UoB Knowledge Network

Knowledge Network is a scheme set up by the Resource Managers Group to provide opportunities for all administrative, technical and professional services staff on grades A-K to build networks with their peers.

The aim is to share and broaden skills, knowledge and expertise on work related issues for both professional and /or career development. Most importantly it is about putting colleagues in touch with other staff doing similar work in other departments, faculties, schools or divisions, and to establish an informal network that is mutually supportive and beneficial.

Who is it for?

It’s aimed at all administrative, technical and professional services staff on grades A-K inclusive.

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What’s involved?

Initially the Knowledge Network will be facilitated by short exchange programmes and visits, i.e. where two people are connected and spend some time in each other’s workplace. In due course we hope to introduce a mentoring scheme and some on-line materials.

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How does the exchange work?

To begin with this is being rolled out on a very small and low-key scale. We expect the first exchanges to be for a couple of half days, i.e. each staff-member spends up to half a day shadowing and talking to the other partner. This would be arranged at a time that was convenient to both partners and fits in with your workload (the exchange would have to be approved by both departments/divisions). We hope to launch the first exchanges during August and September 2009.

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Why would I want to do this?

It’s a chance to meet other colleagues doing similar work and talk to them about your job and theirs. You could learn some new ideas or hone your techniques, perhaps work together to design a new process, write a procedure or fix a problem which one or both of you are dealing with or simply share good practice. Talking with a peer might help you to think of other, perhaps better, ways of doing your job.  Or it could just lead to meeting a friendly person that you can call from time to time about a work related issue.

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What do I do if I’m interested?

In the first instance you should talk to your line manager. Most departmental, divisional and faculty managers regularly attend the University’s Resource Managers Group and this scheme is supported by them, so we hope that most managers will be encouraging of staff wishing to undertake a short exchange.

You or your line manager can also contact the Steering Group for more information if necessary.

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What are the expected outcomes?

No formal outcomes are expected. The outcomes are what you choose to make them. They could include: that you learnt a better way of doing something; or you found things in the other person’s job that you would like to do and could talk to your manager about changing your own role. It could be that you discover your own job isn’t as bad as you thought it was! And even that you’ve just make a friendly contact who you can arrange to meet from time to time to talk about work stuff in a constructive way.

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Are there any cost implications for my department’s budget?

There are no budgetary implications. The only resource implications are that you will be out of your workplace for a few hours but since the idea is that you gain something useful from the experience we hope that most managers don’t see it as encroaching on your workload.

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What happens after the exchange?

Mostly that’s up to you. We will ask you to fill in a questionnaire to give us some feedback. This will be a few standard questions and then the opportunity to say whether you think the scheme is any good and how it could be improved. After that you can choose whether or not to stay in touch with your exchange partner, maybe just meeting for lunch occasionally would be enough. Alternatively you could ask for an exchange with another partner and keep growing your network.

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How is the Knowledge Network scheme evaluated?

Evaluation of the exchange programme will be informed by the questionnaire and by feedback from managers on whether or not they have found exchanges in their team to be beneficial and if department or divisional heads are supportive.

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Further information

For further information on the Knowledge Network please contact either Jessica Inglis, Chair of the Resource Managers Group - Email: jessica.inglis@bristol.ac.uk Telephone: (0117) 928 8956.  Alternatively please contact Steve Gaze, Teaching Services Manager - Email: Steve.Gaze@bristol.ac.uk Telephone: (0117) 928 8338