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Staff Survey University Actions

The University Executive Board (UEB) recently considered a number of institutional level actions to be taken following the results of the 2017 Staff Survey. The Survey showed that staff are committed to the University’s aims and are proud to work here, but more can be done to make the University a better place to work.

This builds on local improvements identified in this Summary of Faculty / Departmental Action Plans which are aligned to five key themes:

  • leadership and management  
  • structures, roles and accountabilities
  • performance
  • teamwork and working relationships
  • change

With so much activity already taking place locally, UEB will focus on three areas to have the greatest positive impact on addressing key issues emerging from the Survey:

  • Engagement and Building Trust
  • Delegation and Empowerment Review
  • Delivery against the University’s People Strategy

Engagement and Building Trust – Let’s Talk

Openness and transparency in explaining decision making, and involvement of staff in discussions about the future of the University were key messages highlighted in the Survey. These reflect our values and a number of good practice examples are already taking place across the University, such as directors and heads holding open forums for their staff to answer questions and address issues. This is important as we want to create an open environment where respectful and reasonable behaviours are actively encouraged.

We need to build on this and encourage more open conversations and two-way dialogue. In other words we need talk with each other more. This is partly why we have changed our approach in considering a new University Strategy for 2020-2025. We initially planned a light-touch review. However feedback from the Survey has clearly shown that staff need to be more involved in forming our new Strategy and ultimately help decide the future direction of the University. Preparation is underway, and details of our ‘Let’s Talk’ initiative will be shared with staff as soon as they’re confirmed. While UEB can set the agenda, it’s the responsibility of everyone in the University to get involved and help foster this culture of openness.

Delegation and Empowerment

Trusting colleagues to take responsibility for decision making was another key message highlighted in the Survey. UEB will lead two reviews. One will focus on academic roles at grades 7, 8 and 9 to provide clarity around roles, inform career development/progression frameworks and support workload planning. The second review will focus on simplifying and standardising delegation levels where it would add benefit in areas such as administration, finance and HR to empower more effective decision making.

Delivery against the University’s People Strategy

Another strong message which came out of the Survey was around greater consistency and transparency about managing performance, for managers to feel empowered and have the right skill set to effectively manage staff. It’s therefore important that we continue to have a dedicated focus on the work already underway around the People Strategy such as a policy review and  rollout of a revised PDR framework across the University. In addition, the Survey also highlighted the key role that leadership and management plays and we will therefore be developing a new leadership and management framework.

UEB will be receiving regular progress reports about these initiatives. Representatives from the Staff Engagement Advisory Group, which includes a cross-section of staff, will also attend Faculty and Departmental Management Meetings to discuss progress made on local action plans and help share best practice.

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