Operational Excellence

Operational Excellence is a program that provides practical, "how to steps" for many of the administrative tasks performed at Western. Operational Excellence is open to those in administrative roles at Western. You are encouraged to participate in topics related to your role.

Workshops/Modules/Guides

Note: Within many of the workshop descriptions below, you will find User Guides, Reference Sheets and Short Videos. You are encouraged to access these, even if a workshop is not currently offered.

Facilities Management

Facilities Management: Accessing Support, Services & Submitting Work Requests (Online Guide)

Facilities Management (FM) is an essential part of daily operations on campus. You'll need to contact them to access services such as obtaining office keys, arranging parking for guests, students or employees, requesting billable and non-billable maintenance, and much more! Access self-directed, step-by-step resources below to learn how to perform the steps to request many FM services.

Target Audience:

Employees who are responsible for onboarding staff, arranging events including those with guests coming to campus, requesting facilities related maintenance, reconciling general ledger accounts, sending out large mailings, or arranging any other FM related services.

Topics:

  • Requesting, replacing and returning office keys by employees and students
  • Arranging on-campus parking for yourself, students, employees, guests, or events
  • Identifying or following up on FM charges to department general ledger accounts

Learning Resources:

Parking Procedures – user guide
Investigating FM Charges to Department Accounts – user guide
"How to" Keys Guide – web page

Finance

Financial Risk Management, Controls and Accountabilities (Workshop)                         *Registration Open*

Western employees need to ensure that delegated financial responsibilities are discharged in a manner that meets financial control standards. You will leave this session understanding how to apply financial risk management. This session will also provide an overview of guiding policies at Western, the internal controls used and a briefing on fraud and what it might look like. (Length: 1 hour)

Target Audience:

Budget Unit Heads and administrative staff and faculty responsible for financial budgeting, processing and reporting

Topics:

  • Responsibilities and accountabilities
  • Understanding risk and risk management
  • Policies and guidelines
  • Compliance
  • Fraud and financial offense
  • Areas of exposure
  • Recommended internal controls for good business practices
  • Audit requirements
  • Accountability reports

Next scheduled for:

  • October 27, 2021, 1:00 p.m - 2:30 p.m, Location: Zoom

To Register:

  • Sign into "My Human Resources"
  • Select Training
  • Select Enroll in Internal Training Courses
  • Select Search by Course Number - Type in "OPER2"
  • Find your course and View Available Sessions
  • Click on the session you plan to attend
  • Submit your registration
  • Print the confirmation screen for your records
  • You will receive a Zoom invitation two days before the session

Fundamentals of Financial Services (Workshop)

This introductory session provides participants with an overview of the core operations of Financial Services and reviews the support available to units across campus. Participants will gain an understanding of the structure of Western's financial systems and reporting requirements, grasp basic financial terminology and learn fundamental accounting concepts. This course will be particularly helpful to those individuals who are new to their roles. (Length: 2 hours)

Target Audience:

Employees responsible for financial management and reporting, and administrative staff involved in financial transactions and monitoring functions

Topics:

  • Introduction to Financial Services - what we do, and who we are
  • Accounting fundamentals
  • Fund accounting
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Classification of funds at Western
  • Definitions of unrestricted/internally restricted and externally restricted funds
  • Contribution types (operating grants, Tuition fees, research funding, capital projects etc.)
  • Conditions of use, guidelines to adhere to
  • Internal reporting availability and use of
  • External reporting (donors, research, audited financial statements
  • Chart of accounts – structure, chart field combinations, speed codes, accounts
  • Budget year and periods
  • Taxes (HST)

Next planned for:

  • Next course date to be scheduled.

One Time Payments (Workshop)                                                                                             

At Western, there are times when we need to pay individuals, corporations, or organizations and it is not always clear which method to use. In this case-based workshop participants will learn the critical thinking and key questions to determine which method to use to request a one time payment, the implications and other considerations when making a one time payment, and supporting documentation requirements. (Length: 2 hours)

Prerequisite:

Participants should attend the Operational Excellence Series sessions Principles of Procurement at Western (OPER16) and Pay Requisition & Administration (OPER8), or have good working knowledge about these processes, prior to attending this workshop.

Target Audience:

Administrators responsible for processing, reviewing or approving one time payments.

