WORKING WITH TUFTS SUPPORT SERVICES
What kind of turn-around time can I expect from TSS?
Turnaround time depends on the nature and complexity of the request. Straightforward questions can often be answered within a single interaction while complex service requests may take two or more days to resolve. TSS has established Service Level Agreements for the various types of requests it receives so the Tufts community will know what turnaround times they can expect from TSS.
Read more: Service Level Agreements
TSS Services Offered
What should I do if I have a time-sensitive request?
If you have a time-sensitive issue, contact TSS by phone anytime between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and let us know you have an urgent request. TSS will handle your request promptly or forward it to the appropriate person who can.
What are the knowledge articles?
The knowledge articles on the TSS web portal provide information about many Tufts Human Resources and Finance transactional procedures. They are intended for anyone who wants to look something up or needs information after hours.
The best way to access the knowledge articles is to type a question or key words into the What would you like help with? field at the top of the TSS portal home page.
Every knowledge article gives you the chance to provide feedback, by rating it using the stars at the top of the page (1 star = poor; 5 stars = excellent), by answering the question, “Was this article useful?” and by typing comments in the field at the bottom of the page. TSS will use this feedback to improve the articles over time.
If you need administrative support with a human resources or finance transaction, we encourage you to contact TSS by phone, email or in person. In many cases we will be able to give you more details than those you will find in the knowledge articles and will often be able to handle your issue for you.
What happens if I call after hours?
TSS answers calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Outside of those times, phone calls to TSS are sent to voicemail. If you call after hours, leave a voicemail with your issue and contact information. TSS will create a case for you and a TSS staff member will follow up with you by phone or email during business hours.
Are calls to TSS recorded?
TSS does not record phone conversations, though we are planning to monitor some calls to ensure our staff provide a high level of service and provide accurate information.
What if TSS cannot resolve my issue right away? Can I look up the status of my case?
TSS assigns a case number to each service request it receives. When you contact TSS by email or through the Web portal, you will receive an email confirming your request and case number. You will receive another email when your case is resolved. If you call by phone, you can request a follow-up email with your case number.
If you have an open case with TSS, you can check its status online or by contacting TSS and providing your case number. A TSS staff member will look up the notes on your case, where it stands and who is working on it. You can also log in to the TSS web portal and look up your case on the “My Requests” menu.
If my question is escalated to Tier 2 or 3, will I speak directly to the person who handles my case or does someone from Tier 1 talk to them on my behalf?
If your case is escalated to Tier 2 or 3, the group that is handling your case will follow up with you.
You can check on the status of an open case at any time by going to the TSS web portal and selecting My Requests. There you can see if your case has been transferred to Tier 2 or 3, and if TSS is waiting for a certain piece of information in order to reach a resolution.
If I have an issue I know will need to be escalated, can I call someone in Tier 2 directly?
No. There is no direct line to Tier 2. One of the main purposes of TSS is to replace inefficient practices such as waiting to speak to a specific person when other, trained people are available to handle a request. The TSS staff is trained to forward any issues they cannot handle directly to the division or qualified individual who can. We can do this much more efficiently when all requests come in through the channels listed on the TSS portal home page.
If you are contacting TSS about an open case, you can refer to your case number and ask to speak to the person it has been assigned to. Or, if you are calling about a complicated human resources or finance issue, you can ask to be transferred to a specialist in that area.
What platform is TSS using to track cases?
TSS uses a constituent relationship management (CRM) system called Salesforce to track the status of the requests it receives. The CRM enables us to track our performance over time so we can continually improve our services.
We also use the CRM system to manage the knowledge articles on the TSS portal. As people open and rate the articles, the highest-ranked articles move to the top of search results. There is also a place to provide feedback at the bottom of each article. We use this feedback to make the articles as useful as possible.
How is TSS protecting private information?
TSS limits the personally identifiable information (PII) it stores in its CRM system to only what is necessary to manage a request. When TSS closes a case, it removes all PII. All TSS staff are bound by the safeguards outlined in Tufts’ Employee Handbook and Business Conduct Policy. In addition, TSS verifies a constituent’s identification anytime it receives a request or inquiry that involves PII.
