Getting flexible: Top tips for managing a diverse university workforce

With the number of short-term university contracts set to rise in the coming years, it’s never been more important for institutions to invest in reliable solutions to manage hourly paid staff

The university workforce is changing; in the last two years alone, the number of staff employed on part-time contracts increased by 3%.[1] Part-time employees make a huge contribution to the successful running of universities – they fulfil important operational roles such as post room staff and switchboard operators, to students taking on campus work in between their studies, and lecturers or research assistants visiting for one-off academic projects.

With the number of short-term university contracts set to rise in the coming years, it’s never been more important for institutions to invest in reliable solutions to manage hourly paid staff in the most time- and cost-efficient way.

This article offers tips for streamlining the management of part-time staff, so you can focus on getting the best out of your university workforce.

  1. Stay above board

One of the most important aspects of hiring hourly paid staff is ensuring that they are employed compliantly, especially if you also employ students for casual work. Collecting and checking ‘right to work’ documents promptly before they begin work is essential and ensures that students on Tier 4 visas do not breach the number of hours they are permitted to work.

  1. Consolidation is key

Does your university use short-term contracts to employ a range of staff? Perhaps you manage operational, student and academic staff who are all employed on short-term contracts. If the answer is yes, then consider bringing the management of these contracts into a single system – this will streamline the processes associated with employing part-time staff, ultimately saving you time and money.

  1. Fewer steps, less error, better workflow

Think about how you pay hourly-paid staff. Do they submit paper time sheets for contracted hours that are processed manually? Is your payroll team manually applying different pay and holiday rates? Are payment claims waiting until the last minute to be authorised? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it’s time to invest in a system that automates the end-to-end workflow. This can be a quick solution that will make a huge difference, potentially saving days of wasted time and dramatically reducing the margin of error when it comes to processing payments.

  1. See the bigger financial picture

It may be beginning of a new year, however you’re likely to be part of the way through your financial year already. Careful financial planning will likely be at the top of your priority list. Make sure you have safeguards in place when it comes to budgeting for part-time staff and choose a nimble system that allows you to control payroll spending and prevents department managers from over-committing to payroll costs.

VT2000 is a flexible, easy-to-use software solution used by some of the UK’s leading universities to manage hourly-paid and casual staff. Find out more about VT2000 here: www.vt2000.info

[1] HESA, Higher Education Staff Statistics: UK, 2017/18, January 2019, available: hesa.ac.uk/news/24-01-2019/sb253-higher-education-staff-statistics 

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