Topics:

  • Payment methods (NCNER, JRAF, Pay Requisition, P-Card, Cheque Requisition, etc.)
  • Terms and definitions
  • Key questions to help determine the payment method to request
  • Documentation to include

Next planned for:

  • Next course date to be scheduled

Procurement Basics (Online Module)

This an online interactive course is made up of 4 brief learning modules. Participants learn key information and processes to make purchases that follow Western's guidelines and procedures! (Total length: 45 minutes)

Target Audience:

Western employees who are new to a procurement role, responsible for financial budgeting and reporting, have approval authorities, and those looking for a refresher on procurement related activities.

Topics:

  • Western procurement policies and guidelines
  • Selecting the appropriate procurement tool
  • How to use Mustang Market

Access the Online Course:

Travel Expense Claims: Guidelines & Process (Workshop)                                                 

This session provides participants with an understanding of the policies and guidelines that govern travel and expense claim processes. Functionality of the online Western Financials claims process will be reviewed as well as other reimbursement options available. Best practices for making travel arrangements will be presented. (Length: 1 hour)

See also:

Travel Expense Claims: Using the System (OPER20) for a hands-on workshop.

Target Audience:

Individuals who approve travel and expense claims and administrative staff supporting the claims process. This session is also available to individuals that travel and submit expenses.

Topics:

  • Principles, guidelines and policies governing travel expenses
  • Making travel arrangements
  • Approval and authorization process
  • Allowable travel and other eligible expense
  • Common errors
  • Reimbursement process

Next planned for:

  • Next course date to be scheduled

Learning Resources:

Creating a Cash Advance – video 
Creating a Travel and Expense Claim FAQ’s – reference sheet 
Creating a Travel and Expense Claim User Guide – user guide

Visit the Financial Services Training & Reference page for additional resources

Travel Expense Claims: Using the System (Workshop)

In this hands-on session, participants will learn how to use the online Travel and Expense Claim system in Western Financials to enter, submit and approve travel and expense claims. (Length: 1.5 hours)

See also:

Travel and Expense Claims: Guidelines & Process (OPER3) for policies and process information.

Target Audience:

Individuals who approve travel and expense claims and administrative staff supporting the claims process and individuals who travel and submit expenses.

Topics:

  • Navigating the Online Travel and Expense Claims system
  • Creating a new claim
  • Modifying, submitting and printing a claim
  • Documents to include with your claim
  • Approving a claim

Next planned for:

  • Next course date to be scheduled

Learning Resources:

Creating a Cash Advance – video
Creating a Travel and Expense Claim FAQ’s – reference sheet
Creating a Travel and Expense Claim User Guide – user guide

Visit the Financial Services Training & Reference page for additional resources

Western Financials - General Ledger Inquiries (Workshop)                                                 *Registration Open*

This hands-on course will provide familiarity with Western’s accounting environment and the ability to perform basic financial inquiries. The material presented will be of particular interest to staff that are new to performing inquiries as a part of their job, and will cover the essentials, but will not cover all of the reporting options.

There will be a prerequisite exercise to provide some base knowledge about general navigation and definitions that will not be explained in the session. (Length: 1.5 hours, Lab)

Target Audience:

Western employees who are new to reviewing or analyzing financial information as part of their job.

Topics:

  • Inquiry overview functionality demonstrated using Programs and Projects
  • Investigating transaction details using module specific pages (outside of the GL Inquiry)
  • Research project inquiries
  • Department wide inquiries (multiple programs)
  • Unit or division inquiries (multiple departments)
  • A brief introduction to nVision reports

Next planned for:

  • October 28, 2021, 1:00-2:30 pm

To Register:

  • Sign into "My Human Resources"
  • Select Training
  • Select Enroll in Internal Training Courses
  • Select Search by Course Number - Type in "OPER12"
  • Find your course and View Available Sessions
  • Click on the session you plan to attend
  • Submit your registration
  • Print the confirmation screen for your records
  • You will receive a Zoom invitation two days before the session

Learning Resources:

Western Financials Overview – video
Navigating Western Financials - reference sheet

Visit the Financial Services Training & Reference page for additional resources 

Western Financials - Online Journal Entries (Workshop or Online Module)                                       

This hands-on course will provide familiarity with Western’s on-line Journal Entry ‘creation to completion’ process and provide the ability to perform other journal functions; including editing, copying and deleting. There will be a prerequisite exercise to provide some base knowledge about general navigation and definitions that will not be explained in the session. (Length: 1.5 hours, Lab)

Target Audience:

Western employees who are new to completing journal entries in Western Financials as part of their job.

