Our Strategic Plan

The 2021-24 VPFO Strategic Communications Plan

The VPFO’s strategic Communications Plan provides a moving 3-year planning window for Communications & Engagement across the VPFO, supporting the Vice-President Finance & Operations’ (VPFO) Strategic Plan, in alignment with the UBC Strategic Plan.

This strategic plan commits to continual improvement in resources, systems, and processes to ensure that the VPFO is aligning our efforts and our story to advance the university. The plan focuses on organizational-level strategic priorities and the ability of the Communications & Engagement team to enable delivery of these priorities. Individual department/group plans will be developed to connect to this principal strategy.

The strategic planning process is grounded in audience, stakeholder, and market research to develop a prioritized approach to quickly changing operational landscape.

Target Audiences

The audience strategy for this plan is to work from our staff outwards. Our research clearly shows that by working to align internal staff and our touchpoints we can influence trust and create further alignment through our internal and external partners

The primary audience for our communications is the ~1400 team members of the VPFO portfolio, who are spread across various departments within Finance, Facilities, and Operations & Advising on the Vancouver campus, the centralized Finance & Operations team on the Okanagan campus, as well as larger Finance and Facilities communities embedded in other portfolios and faculties across UBC. This audience receives regular updates from the portfolio and needs to be actively engaged in the vision and culture of the VPFO from the senior leadership level to the front-line.

Our secondary audience for this plan is the wider UBC community, who engages with the services of the VPFO and receives irregular updates and information from the portfolio.

Our tertiary audience includes subsidiaries who work with the VPFO and whose mandates are overseen by the university. This audience needs irregular information from the VPFO, but needs to be aligned with the strategic direction and values of the portfolio.

Goals & Objectives

Following a phased implementation plan to manage workload and keeping pace with operational change, we propose to work towards three goals:

Help the VPFO community to see themselves as part of the portfolio, and to be engaged in the VPFO Strategic Plan to drive transformation and savings.

Primary Audiences

  • Ensure ability of VPFO team members to identify as part of the VPFO, (and what the VPFO is) by connecting the operational priorities of each group with the overarching strategy of the portfolio.
  • Establish understanding of VPFO purpose with team members, as shown by our team being able to articulate the vision of the VPFO in their own words and relate it to their daily work.
  • Support equity, diversity, and inclusion (as led by the VPFO EDI committee) by developing an EDI framework for VPFO content.
  • Build engagement by holding two C&E-led opportunities for cross-portfolio groups to meet, work together, and share their experiences, and support quarterly opportunities for leaders to demonstrate active and visible sponsorship of VPFO strategy in cross-portfolio settings.

Secondary Audiences

  • Ensure ability of  targeted UBC faculty and staff audiences (for example, Finance and Facilities Communities) to identify the purpose and top-level services of the VPFO (Finance, Facilities, and Safety & Risk Services).
  • Enable targeted UBC faculty and staff audiences to understand how the work of the VPFO enables UBC through their own work at the university.

Tertiary Audiences

  • Support VPFO leadership in their interactions with tertiary audiences (i.e. at Board of Governors meetings and with our subsidiaries, etc.).

Partner to build better engagement to influence and reinforce trust of the VPFO’s expertise and services with targeted audiences to drive transformation and savings.

Primary Audiences

  • Establish the awareness in VPFO team members that everyone who works in the VPFO is part of one team, by connecting the operational priorities of each group with the overarching portfolio strategy.
  • Establish understanding in VPFO team members of the purpose and top-level services of the VPFO (Finance, Facilities, and Safety & Risk Services).
  • Build organizational trust in VPFO team members by telling people-focused stories about how we’re achieving our strategic plan that link past VPFO successes with our plans.
  • Build engagement to influence trust in how the VPFO is supporting equity, diversity, and inclusion (as led by the VPFO EDI committee) by showing how the portfolio is embedding EDI initiatives.

Secondary Audiences

  • Build organizational trust in the VPFO by creating shared visual and content identity across the portfolio.
  • Build trust with key targeted UBC audiences by developing and implementing a people-focused framework for VPFO content.
  • Build trust through sharing quarterly excellence stories driven by our KPIs (as led by Operational Excellence) that best show the expertise of the portfolio in action.
  • Build trust by improving transparency and accessibility to UBC’s financial reporting (i.e. the university budget, ESG updates, etc.).