Read more: Personnel Records
Will department heads receive information about what kind of questions TSS receives from their departments or teams?
TSS can provide metrics such as number of cases and case categories for specific divisions or schools, however, in keeping with the Tufts Business Conduct Policy, TSS will not discuss confidential information about a specific case with anyone other than the individual concerned.
Department heads and managers can request general information on the types of requests TSS receives from their teams by contacting one of the TSS leaders listed below.
Carol Liedes, Knowledge Manager, Support Services
Melanie Foley, Director of Community Support Services
Peter Barone, Director of Finance Support Services
Pete Barron, Director of HR Operations
What is the relationship between TSS and Human Resources? Is Human Resources being subsumed into TSS?
Human Resources will remain its own division and work closely with TSS. Now that TSS is handling things like forms, approvals and basic benefits information, Human Resources has more time to focus on core functions such as employee relations, organization development, learning development and career paths.
Read more: How TSS Supports HR (“How to” video and transcript)
How will students interact with TSS?
TSS will provide student-employees with basic employment support related to their campus positions, such as processing and validating Federal I-9 forms. TSS recognizes and supports only student organizations supported by the Office of Campus Life or School Dean’s Offices. Student organizations that need to make low-dollar, high-volume purchases should do so through TSS.
Student organizations that need budget support will continue to work with central Finance and follow existing policies and procedures. Tufts students will continue to receive student-focused, services not related to Human Resources or Finance through existing channels. For example, student registration will continue to be provided through SIS.
Who is handling recruitment and hiring?
Recruitment and hiring processes have not changed, nor have the roles and responsibilities of Human Resources and each department and school. TSS processes completed new-hire paperwork and works directly with new hires to complete the their I-9 forms.
Read more: New Hire Process
I-9 Employment Verification Process
What role does TSS play in onboarding new employees?
TSS processes new employee Personnel Action Forms (PAFs) submitted by recruiters or, in some cases, the hiring manager.
TSS also processes I-9 forms. All new employees should visit a TSS walk-in center within three business days of their start date so we can verify their I-9 documentation.
Read more: New Hire Process
Personnel Action Form (PAF)
I-9 Employment Verification Process
Is TSS involved in faculty recruitment and hiring?
Other than processing I-9 forms, TSS is not involved in hiring faculty. Schools and departments should continue to work with their deans and provost offices to hire faculty.
Read more: I-9 Employment Verification Process
Who initiates the hiring process now, our department or TSS?
Departments and schools should continue to initiate the hiring process and seek help from Human Resources as needed to prepare the job description, set the salary level and manage other aspects of the hiring process.
Has time entry moved to TSS?
Anyone who submits paper timesheets should now send them to TSS at 62R Talbot Ave., Medford, MA 02155. Otherwise, time entry has not changed. You should continue to follow your department’s time entry process.
Read more: Timekeeping
Should I call TSS for help with leave administration?
TSS can help you initiate your leave request. We will document the fact that you are interested in a leave of absence and then forward you to the leave specialist in Human Resources who can help you.
Read more: Leaves of Absence
How is travel being handled? Where do I submit receipts?
There are two ways to schedule travel. You can contact TSS and we will book your travel for you or you can use the self-service options on the Tufts Travel Portal. If you book travel through TSS, we will ask you to fill out a Travel Booking Intake Form with your travel dates and trip description. Our primary method to book travel is through The Travel Collaborative, a university-approved third-party travel agency.
You also have options when you return from your trip. You can complete a Travel & Business Expense Intake Form and send it with your receipts to TSS. The staff will use Apptricity to generate an expense report and route it through the approval system back through the traveler. The second, frequently used option is to submit your own expense report to Apptricity.
Read more: Employee Travel Overview
"How to Book Travel" (video and transcript)
Travel Authorization and T-Numbers
I’ve always booked my own travel. Can I continue to do that?
You can continue to book your own travel through the Tufts Travel Portal and submit expense reports through Apptricity. The difference is that you now have the option to submit expense reports through TSS. If you choose to use TSS when you return from your trip, complete a Travel & Business Expense Intake Form and send it with your receipts to TSS.
