News from the UC Sustainability Office

Human Resources is saving trees

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awards logo smallAs part of Eco Week 2016 (September 19-24), the Sustainability Office is holding the Sustainability Awards, celebrating the efforts of our university community to improve the world around us and make UC more sustainable. In the same spirit, over the next while, we will be profiling some of the sustainability efforts and achievements of UC students and departments.

Human Resources is one of the departments within UC making great progress in becoming ‘more sustainable’. HR Advisor Melanie Seidel explains how they reduced their paper usage by more than 40,000 pages.

Who are you and what do you do at UC? 

My name is Melanie Seidel and I am part of the Development Team within the Human Resources Department. In my role as HR Advisor – Business Process Improvement & Policy Portfolio I support the wider HR team with regard to continuous improvement of our business processes and to provide overall stewardship of the HR Toolkit.

HR has made some great progress in paper savings: What inspired this change?

A key area of focus for Human Resources has been operational excellence. This includes continuous improvement of HR processes and systems to create efficiencies, as well a consistent approach and practice across UC in support of Teaching and Research. As part of these efforts ‘sustainability’ has played an important role.

What changes did HR make?

We developed the UC Temporary Vacancies (UCTV) system with the help of ITS.  This system automates the generation of high volume casual and fixed term academic offer packs. This system went live in January 2015 and since then more than 120 staff have been trained and are now actively using the system. Offer packs are sent electronically to new appointees replacing printed hardcopies.

This means that as of 24 May 2016:

  • an estimated 1500 electronic Offer Packs have been sent out using the UC Temporary Vacancies systemTrees smaller
  • on average we have saved around 45 pages of paper per Offer Pack
  • paper savings since the introduction of the UC Temporary Vacancies system is estimated to be around 43500 pieces of paper

Do you integrate sustainability in other decisions?

Where possible we do consider sustainability when making decisions. Because our department is traditionally quite reliant on paper, this means we are being particularly mindful about printing.

Are there other sustainability-focused improvements you are looking at for the future?

Yes, there are. We have recently developed an online business case for fixed term roles (less than 12 months, not advertised). This will ultimately replace the paper-based version of the business case for these roles. All Managers/Heads now have access to this online version via UCPeople/PeopleSoft.  Please contact your HR Advisor for further information or visit the HR Toolkit> Recruit & Select> Employ a Fixed Term Staff Member Under 12 Months (not advertised) UCTV.

Another initiative we are currently looking into is how we can convert our forms into electronic forms with workflows and software that can save important documentation into our digitised electronic HR Personnel Filing System (HRPF).

Want to nominate someone (or yourself) for a Sustainability Award? You can find the nomination form here. Nominations are open till the 31 August. The Awards Ceremony will take place on Friday 23 September, 5.30 – 6.30 pm at Undercroft 101.

UC Eco Week 2016 is a festival of events that celebrate and promote what you can do for the environment, your community and your life. See our webpage for updates on the events or see the event listing here.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

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Author: Puck Algera - UC Sustainability Office

Puck worked at the Sustainability Office at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. As the Sustainability Projects Coordinator, she kept busy with student and staff engagement, providing strategic input and advice and organising sustainability-focused events.

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