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While it may seem that the official launch of the Service Center for Excellence on October 3 passed as an almost imperceptible flicker, transition plans and new process implementation are steadily being built.

One of the teams ensuring that we do so successfully is the SCE Onboarding Tar Heel Team, led by Tracy Agnew, human resources manager for Facilities Services. The team includes Lisa Daley, human resources manager for Energy Services, and Jena Kiser, office manager for the Office of the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Finance and Accounting. Bill Stockard, the Service Center’s executive director of human resources, serves as their sponsor.

“We have one of the smallest teams working on this transition, but we’ve had to do more heavy lifting than most,” Agnew said with a laugh, when describing the planning and working they’ve done for the past few months.

One of the first items the team produced was the welcome letter that was delivered the first week of the transition. It set a tone and approach that the Onboarding Team worked hard to achieve.

“It was very important to our team that we didn’t lose people,” Agnew explained. “I don’t mean physically – I mean in terms of their well-being. We want the SCE employees to feel comfortable and secure about these changes, because we recognize that for some, there has been a lot of change in recent months.”

In addition to writing the welcome letter, the team members were tasked with compiling the transitioning employee information, creating a new employee handbook, and identifying long-term onboarding ideas that can be replicated across the division.

“Because we are bringing diverse groups together, we want to make sure that there is a consistency across the board in how we work together moving forward,” Agnew said.

Examples include establishing the service center’s hours of operation, defining how an employee can ask for time off, or making sure that staff know they need to take at least a 30-minute meal break every day.

The team reviewed the policies and procedures for the SCE from both a big-picture level (referencing their guiding principles, such as service, teamwork, and high-performance culture) as well as from the ground up. Some questions they discussed include: Does the new center need a smoker’s section? Should they also include references to smoking programs for anyone who is seeking to quit? Or, how can the SCE support staff development in the employees’ professional capacities, as well as personal growth?

During the process, Agnew particularly enjoyed working with colleagues whom she had known for years but had never collaborated with before — something she felt was a good indication of things to come.

“It meant a lot to me that the leadership had confidence in their employees to give us this opportunity to influence the creation of the SCE and its outcomes,” she said. “There’s been so much work in the planning, that I really haven’t had time to reflect upon what’s happening. But now that it’s all starting to come together and we’re seeing the efforts produce good results, I’m really starting to get excited!”

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