Read more: "How to Book Travel" (video and transcript)
Tufts Travel Agencies, Hotel & Rental Car Contracts
Has the approval process for travel changed?
The preapproval process for travel described in the Tufts Travel Policy remains the same. Before traveling, all travelers must receive the approval of their direct supervisor or financial/budget officer.
At the end of a trip, travel expenses must be approved and signed by the traveler and approved by the traveler’s immediate supervisor or their designee.
Read more: Travel Authorization and T-Numbers
Will TSS be able to handle complicated international travel requests?
TSS staff includes individuals with extensive experience arranging international travel and work closely with The Travel Collaborative, a travel agency that specializes in complex domestic and international travel.
If you know you will be travelling abroad, contact TSS well in advance of your departure date and provide as much information about your itinerary as you can. This will help us organize a successful trip, including international SOS registration for overseas travel.
Can department admins set up travel or submit expense reports for another person in their department?
Yes, but only temporarily. It is currently possible for administrators to serve as proxies for faculty and supervisors to arrange travel and submit expense reports. This capability will be phased out in calendar year 2015. After that, every Tufts traveler will have to use TSS or the Travel Portal to arrange travel and submit expenses through TSS or Apptricity. We will announce dates for this change in as timely a manner as possible.
My administrator always double-checked my travel expense reports to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Will TSS do that for me?
If you are a frequent traveler, TSS will compile a record of your trips so that your travel reports can be double checked. The first time you create a Travel & Business Expense Intake Form, be sure to include details such as tolls between your house and the airport and other details you want on record. We can then check your future expense reports for this information. We also expect to become expert in completing travel reports, which will allow us to look for certain expenses that may not be obvious or disclosed.
Can I get reimbursed for tolls charged against my transponder?
Yes. The easiest way to get reimbursed for tolls is to fill out a Travel & Business Expense Intake Form. Indicate that your transponder was charged and you do not have a receipt. Be sure to include the amount of the toll charged or the points at which you entered and exited the toll road.
If you want to download a receipt for charges to your transponder, log in to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s EZ Pass website and look up the charges against your account.
How do I submit travel expenses for students and guests?
Follow the process for non-employee travel described in the Tufts Travel Policy. This includes obtaining a Travel Authorization number (T-Number) before the travel date and arranging travel through one of the Tufts-approved travel agencies. Whenever possible, a Tufts employee should use his or her corporate card to prepay expenses such as airfare and hotel to minimize out-of pocket expenses for the student or guest.
If your guest has out-of pocket expenses, a paper report needs to be completed. Contact TSS if you need help preparing the report.
Read more: Guest Travel Overview
Student Travel Overview
When to Use the Travel Expense Report Form
What should I do if my travel is expensed against a grant? Is there a process for pre-approving grant-funded travel?
Tufts’ existing policy on Travel on Sponsored Projects remains in effect. Any department that receives a grant is responsible to conform to university policies as well as any grant restrictions. Recording grant expenses for travel should follow standard practices. TSS can assist with booking grant airfare and preparing and submitting expense reports. We suggest coordinating international travel with your grants administrator prior to the trip, to ensure allowability. Reports affecting international travel on grants will be approved by Sponsored Programs Accounting.
Read more: Grant Travel (Travel on Sponsored Grants)
Does TSS have checks and balances to identify unapproved expenses that are not accounted for?
When using a Tufts Travel MasterCard, each charge needs to be reconciled as a university or personal expense (for instance, an in-room movie or fitness center charge are personal expenses that may be included in a hotel bill). TSS can identify allowable university expenses. For all expenditures that are outside our procurement systems, TSS needs to rely on the individual to identify the expense.
Ultimately, each individual is responsible to monitor their expenditures and submit only approved expenses for reimbursement. If you have a Tufts Travel MasterCard, please note that your expenses and accompanying documentation may be audited by an internal or external auditing process.
Read more: Business Expense Guidelines
How is TSS handling ad hocs?
TSS has the ability to hard code one name into the Apptricity system. The knowledge article on ad hoc approvers (link below) describes our current process. Note, however, that this practice will be under review as part of workforce transition throughout calendar year 2015.
