Insights and actions from this year’s Staff Experience Survey

Markos Koumaditis

In my last blog, People teams in a changing world of work, I noted the importance of working in partnership with People professionals across the University to understand the changing needs of our staff and of having access to robust data to enable us to take an evidence-based approach.    

At the time, the Staff Experience Survey had just closed. This survey explores your experiences of working at the University, and the extent to which you feel engaged, which is measured through a set of questions around motivation, advocacy, pride, commitment and satisfaction. It provides a significant evidence base on which to identify areas of good practice, and opportunities to improve and change.    

Earlier this month, colleagues from the Equality and Diversity Unit (EDU) presented these survey findings at Personnel Committee (now named People Committee). The results, encompassing nearly 9,000 responses, constitute a powerful collective voice and I extend my gratitude to all who participated in the survey. Insights confirmed that we take pride in our organisation, fostering strong interpersonal relationships with our colleagues (92%) and a strong sense of belonging and contribution within teams. Notably, staff engagement remains robust and there is a strong, underlying sense of inclusion: all solid foundations on which we can build for the future. 

Despite the commendable overall results, it is important to note that some of the positive experiences are not being universally felt among all staff groups and there is a clear imperative to address these disparities and strive for greater equity and inclusion. 

Your responses to the survey showed that we need to do better in the areas of development (professional, personal and career) and building the capability of staff with responsibility for others, whether that’s line managers, research group leaders or academic managers, to ensure that the confidence in the expertise of our managers is reflected through the experience of those being managed.   

There is significant concern around pay and benefits – a key focus this year under the Vice-Chancellor's Pay & Conditions Report. There is also a strong correlation between having opportunities to be listened to and be heard by senior leaders and resulting staff engagement. We recognise the significance that excessive workloads have on your health and wellbeing, the negative impact of bullying and harassment (and need for improvements in reporting processes) and the lack of confidence that action will be taken as a result of this survey.   

As People Committee, we heard these messages clearly and we recognise that we have a momentous opportunity to demonstrate that we are listening and we will be taking action.   

We will begin by mapping the results to University-wide projects, charters and work-streams that are already underway, taking account of the variances in responses across different demographic groups to ensure that equitability is a cornerstone of our action planning. We will use these survey results to provide new insights for areas which aren’t already taking your feedback into account.   

The divisions and departments will develop plans to address local priorities, and we will soon be providing toolkits of resources to support this important work.  

As much as we celebrate your satisfaction, it is important that your concerns are collectively addressed. We have published an overview of the Staff Experience Survey results on the EDU website, along with an infographic providing a useful overview of the key themes. I look forward to continuing the conversation around these themes and sharing our progress with you in the months to come.