Topics:

  • Journal Entry overview
  • Journal Entry creation (detailed navigation and required steps)
  • Understanding journal entry status (including Edit, Budget and Post)
  • Viewing journals that have different statuses (primarily Posted and Unposted)
  • Copying journals
  • Deleting journals
  • Printing journals

Next planned for:

  • Next course date to be scheduled

Access the Online Course:

Learning Resources:

Western Financials Overview – video 
Navigating Western Financials - reference sheet 

Visit the Financial Services Training & Reference page for additional resources 

Information and Resource Security

Reporting Concerns of Financial Misuse (Workshop)

In this session, participants will learn about Western’s Safe Disclosure Policy (also known as a Whistleblower Policy); what it is, when it might apply and how to use it. Like a fire drill, be prepared. Learn how to recognize and respond to potential financial misuse. Know the process and tools available in the unlikely event that you need them. This course is a staple for all administrators. (Length: 2 hours)

Target Audience:

Employees responsible for financial management and reporting, and administrative staff involved in financial transactions and monitoring functions.

Topics:

  • Introduction to Internal Audit
  • Fraud 101
  • Origins of safe disclosure
  • Western's safe disclosure policy
  • What the policy covers, what it doesn't
  • How to use the policy
  • Overview of the investigation/reporting process

Next planned for:

  • Next course date to be scheduled

Working Securely in Remote or Hybrid Teams Roundtable (Workshop)

How do I ensure the information used for my work at Western is safe and secure when working remotely, or in a mix of a remote and on-campus team?  What are the best practices to ensure financial, employee, student, research or other information are protected?  Join us for roundtable to ask questions of our subject experts and learn best practices related to information security and privacy when working in our remote and hybrid environments. (Length: 1 hour)

Target Audience:

Administrators working in faculties and ancillary units at Western.

Next planned for:

  • Next course date to be scheduled

Your Role in Protecting Corporate Information (Workshop)

In this workshop about the appropriate use of Information at Western, participants will learn the different classifications of data and how to protect each type (employee, research, financial, and student data). Participants will also learn what to do in the event of a security breach and best practices for the collection, use, disclosure, storage and destruction of personal information. (Length: 1.5 hours)

Target Audience:

Administrative staff who work with employee, financial, research or student information.

Topics:

  • Data classification at Western
  • Data Life Cycle
  • Proper handling of personal information including collection, use, disclosure, storage and destruction
  • What to do in the event of a security breach
  • Overview of the laws and policies that govern information

Next planned for:

  • Next course date to be scheduled

Orientation 

New Administrator Orientation (Workshop)                                                                             *Registration Open*

Welcome to your new role at Western! Being new in an administrative role can be challenging. There is a lot to do and many things to know. Join us for this overview session to get oriented to departments, services and key resources available at Western to help you have a successful start. (Length: 1.5 hours)

Target Audience:

New administrators involved in financial, human resources, or other administrative capacity.

Next scheduled for:

  • November 10, 2021, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm, Location: Zoom

To Register:

  • Sign into "My Human Resources"
  • Select Training
  • Select Enroll in Internal Training Courses
  • Select Search by Course Number - Type in "OPER24"
  • Find your course and View Available Sessions
  • Click on the session you plan to attend
  • Submit your registration
  • Print the confirmation screen for your records
  • You will receive a Zoom invitation two days before the session

People 

Graduate Student Appointment Processing (Online Module)

In this online training module, participants will learn how to use automated and online functionality to appoint Graduate Students. (Time to complete: approximately 45 minutes)

Target Audience:

Administrative staff supporting the graduate student appointments

Topics:

  • Appointing GTAs and GRAs online
  • Making changes to existing appointments
  • Pay administration
  • Reporting on employment and pay

Access the Online Module:

Immigration Requirements for Hiring for Foreign Nationals (Workshop)

Hiring or inviting a foreign national to Western involves different government requirements and programs. In this session, participants will learn about the two major program, Temporary Foreign Worker Program and International Mobility program, which are most frequently used for workers and international visitors to campus. (Length: 2 hours)

Target Audience:

Those who support academic leaders in the appointment process of hiring foreign nationals (faculty/staff/post-docs and visiting professors) including completing recruitment search forms, appointment and contract letters (if applicable) and collecting required immigration documents for payment processes.

