Exit Process Initiative Begins Implementing Recommendations

Last spring, the Office of Operational Excellence created the Exit Process Initiative to streamline and improve the employment exit process from the University. Since that time, the Initiative Team, led by Sheri Starkey, Associate Vice President for Human Resources, has been working to look at the exit process through the eyes of all involved, document the process, identify areas for improvements, and create a new electronic process for benefit-eligible faculty and staff.

To address the opportunities they identified in the process, the team created a series of recommendations and future opportunities that are currently being implemented:

Develop Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the exit process – The SOP will include identification of all responsible parties and roles for the exit process, Identification and definition of terms used, outline of the complete timeline and distribution of the termination process. This new SOP will give SMU consistency across departments and schools, improved response time and efficiency and reduced financial and compliance risks.

Create electronic exit form for benefit-eligible faculty and staff – the new forms will use Gideon Taylor forms software and will use a third party vendor to facilitate implementation. The new form will provide the University with a consistent exit process for faculty and staff, expedite notifications to terminate access and the clearance process, automate the termination and increase efficiency and completion time. Until the new forms are complete, the existing faculty electronic form will be revised to provide users with a more efficient experience until the new process is complete.

Enhance timely communication between supervisors and HR regarding termination procedures for faculty and staff – The communication plan includes new monthly messages to supervisors to prompt termination reporting and share importance and impact of timely and accurate time sheet entries and approvals. The SMU Manager Blog serves as the main vehicle for communication and will be home to checklists and FAQs for employees leaving SMU and managers. Increased communication about the exit process will improve awareness of policies and best practices and reduce the risks associated with processing late terminations.

Identify liaison within each business unit and school to provide education and training to manage terminations, pay papers, and time keeping – In 90% of exits, the structure exists and is working well. But creating liaisons offers HR the opportunity to work with business units and schools to train and educate on managing terminations, pay papers and time-keeping.

While the larger recommendations are being implemented, the team developed some quick fixes to jumpstart improvements in the exit process. Concur approval delegates will be initiated and HR will establish a master time approver at the point of termination. They will also use PeopleSoft to identify H1b visa employees to manage timely and appropriate visa status and track exiting employee rehire eligibility.

Moving forward, the Initiative Team believes there are additional opportunities associated with terminating access rights for those with access to University-wide systems and communications platforms. They will also work with the Access Control Initiative to develop a centralized inventory for all recoverable items provided to employees such as computers, tablets, phones/pagers, keys,​ uniforms​, vehicles, P-Cards/Credit Cards, ​Org subscriptions​, other misc. equipment. The initiative team will also review the reporting and approving of time, vacation accruals, temporary employee exits and the exit survey currently used when terminating staff.

By Nick Rallo