity to share and learn across different disciplines.

What resources do you think you might need to implement this idea or develop it further?We would need a bit of time, and good-will, from a small number of faculty facing support staff initially, to start the conversation. Additionally, we would need to identify a small number of friendly academic colleagues to look over initial drafts of the questionnaires.

Your Question: - How do we share management best practice? Can we learn from each other?

The Idea:As managers it can be that we work in silos. Sometimes we need a sounding board, sometimes we need assistance with determining a new approach. How can we, as managers’ work together to share best practice? Maybe around PDR practices, team meetings, engaging/motivating staff, and self-management. 
Let’s identify ways in which we can work together to develop individually and as a group.

Context and feedback:Better alignment of PDR process (and paperwork) with RES strategy, aims and objectives, for all staff. In terms of RES working better, having a joined-up PDR process can bring the division closer together. 
Review and discussion in relation to coaching and mentoring internally to the division.

What resources do you think you might need to implement this idea or develop it further?

Your Question: - How do we understand what senior managers are working on? Can you show us how and where we (staff teams) fit in?

The Idea:Here is an opportunity to create a plan for developing how we learn more about what our managers are undertaking. Senior managers’ work on high level projects and are involved in processes such as PDR's which directly link to the strategy of the University and Division. Can you identify ways for members of staff to work with management to develop their understanding of how these management processes are created, implemented and tie in to the strategy and the overall "whole."

Context and feedback:I would also like to discuss if and when individual PDRs are a real 'cascade' from more senior to more junior staff (i. e. if and where, strategic aims are cascaded through the ranks to make sure individual objectives fit in with the overall 'whole'

What resources do you think you might need to implement this idea or develop it further?Full training for all RES staff who line manage other staff, including on the links between RES strategy and individual staff tasks and duties.

Your Question: - How do we show RES as a single entity? Can we be more?

The Idea:This conference's main aim is to bring the RES division together as a single entity. The conference will provide information and learning around what other teams undertake within the division and provide a safe space for people to feel empowered to develop what RES is as a division.  
How do we ensure this message is taken forward and the work of the conference continues to develop? This may require development of a clear view of what we do as a University, how we do it and who we are. TO achieve this there is a need to develop a mission, vision and goals that align to the University 2020 strategy but also to aims and goals that work within the division itself.

Context and feedback:A project to determine a cohesive vision, mission, goals and action plan/strategy for the division as a whole. This project will entail division-wide consultation of all employees to create a joined up and engaging view for how the division will move forward.

What resources do you think you might need to implement this idea or develop it further?Buy in from senior leadership

Your Question: - How do we collect data, metrics and outputs? Can we do it better?

The Idea:LU has a lot of frameworks and league tables that we report into e.g. TEF, REF (e.g. Environment Statement) and KEF, QS and THE Global Impact Rankings etc. To what extent do the metrics we need to gather overlap? Is there an opportunity to share best practice across ‘frameworks’ and methods for gathering and reporting relevant data? This could also lead to wider discussions pertaining to evidence collection, evaluation and metrics gathered across the University which links to project exit reports (e.g. Research Council, ERDF), IAA reporting, accreditations etc.

Context and feedback:To what extent do REF Environment (particularly engagement and collaboration references) overlap with the proposed KEF framework?

What resources do you think you might need to implement this idea or develop it further?

Your Question: - How can we work smarter? How can we use our space and time more efficiently?

The Idea:We are currently undertaking a move within the division but how can we use the space and our time more efficiently? What innovative ways can we work smarter not harder? Every day people are looking for ways to make the work day fit their needs or the space they work in more appropriate for what they do. There is an opportunity to develop a strategy to implement innovative approaches to working patterns and resource utilisation.

Context and feedback:Flexible working, Home working, Hot desking, Office sharing

What resources do you think you might need to implement this idea or develop it further?