U of T launches Manager Self-Service team management solution

Requesting, approving and tracking vacation at U of T used to involve multiple emails, spreadsheets and a lot of patience. Now, a new application for managers will streamline the vacation process, providing valuable business insights and saving time and money.

The Division of Human Resources and Equity, in partnership with Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration (EASI), launched a pilot of Manager Self-Service (MSS) reporting on January 31.

Highlights of the online application include a team calendar where managers can view their entire team’s schedule and important dates. Managers can also see their employees’ reporting structure, training, absences, and vacation projections and liability.

“We looked at the amount of time that people were devoting to requesting, approving and tracking vacation and the solution became apparent that this was something we needed to do,” says Hayley Fuller, Project and Change Management Consultant at the Division of Human Resources and Equity.

Each month, over 10,000 requests for vacation time, personal days and sick days are submitted and tracked. Collectively, U of T is spending 2,415 hours per year managing vacation. By using MSS, the team estimates that it could cut this time in half and save over $550,000 in people hours during the first year and over $970,000 in three years.

“An improved vacation tracking system has been on my wish list for a long time,” says Renée Brost, Manager of Finance and Administration at the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research. “At the moment, we are tracking vacations in multiple spreadsheets and it’s a time consuming and error-prone process. This new system will decrease the number of shadow systems and will become a one-stop shop.”

MSS has already been piloted with many units, including Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Rotman School of Management, Financial Services, the Donnelly Centre, the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Rotman Commerce, and the Division of Human Resources and Equity. Due to the success of the pilot, MSS reporting will be rolled out to managers across the University by June 2018.

The team consulted with a functional user group with representatives from each of the pilot groups and HR managers from across the University.

Karen Jang-Leung, along with Brost, took part in this group. “In our area, this new system will help manage staff coverage during peak times like year-end and with student payments and inquiries during registration. A lot of time, energy and expertise from different areas contributed to this project, and it will be exciting to see how it evolves in the future,” says Jang-Leung, business officer in the Finance Division.

Next, the application will evolve to enable online vacation requests and approvals. A pilot of online vacation requests and approvals is scheduled to begin in summer 2018, and if all goes to plan, the full-fledged application will launch to the entire University community by December 2018.

The system is part of a larger U of T initiative called the Human Resources Technology Roadmap, projected to save the University $1.5 million annually. Over the next three to five years, HR and Equity and EASI will embark on this program to modernize HR systems and launch new tools for a more cohesive and efficient digital workplace.

“We’re trying to empower managers to manage their staff with effective tools,” says Fuller. “We want to make HR processes more transparent and this is just one of many tools and programs that we’re rolling out that will help to make that happen.”