Topics:

Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

  • Purpose
  • Advertising requirements for high-skilled workers and academics
  • Labour market impact assessments (LMIA)
  • Compliance

International Mobility Program (IMP)

  • Purpose
  • CIC categories for Reciprocal Academic Exchanges
  • Advertising requirements for high-skilled workers
  • Invitation letters
  • Compensation including scholarships, living allowances and reimbursement of receiptable travel expenses
  • Appointment processing - Academic or Associated Persons
  • Immigration documentation required
  • Compliance

Next planned for: 

  • Next course date to be scheduled

Overview of PeopleSoft Human Resources for New Administrator (Workshop)               

In this overview session, participants will learn about the information and functions available to administrators, including accessing employee information and the various reports that can be run. It is designed for those who are NEW to working with the administration side of the system. (Length: 1 hour)

Target Audience:

New end users of the HR system including: administrative officers, payroll assistants/coordinators, recruiters, graduate student administrators, operational managers.

Topics:

  • What is My Human Resources
  • Access requests and security
  • Viewing department employee information (personal, employment and Job Data)
  • Available reports

Next planned for:

  • Next course date to be scheduled

Pay Requisition and Administration (Workshop)                                                                     

Participants will gain an understanding of the processes involved in paying Western employees on-time and accurately. The types of pay, reconciliation, and risks involved will also be reviewed. (Length: 1.5 hours)

Target Audience:

Those who are accountable for the collection, input and verification of pay for hourly paid employees as well as those accountable for requisitioning additional pays for monthly paid employees. These include payroll assistants, administrative officers, financial assistants, faculty/staff relations coordinators, and operational leaders.

Topics:

  • Pay cycles - which employment types are paid when
  • Reading a payroll calendar and understanding tasks to be completed
  • Earnings types
  • Funding accounts and online changes
  • Requisition for hourly paid employees
  • Requisition of overtime and other earnings types
  • Job related additional earnings
  • Payment for additional duties
  • Pay calculations and reconciliations
  • Vacation pay
  • Benefit recovery charges
  • SALCOM queries and tools

Next planned for:

  • Next course to be scheduled

Working at Western: Part-Time Recruitment (Online Module)

This on-line course is required prior to administrators gaining access to the Working at Western functionality on My Human Resources. The course is delivered in three self-study modules, and provides participants with an understanding of the on-line recruitment process for hiring part-time faculty and staff. Participants will learn how to create a job opening, manage applicants, create an offer letter and submit the hire. (Time to complete entire course: approximately one hour)

Target Audience:

Only those who support and coordinate the recruitment process for part-time faculty and/or part-time staff positions at Western.

Access to Recruitment in PeopleSoft HR:

Must follow all appropriate security approval processes in your faculty or unit.

Topics:

  • Creating a job opening
  • Managing applicants
  • Creating an offer letter
  • Submitting the hire

Access the Online Module:

Work Study Student – Appointment Processing (Workshop)

In this session, participants will learn to use automated and online functionality to appoint Work Study students. (Length: 1.5 hours)

Target Audience:

Administrative staff responsible for appointing work study students.

Topics:

  • Appointment, administration and approver roles
  • Hiring and appointing Work Study students
  • Minimum employment standards for students
  • Pay administration for students
  • Reporting on student employment and pay

Next planned for:

  • Next course date to be scheduled

Learning Resources:

Work Study Program Procedure Manual – user guide

Research

Capturing Scholarly Research Impact Using InCites & Web of Science (Workshop)          *Registration Open*

Research impact is the way that research benefits individuals, organizations, and communities. This workshop will walk you through the InCites and Web of Science platforms which are available to researchers and administrators at Western. Each has a variety of indicators to describe research impact. If you are involved in helping faculty with research grant applications, tenure applications, or award nominations this workshop is for you. (Length 1.5 hours)

Target audience:

Administrators involved in reporting on research activities, the development of research grant proposals, award and/or tenure applications, or strategic planning related to research.

Topics:

  • Tools used to highlight the impact of research
  • Indicators available to describe scholarly impact and what each means
  • Finding research indicators using InCites and Web of Science
  • How InCites and Web of Science help research administrators

Next scheduled for:

  • November 24, 2021, 1:00 p.m - 2:30 p.m, Location: Zoom

To Register:

  • Sign into "My Human Resources"
  • Select Training
  • Select Enroll in Internal Training Courses
  • Select Search by Course Number - Type in "OPER26"
  • Find your course and View Available Sessions
  • Click on the session you plan to attend
  • Submit your registration
  • Print the confirmation screen for your records
  • You will receive a Zoom invitation two days before the session

Research Finance: Understanding the Financial Side of Research Projects (Workshop)  *Registration Open*

