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Behind the Scenes: Human Resources Department

Sherrell McNamara, UMBC’s Human Resources and Information Systems Manager, has improved the quality of service for UMBC’s faculty and staff by using the RT ticketing system in HR.

While students are a priority at UMBC, the university also strives to provide support and assistance to its faculty and staff. In pursuing this mission, the Human Resources Department works daily to resolve any employee issues that may arise, including questions regarding payroll, leave, and benefits. As it is sometimes difficult to organize and keep track of these requests, HR has been an avid user of RT since the ticketing system’s initial launch on campus in February 2009. Even before RT, HR relied on a help system called Remedy in order to process any inquiry sent to the office.

Sherrell McNamara, UMBC’s Human Resources and Information Systems Manager, is one of the individuals who has worked with both the old and new system. Although Remedy did help streamline the department’s help process, McNamara admits that there were disadvantages to using the original program. “You couldn’t organize tickets, and there was no flexibility for adding comments or replies,” McNamara explains. She also notes that the limited access to the client-based program sometimes made the division of work within the department more difficult.

Although the switch to RT solved these problems, there was still a small adjustment period for the department. “We had to get past being used to the old ways of doing things,” McNamara admits. “It was easy to be overwhelmed by all the new bells and whistles.” Not only was there an adjustment period for McNamara, but university employees also had to become accustomed to the change. The requests that come to the HR office range from issues logging into PeopleSoft to notifications of address changes, and in the past most employees simply called into the office.

But while those individuals were initially hesitant to use the new ticketing system, most users now are more than willing to submit requests online after seeing the quick turnaround time. McNamara says that the majority of tickets are resolved in under 24 hours, and it is unlikely that any one ticket stays open for more than a week. “People know now that when a ticket gets sent, it’s going to be resolved,” she boasts. “It’s not just going to sit there.” Even if a ticket is not resolved right away, users can see the status of their request and any updates made to the ticket.

In addition to the ease in keeping employees satisfied, McNamara likes the organization that RT has brought to the department. Because the program is web-based, multiple individuals within HR have access to the system and are notified when a ticket is submitted. In addition, RT has allowed the department to set up different queues in order to better categorize and keep track of requests. The queue can be changed if a user submits a ticket to the wrong category, and staff members can add comments or instructions that are only seen by other individuals working on the ticket.

Overall, McNamara believes that RT has brought greater efficiency to the HR Department: “We’re aware of issues promptly, and the program provides us with a resource document so if down the road there’s a similar issue, we can go back and look at the resolution quickly.” Customer service for university employees can be tricky, but HR has been able to make the process more manageable through the use of RT.

–Article and photo by Laura Lefavor ’13, Summer 2012