Have Your Say staff survey results and next steps - a message from Professor Tim Jones, Provost and Vice-Principal
As we continue to navigate the challenges of living and working during the COVID-19 outbreak I want to thank all of you for the commitment, creativity and tenacity you have shown in what are very difficult circumstances.
Earlier this year we ran the Have Your Say staff survey and I want to share with you the results and some of the actions the University is taking as a result of your feedback. I was planning to come back to you much earlier than this, but I was conscious of the other important emails that were being sent over the past few weeks and the need not to send too many at once.
I am pleased to report that 63% of you responded to the survey – a very respectable completion rate and significantly higher than the previous two surveys. You will recall that the survey was divided into a number of sections and below I share some of the headlines from each of these (a PDF of the responses to all the questions is available here).
Sense of direction
It is pleasing to note that at an institutional level, 87% of colleagues understand how their work contributes to the success of the University, 82% are clear about what they are expected to achieve in their role, and 73% of colleagues feel sufficiently challenged and motivated.
77% of colleagues are enthusiastic about their jobs, 76% would like to continue working at the University for the foreseeable future and 74% are proud to work for the University.
67% of colleagues feel able to deal with the pressures they face in their roles and 77% note that colleagues help one another. The latter is particularly important during these challenging and uncertain times. I would like to stress that, now more than ever, it is important we continue to support one another.
Leadership and communication
75% of colleagues feel that their line manager listens to their views, and more than half of you believe there is effective leadership from the most senior person in your part of the University.
The above headlines are really encouraging. However, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that we have work to do in each area, and in some categories, recognising that there is a high degree of variability across the institution. Below I outline details of our draft action plan and if you have any questions, I would encourage you to email the following address which has been specifically set up for this purpose firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please note that this email address will be checked by a small group of colleagues but we will endeavour to respond to every email).
Our action plan
As noted, your responses also show us areas for improvement, and we are committed to undertaking actions which will have a positive impact. Where we can take effective action across the whole of the University we will do so, and our actions in these areas are set out below. Given the degree of variability in some areas across the University, some feedback is better addressed at a College, School, Directorate or Department level, and we have already shared results for each area with UEB and RLG leaders so they can begin, where appropriate, to develop local action plans. I am sure that a breakdown at each level will be provided by colleagues in these areas in due course.
Sense of direction, Leadership and communication
Some of you (41%), expressed uncertainty as to how the University is adapting to the changing external environment. I can assure you that the University is always looking at how it can best respond to the challenges facing the higher education sector – and indeed the changes we face as a nation and a global community too – however we can do more to communicate our actions to our staff, and will look to increase visibility of these in our existing channels such as Buzz and Buzz Bitesize. If you have any specific ideas on how we can best communicate what we are doing, please feedback via email@example.com.
There is work for us to do around career development, and we will be reviewing our internal training provision to ensure it is matching your needs. We will soon share details of a project we have launched to better support our academic colleagues to build their careers and access development opportunities at Birmingham. We have also tasked a cross-University group of Professional Services leaders, led by HR, with looking at career paths for Professional Services staff, and their work will provide clarity on job grading and skills requirements as well as new guidance on career planning that will enable Professional Services staff to more easily identify suitable roles, plan their next steps and access opportunities from across the University.
It is clear from your responses that we need to do more around wellbeing, and to that end the Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Staffing, Professor Mark Sterling, will be leading the development of a wellbeing strategy and plan that will deliver an enhanced wellbeing offer for staff. It is envisaged that this work will be completed within the next year and will form an element of our People and Culture strategy – one of the strands of the University’s next Strategic Framework, which is currently under development. The People and Culture strategy is being led by Professor Jo Duberley (Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Professor Mark Sterling (Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for Staffing) and Gillian McGrattan (HR Director).
The University is working to improve equality, diversity and inclusion under the leadership of Professor Jo Duberley, and we strive to be sector-leading. Jo has begun consultations on the development of a new five-year Equality Scheme for the University, and we continue to work hard to implement the actions identified in our Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charter applications. Jo has also set up a Pay Action Group which aims to identify and implement interventions which will help to tackle the University’s Gender Pay Gap.
Keeping you informed
We will keep you updated on our progress with these actions over the coming months and run a pulse survey to see how things have changed for you as a result of this work early next spring.