Ohio State again to take employees’ pulse with third culture survey
By Adam King
Among the questions it attempts to answer: Do the employees view the university as a place where they can have a satisfying career? Does it provide enough resources for them to do their jobs effectively? Does it foster a collegial environment that is supportive and rewards and recognizes hard work?
Ohio State developed the baseline survey in 2008 and was able to see where it progressed, remained status quo or regressed by taking employees’ workplace pulse again in 2011.
The Office of Human Resources and the Office of Institutional Research and Planning will administer the third survey beginning Feb. 11, and it will be available to all non-Wexner Medical Center faculty and staff for three weeks through March 7.
A link to the survey will be sent out via email that day, and paper surveys also will be available for those employees who don’t work with or have regular access to a computer. Wexner Medical Center employees and faculty took an engagement survey in the fall and won’t be surveyed again so soon.
New to the survey this year are expanded questions related to employee wellness so the university can gauge what effects its health-related initiatives are having on faculty and staff.
“By taking this survey, faculty and staff have a direct yet completely confidential way to influence their professional experience, and we encourage everyone to do so,” said AJ Douglass, senior vice president for talent, culture and human resources. “We can celebrate areas where we have made progress and work to improve areas where we can make a positive difference for our staff and faculty. Deans and vice presidents will be asked to create action plans regarding their results.”
In 2011, overall employee satisfaction remained high, with 73.2 percent of employees satisfied or very satisfied with their positions — little changed from 2008’s 74.3 percent. Survey results are disseminated by subgroup: tenured/tenure-track faculty, regular clinical faculty, auxiliary faculty and staff.
This year’s survey will look to see if the positive progression among tenured and tenure-track faculty in most areas can be maintained or accelerated.
Conversely, fewer staff responded positively about an improved work environment and there were statistically noticeable drops in how staff viewed accountability in the workplace. Though 84.4 percent of staff were positive about their overall satisfaction — the largest positive response from any of the employee subgroups — that was down 1.3 percent from 2008.
“We are focused on identifying any trends or continued decreases in satisfaction,” Douglass said. “That’s why this third survey is critical.”
Ohio State also is noting the areas where its scores started low and stayed low and is addressing those as quickly as resources allow.
As an example, fewer staff in 2011 responded they had the training and professional development to do their jobs effectively. With that information and working in tandem with the University Staff Advisory Committee, Ohio State substantially increased funding for Staff Career Development Grants and established the new Staff Manager Development Grants. In addition, the Office of Human Resources is re-launching the Gateway 2 Management program to give managers another avenue to add to or enhance their skillsets.
“I was very happy we could get these projects in the pipeline,” Douglass said. “The survey has been an incredible decision-making tool for senior leadership at the university, college and unit level.”