People feel pretty good about working at Brock University, judging by the initial round of a new employee survey.
In fact, last spring’s opening round of a new employee engagement survey found that 89 per cent of respondents said they’re proud to tell people that they’re associated with Brock University. Overall, an average of 82 per cent of respondents indicated a favourable work experience, as demonstrated by the chart at the end of this story.
Results from the first survey were reviewed with University leadership earlier this month, and the Brock community can expect to hear more details in the coming weeks as the results are communicated more broadly to staff and faculty.
The engagement survey will be done twice a year, each one going to about half of Brock’s employees, involving a different mix of people each time. Full-time staff are being invited this year, with contract employees to be added in future surveys. Brock leadership wants the practice to help define a new era of dialogue, in which the Brock community gets regular opportunities to provide candid feedback.
Brock’s Human Resources and Institutional Analysis departments are currently preparing a fresh round of surveys in October that will seek faculty and staff perceptions on issues like relationships with their boss, relationships with co-workers, whether they have the resources needed to do a good job and if they feel connected to the mission of the University.
It was heartening to see the buy-in for the inaugural survey last spring, said Brian Hutchings, Vice-President of Administration. Nearly 800 questionnaires went out, and Hutchings says the 60-per-cent response rate was a strong return when compared to similar surveys at other North American workplaces.
“Most positive responses came when people were asked about applying variety of skills and knowledge to doing their jobs,” said Hutchings. “They feel they are engaged in full, rich jobs that involve variety and problem-solving.”
There was also a strong positive response to the survey statement, ‘I know what’s expected of me in my job.’
“That’s good,” said Neil Culp, Director of Organizational Development and Effectiveness, “and it’s not necessarily a response that employers should presume is always out there.”
However, Culp said the May results also revealed several topics with results significantly lower than most others, including:
- Providing staff with meaningful performance feedback
- Recognition of employees who show initiative
- Opportunities for formal development opportunities
- Participation in decision-making
“These are areas where we see most opportunities for improvement, and we are going to be working on it,” said Culp.
He said that as more of these semi-annual surveys are done, the growing body of data will no doubt adjust some of these indicators, in either direction.
“We’re doing this again in October with the other half of the organization, to complete a true organizational baseline. We need to keep growing the feedback so that we can better understand employee perceptions. We need to keep hearing from people.”
Once the October survey results are in, there is a commitment to develop action plans designed to improve employee engagement across the university.
Brock President Gervan Fearon expressed the University’s gratitude to staff and faculty who embraced the employee surveys and shared their views.
“This tells the world that people at Brock care and we’re putting people first,” he said. “This is extremely important feedback for the University as a community. Organizations are stronger and better when they listen and engage faculty and staff as well as provide opportunity for their input into the decision-making process.
“The active involvement of faculty and staff and the feedback provided through the survey will help to build an outstanding university community and excellent workplace for us all,” said Fearon.
The questions that were asked:
1. My supervisor takes an interest in, and actively supports my work.
2. I generally like and get along with the people I regularly work with.
3. My coworkers and I find it easy to cooperate in order to get our work done.
4. The team I am a part of is committed to high quality work.
5. I know what is expected of me in my job.
6. I have the resources I need to do my job effectively.
7. Good work is acknowledged and/or recognized by my supervisor.
8. Over the past year, I have had formal opportunities to learn and grow.
9. My supervisor provides me with regular feedback to help me improve my performance.
10. I understand how my work supports the overall success of Brock University.
11. I regularly apply a variety of skills and knowledge in order to complete my work.
12. My team and I are encouraged to share ideas and participate in decision making on issues that will affect our work.
13. My team and I are encouraged to share ideas and participate in decision making on issues that will affect our environment.
14. I am proud to tell people I work at Brock University.
15. I would recommend Brock University to my friends and family.