This session supports the financial management of research projects to ensure funds are utilized as intended and in accordance with the terms, conditions and regulations of the funding sources as well as University policies and procedures. Participants will gain an understanding of the non-financial and financial information available through Western Financials and learn how this information can assist with financial status monitoring. (Length: 2 hours)

Target audience:

Researchers, financial administrators, administrative staff as well as research students and employees that support the financial processes and management of research projects

Topics:

  • Overview of how to access statement and summary information
  • Budget periods, dates, funding source, project information
  • Review financial and non-financial information
  • Budget, actual expenses, current period, cumulative amounts, revenue, expenses, encumbrances
  • Speed codes and researcher identification
  • Over expenditures
  • External reporting
  • Guidelines, policies and procedures
  • Funding sources and programs (including Tri-Agency)
  • Tasks and navigational assignments

Next scheduled for:

  • October 28, 2021, 9:00 a.m - 10:30 a.m, Location: Zoom

To Register:

  • Sign into "My Human Resources"
  • Select Training
  • Select Enroll in Internal Training Courses
  • Select Search by Course Number - Type in "OPER4"
  • Find your course and View Available Sessions
  • Click on the session you plan to attend
  • Submit your registration
  • Print the confirmation screen for your records
  • You will receive a Zoom invitation two days before the session

Learning Resources:

Post Award Research Admin – Roles & Responsibilities - user guide 
Print & Read a Research Project Monthly Financial Statement – video 
Research Finance Post-Award Project Administration – user guide 

Visit the Financial Services Training & Reference page for additional resources 

Supporting Research: Grant Applications & Financial Activities Roundtable (Workshop) *Registration Open*

What are the steps required to apply for a research grant? What needs to occur before funds are released? What is an eligible expense on a research grant? Join us for this roundtable, to get answers to these and many other of your own research related questions from subject experts in Western Research and Research Finance. (Length: 1 hour)

Target Audience:

Administrators who support research grant applications or financial activities for funded grants.

Note: For more detailed step-by-step learning please also attend:

  • Using ROLA – Research On-line Administrative System, and
  • Research Finance: Understanding the Financial Side of Research Projects

Next scheduled for:

  • November 18, 2021, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm, Location: Zoom

To Register:

  • Sign into "My Human Resources"
  • Select Training
  • Select Enroll in Internal Training Courses
  • Select Search by Course Number - Type in "OPER25"
  • Find your course and View Available Sessions
  • Click on the session you plan to attend
  • Submit your registration
  • Print the confirmation screen for your records
  • You will receive a Zoom invitation two days before the session

Using ROLA, Research On-line Administration System (Workshop)                                      

In this workshop, participants will learn how ROLA supports and integrates research administration management processes at Western, from the pre-application phase through to post-award. The session will address ROLA user access, where to find research funding opportunities, creating and submitting ROLA proposals for approvals, award activation and electronic records management (Laserfiche). (Length: 2 hours)

Target Audience:

Administrative/research staff who support faculty in applying for research funding, managing research awards, and/or who provide guidance on these processes.

Topics:

  • What are ROLA and Laserfiche?
  • ROLA system access
  • Finding research funding opportunities
  • Creating and submitting ROLA proposals
  • Generation and activation of research projects
  • Performing searches in ROLA

Next planned for:

  • Next course date to be scheduled

Program Details

Who Should Participate: Operational Excellence is designed to help those in administrative roles perform the work that is currently a part of your role at Western. Each course focuses on specific administrative job functions. Please review the course descriptions to determine what will be helpful to you.

Workshops are delivered in person on campus or virtually using Zoom, and range from one to 2.5 hours in length. Workshops are repeated throughout the year; frequency will vary by course. Presenters are subject experts from Human Resources, Financial Services, Faculty Relations and other units. Workshop resources will be available online.

Online modules are self-directed learning that take between 8 and 45 minutes to complete. Participants complete steps in a process and are given feedback along the way.

Successful Completion Tracking: When you complete a workshop or online module, it is noted in your My Human Resources training record after achieving 70% or higher on an online quiz in OWL.

Western's Administrative Policies & Procedures

For all of the policies and procedures that govern activities at Western, review the Manual of Administrative Policies & Procedures

Additional Learning

There are a number of other learning opportunities and resources that are of benefit to those in administrative roles at Western. Select the links below for details.

Administrator Toolbox

Professional Development

Western Certificate in Management (Western CIM)


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