Throwing the Baby Out With the Bathwater and Other Changes Made to Improve Office Operations: Successes and Missteps


Description of the Research
Motivated to make our human research protection program even stronger after earning AAHRPP accreditation status, we (management) decided to strengthen operations by making changes.  Focusing on ways to strike a balance between our Program's administrative processing requirements, maximizing employee job satisfaction and reducing turn-around times and boosting metrics, we began by making subtle changes to the operations of the office. We extended office hours to better support the research community which also allowed for early and late work shifts for employees, we offered a 100% casual dress code for employees, we redesigned our project database to capture better information needed for more accurate reporting, and implemented the use of an Investigator Restricted List restricting investigators from submitting applications with incomplete education requirements.

Embracing the idea of change was as easy as singing David Bowie's song Changes and we began making more dramatic changes at a quick pace.  When we heard gripes about almost anything, we implemented a change to fix the problem.   When we heard complaints of heavy work-loads from the team, we revamped the way work was distributed; we implemented deadlines for submissions and easily created an electronic delivery system of approval letters and consent forms without having a formal electronic submission system in place.

In trying to find the perfect balance of work load per employee, research community satisfaction and shortest turn-around times, we recognized the dynamic tension between having a stable, longstanding operation and a desire to improve processes at every opportunity.  We realized that continuously making changes to our operations also produced the opposite effect of our desired results of efficiency and satisfaction.

Our poster will illustrate processes we changed, new improvements we started, and the changes we stopped, while never affecting our accreditation requirements and will highlight our successes and missteps.