- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Last spring, a sampling of non-represented UC ANR staff were asked to complete the biennial Staff Engagement Survey to gauge their impressions about working for the University. The Council of UC Staff Assemblies (CUCSA), in collaboration with Systemwide Human Resources' Employee Relations department, developed the survey with the company Willis Towers Watson. The 2017 survey follows similar surveys conducted in 2013 and 2015. The results have been tabulated, and the UC ANR Staff Assembly and UC ANR Human Resources are preparing to share the results broadly across the division.
All staff and academics are invited to take part in a webinar review of the survey results from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Dec. 13 (additional information and the webinar link will be e-mailed). Vice President Glenda Humiston, ANR Staff Assembly and ANR Human Resources will host a town hall meeting from 11 a.m. to 12 noon on Jan. 16 to discuss the results and ideas for improvement.
“Reviewing the engagement survey results gives us the opportunity to have open conversations about how people feel about working at UC ANR, and identify ways we can improve,” said John Fox, ANR Human Resources executive director.
At the UC ANR Staff Assembly ambassadors' meeting in October, CUCSA delegates Jeannette Warnert and LeChé McGill presented a preview of the results in three areas that show opportunities for improvement: organizational change, performance management and wellness. After the presentation, the ambassadors broke into groups to suggest ways to improve staff impressions in these areas.
According to the survey, 34 percent of respondents had a favorable impression to the statement, "Generally, recent major organizational changes across the UC system have been planned well.” This is a 2 percentage-point increase from 2015.
The most popular suggestion from the ambassadors for improvement was including staff (particularly those affected by the changes) in the change process. The ambassadors also emphasized the importance of communication about changes, such as information about why changes are being made and how they will be implemented. They also stressed the importance of listening to staff and taking their input seriously.
In the area of performance management, 70 percent of staff surveyed responded favorably to the statement, “I think my performance on the job is evaluated fairly.” However, this was an 8 percentage point drop from the 2015 survey. A significant proportion, 67 percent, had favorable impressions about the statement, "I feel my personal contributions are recognized." A smaller group, 20 percent, responded favorably to "I feel my campus/location does a good job matching pay to performance."
The ambassadors felt strongly that performance management impressions could be improved by helping staff and supervisors develop a better understanding of the new employee-performance-appraisal report rating system. They suggested sharing details about the successes of staff who were rated "transformational," and providing training to staff on their role in the performance appraisal process.
Ambassadors also expressed a concern that there is an assumption among UC ANR managers that staff cannot be rated as "exceptional.”
The 2017 Staff Engagement Survey covered the topic of “wellness” for the first time. Sixty-one percent of UC ANR staff responded favorably to the statement, “My supervisor is supportive of my participation in health or wellness-related initiatives and programs offered at my campus/location.” A similar number, 60 percent, gave favorable responses to the statement, “My organization promotes an environment of physical, mental and social well-being.”
Ambassadors shared a number of ideas for improving this outcome, such as offering discounts for local health clubs/gyms, release time for exercise, exercise awards, structured wellness activities, and support for telecommuting.
For more information on the 2017 UC Staff Engagement Survey, see the UC ANR Staff Assembly website.