Read more: Ad Hoc Approvers
What happens when someone submits expense receipts to TSS? Does their manager receive a copy of the report?
Yes. TSS generates expense reports in Apptricity and sends it to the individual who submitted it for approval. The approval processes in Apptricity are the same as they were before TSS launched.
Can I order specific items that I need through TSS?
In most cases, TSS can provide administrative support for purchasing, including researching vendors and costs and submitting an electronic requisition (eReq) on your behalf. Over time, as we document details of your orders, TSS will be able to streamline your ordering process.
If you have a complex order or need to purchase a restricted item, contact Purchasing.
Read more: Purchasing Policies & Guidelines
“How to Make a Purchase Through TSS” (video and transcript)
Restricted Commodity Purchases
Does TSS handle purchases that can be made on a Pcard?
The most efficient way to make a below-threshold purchase ($5000 or less) is with a procurement card (Pcard). If, for some reason, you cannot or do not want to make a purchase with a Pcard, contact TSS and we can process the purchase for you.
Read more: How to Obtain a Procurement Card (PCard)
Procurement Card (PCard) Uses and Restrictions
Can I still use Marketplace, Pcards and eReqs to make purchases?
Yes. Tufts staff, faculty and researchers can continue using Marketplace, P-cards and eReqs in the same manner they did before TSS went live.
Read more: Procurement Card (PCard) Uses and Restrictions
Obtaining Access to Marketplace
Obtaining Access to eReq
We have a purchase order that is above threshold. Should we work with TSS or purchasing?
In general, for purchases above threshold, TSS is always willing to assist in compiling the necessary information required by Purchasing. Purchasing will be the final approver of all purchases over threshold. The role of TSS in this case is to assist in the due diligence and documentation process and to create the electronic requisition for you.
Read more: Information about the Purchasing Office at Tufts University
Our group has to comply with government regulations in our hiring and spending practices. Who will help us with this?
Your HR Business Partner and Purchasing staff will continue to work with you to comply with government regulations on hiring and spending. The approval processes are the same as they were before TSS.
GLOSSARY OF RELEVANT TERMS
Apptricity is an e-Expense app that allows you to add receipts to your expense report with an iPhone, iPad or Android-enabled smartphone. You first need to create an expense report using the web application (https://tufts.apptricityondemand.com). If you use pre-trip approvals, an expense report is automatically created once the pre-trip is approved.
Read more: e-Expense @ Tufts
Capital Expenditure Authorization
Read more: Capital Expenditure Authorization (CEA) Process
Tufts' online Electronic Requisitioning System
Read more: Obtaining Access to eREQ
A Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) is someone in HR who understands and partners with schools to make strategic decisions about employment, performance, position changes and organization design activities. HRBPs focus on complex work such as employee relations, career counseling, recruitment and hiring processes.
Tufts Marketplace is a one-stop, one login shopping process. You can place orders and “check out” with the ability to allocate charges to your dept-ids or grants, in accordance with your specific, authorized profiles.
Read more: Tufts Marketplace & Electronic Requisitioning System
Tufts has a variety of Personnel Action Forms to update faculty and staff employee records and process activity related to employment changes. Such changes include promotions, transfers, hour changes, leaves of absence, and separation from the University.
Read more: Processing Employee Changes
PeopleSoft Human Resources is a web-based application that employees can use to access their time entry, ePAF, time-off tracking, etc.
Read more: Using PeopleSoft HRMS
In order to make a payment or place an order with a supplier, the individual/company must first be added to PeopleSoft Finance system. The requirements differ depending on status.
Read more: PeopleSoft Financials Portal
Suppliers in PeopleSoft
The PCard is a university-approved credit card intended to provide a simple, efficient, cost-effective means of purchasing low dollar items ($5,000.00 or less).
Read more: Procurement Card Policies & Procedures
How to Obtain a Procurement Card (PCard)
Travel Authorization Numbers are a way to minimize out-of-pocket expenses for non-employees (students and guests) who travel. The associated department is responsible for obtaining at T-number before the travel takes place.
Read more: Travel Authorization and T-Numbers