Tertiary Audiences

  • Support VPFO leadership in their interactions with tertiary audiences (i.e. at Board of Governors meetings and with our subsidiaries, etc.).

Ensure that our communications systems are consistent, integrated and serve our targeted audiences business needs to drive transformation and savings.

Primary Audiences

  • Complete mapping of VPFO communications channels to ensure channels for all targeted audiences.
  • Complete research aligned to all VPFO channels to ensure proper channel/content alignment across a lean channel ecosystem.
  • Document VPFO touchpoints with key targeted audiences, and audit against our content strategy (including EDI and people-focus) to identify opportunities to change the way our channels work.
  • Establish process and governance for VPFO channels to put content in the hands of content owners, in line with our content strategy.

Secondary Audiences

  • Build monthly connection to UBC central Internal and social channels to move at least one VPFO story from the portfolio into UBC-wide channels.

Tertiary Audiences

Reinforce VPFO presence within tertiary audiences by supporting our executive with bi-weekly VPFO people stories and narrative to support their reporting.

Approach Strategies

The VPFO will be going through a lot of change and transition . Much of our focus will be on helping VPFO leadership (managers and above) align their tactical work on operationalizing these projects to the strategic priorities of the VPFO. To achieve this, we plan to concretely show how we’re driving our strategic priorities using these communications strategies:

  • Build active and visible sponsorship: Help the VPFO team actively and visibly sponsor the achievements and direction of the VPFO.
  • Share our message through people: Meet face-to-face with department leadership to collaborate on our best approach in each department. They will then be accountable for integrating our shared approach with their staff’s day-to-day work. Show the faces of team members of the portfolio in all our channels and touchpoints. Build engagement activities into each group’s communications plan.
  • Speak to people conversationally: Use plain English and clear, concrete examples wherever possible to help make the VPFO’s strategy easy to understand, align with, and share. Use vibrant, people-based storytelling — shared though VPFO channels, central communications, and faculty/department communicators — to make the VPFO’s strategic priorities come to life for all our targeted audiences.

  • Be consciously mindful of equity, diversity, and inclusion: Actively question whether our communications activities are considering EDI, and adjust when necessary. Support diversity and inclusion by amplifying messages identified by the D&I committee.
  • Align our touchpoints to enhance consistency and trust: work to create an environment of predictability and consistency across print, digital and face-to-face interactions with the VPFO. Audit and update all existing collateral and tools to better align to our new VPFO story. This will include creating or revising policies, guidelines, and tools for VPFO communications.

Key Messages

  • The VPFO provides the foundation for UBC’s teaching, learning and research mission.
  • The members of the VPFO are trusted advisors, partners, and professional service providers who draw together diverse viewpoints and expertise to enable the university.
  • We are working more closely together across all VPFO departments, to better understand how our skills can be used across the VPFO. This enables new career options, growth opportunities, and efficiencies.

  • The VPFO provides the foundation for UBC’s teaching, learning and research mission.
  • The members of the VPFO are trusted advisors, partners, and professional service providers who draw together diverse viewpoints and expertise to enable the university.
  • We are working more closely together across all VPFO departments, to better understand how our skills can be used across the VPFO. This enables new career options, growth opportunities, and efficiencies.

  • We are the team that is trusted to deliver excellent services at UBC, and we have a single strategic plan that brings us together.
  • We have a responsibility to work together. Each member of the VPFO plays an active role in positively engaging and collaborating with team members and partners.
  • The work done by the VPFO’s departments in Facilities, Finance and Operational Advising is directly aligned to the strategic priorities laid out in our Strategic Plan, which aligns with UBC’s Strategic Plan.
  • When we accomplish our Strategic Plan’s KPIs, we deliver on both the VPFO’s purpose and the university’s mission.

  • Our best way to succeed through rapid change is to follow a shared path. By knowing our plan, we can trust it to take us forward.
  • Aligning our individual work to the Strategic Plan helps us to know we are doing the right work.
  • This perspective helps the entire portfolio to align to our shared mission, work as a team, and achieve the best results possible.

  • We use research to understand our teams and their communications needs.
  • We use our understanding to build and continuously improve effective tools, which elevate our teams’ messages.
  • VPFO channels are easy to identify and access, and are open to the entire team to share their stories about how our work enables UBC.

  • We can see ourselves in our channels and the university’s channels, through a variety of representations — from user-generated content and storytelling to visible inclusion through photography.