Work shadowing is a powerful tool for strengthening collaboration with our colleagues across the University helping us in SSiD provide a more joined-up experience for students.
For most students, we are the first point of contact for a wide range of general student related information. As a “One Stop Shop” of student services’ it is important that we have an understanding of university-wide procedures and keep as up-to-date as possible with changes as they occur.
We depend on many key partnerships to provide services to students. This collaboration ranges from providing services on behalf of other departments such as student cards (CICS), Transcripts (SAS), Unclaimed degree Certificate collection (Graduation team), etc to simply providing appropriate information, signposting or referrals. Making sure we provide these service effectively depends on developing strong relationships with a whole range of colleagues and departments across the University
Our Commitment to Work-shadowing
Much information sharing is, of course, carried out online or through our regular liaison meetings with key partners. Work-shadowing, however facilitates greater insight by providing the opportunity to see systems and procedures working first hand. Work shadowing also provides an excellent opportunity for making personal contacts in sections which refer students to us and to which we refer students to in turn. These diverse departments rely on us to provide appropriate and accurate information and referrals.
We have been developing and championing work shadowing since 2006. Having colleagues visit us helps us become aware of other teams, their objectives, systems and procedures and how these all interact with our own work. Furthermore, it gives us the opportunity to explain the wide range of services we provide to students and their supporters and how we work as a team what particular pressures we face on a day to day basis. We find this is a valuable and rewarding experience, adding to our knowledge of wider University issues from a student perspective. It also enables us to build relationships with departments and individuals help improve the delivery of our services.
The Work-shadowing Programme
The work shadowing programme provides an opportunity to view the operations of our student walk-in centre which deals with 140,000 visitors a year. It also gives attendees the chance to gain some understanding, in a single session, of the work of other areas of the department and University.
Since we started the sessions over 300 colleagues from other areas have come to see what we do. Work shadowing is now an essential part of our induction and staff development programmes and we have been really pleased to see other departments building work shadowing at SSiD into theirs.
Our sessions last two hours, which include each area of our work: Walk-in Centre, Contact Centre and document production and the Student Communications suite. And all of our staff contribute their experiences and know-how to the sessions. Not only do colleagues therefore get to understand how our service operates, they also have an opportunity to meet our whole team, talk with team leaders and discuss any particular topics of interest.
Feedback from colleagues
The feedback we have received for these sessions has been overwhelmingly positive, with most colleagues giving a rating of ‘excellent’ and saying that they would recommend it. They highlight that they gained a greater understanding of the ‘one-stop shop’ to which they make referrals and the number of services provided from a single location.
- “The whole team was so professional, friendly and so helpful and you are great in your work and everyone I spoke to feels very passionate about their roles and the students, which is amazing to see. “ Information School
- “It was very useful and reassured me that students I have referred to SSiD have received the help of knowledgeable staff who have put the students concerns as priority no matter what the query is.” – Automatic Control & Systems Engineering
- “The most useful thing was hearing about the types of enquiries that can be referred to you, such as academic verifications/ results summaries etc. I wasn’t aware that you were the first point of contact for critical support, or that you could provide emergency loans, so that was interesting.