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Project UNITY will improve HR and financial processes for Concordia employees

‘The community told us what improvements are needed, and we are working to meet them’
February 25, 2020

In a bid to improve the overall employee experience at Concordia, Human Resources (HR), Financial Services (FS) and Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS) are collaborating to simplify and standardize administrative processes at the university.

Project UNITY comes after consultations with the community that took place over the past few years, including detailed needs assessments, surveys and community exposure to possible software solutions.

Supported by a multi-functional project team, HR and FS are working together with Concordia’s Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS) to replace the current aging Human Resources system (Empath) and Financial Services system Millennium (Banner) with a modern ecosystem based on SAP solutions — with an emphasis on mordernizing processes for both departments.

‘A unified and harmonized employee experience’

The objectives of project UNITY are to improve employee experience and efficiencies, expand reporting and analytical tools to support timely and effective decision making, and enable strategic support to the university.

“The project aims to deliver a harmonized employee experience for faculty and staff members, and the Concordia community as a whole,” says Denis Cossette, Concordia’s chief financial officer, who is co-executive sponsor of the project, along with Roger Côté, vice-president, Services.

“We want to provide Concordia’s faculty and staff with self-serve capabilities and real time data,” Côté says.

“The new ways of working will reduce time spent on administrative tasks, provide more data for enhanced decision-making and strengthen our ability to focus on pursuing academic and research growth.”

Côté explains that past input from the Concordia community also called for a reduction of non-value-added manual and paper-supported tasks.

“Those desired improvements in our processes and systems are top of mind for the project team,” he says.  

Roger Côté, vice-president, Services. Roger Côté, vice-president, Services.

Why project UNITY?

The name UNITY was chosen by HR, Financial Services and IITS staff seconded to work on the project.

“We thought it was the perfect name because it reflects what we’re aiming to do, says Côté.

“The project brings together different Concordia services, fosters collaboration and contributes to Concordia’s mission and strategic directions.”

Project UNITY’s key benefits

  • Enhanced and harmonized employee-experience
  • Simplified processes
  • Less paper, more digital experience (e.g. phone-enabled expense reports, work flows)
  • Focus on added-value and core activities
  • Easier access to data (e.g. information to manage grants and budgets, employee profile, benefits, tracking of requisitions, and vacation balances in real time)
  • More self-serve activities
Denis Cossette unveils the name of the project, chosen from proposals by project team members Denis Cossette unveils the name of the project, chosen from proposals by project team members.

Training and support

One concern that emerged during consultations, before the kick-off of the project, was whether there would be sufficient preparation and ongoing training for the new system and processes prior to, and after, implementation.

This was echoed in interviews that the project’s change, communication and training team held with university leadership.

“We have heard these concerns loudly and clearly,” says Cossette. “That’s why we made sure that a full-time change management, communication and training team was working on the project right from the beginning.” 

“Input from the community is being used to craft the change strategy”, he adds.

“We plan to frequently communicate and meet with employees to prepare them for the changes ahead. We are building a blended training strategy that combines classroom-based and online learning. And we will ensure to provide appropriate and sufficient training activities, before and after the implementation. A plan to support users, not only for the implementation of the project, but over the long term, is being put in place.”

Next steps

A variety of engagement opportunities are scheduled in the coming months. These include sharing information on the project Cspace page, offering discussion forums in which the broader community can participate, and sessions where project UNITY will share its progress and demonstrations of the new system. 

The first phase of the project is underway, and implementation of the solution is planned for November, 2020. More functions will be added in 2021.

Your project UNITY questions answered

How will project UNITY impact my employee experience?

Your employee experience will be positively impacted, as this transformation will reduce repetitive tasks. You will have easier access to information and self-serve activities. For instance, you will be able to: 

  • Access your personal information
  • Submit your expense reports online and vacation requests
  • Monitor your budgets or grants, and consult online reports 

When will this transformation happen?

The first phase of the project is underway, and implementation of the solution is planned for November, 2020. More functions will be added in 2021.

Project UNITY aligned with Academic and services calendar to identify the optimal timing.

Will I be trained on the new systems and processes? 

Yes. Training for the new system and processes will be offered prior to and after implementation. It will include classroom-based, online learning, and on-site support that will remain beyond the November go-live. 

Can I take vacation over the summer?

Yes. There will be plenty of training opportunities over a number of months, before and after November 2020. Your vacation will not affect your ability to benefit from these opportunities.

Where can I get more information?

You can share your questions and feedback at any time via the project UNITY mailbox: 

More information is also available on the project UNITY CSpace page.

For all the most updated information on project UNITY, please visit the 
dedicated Cspace page

Email to give feedback or ask questions. 


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