Employee Engagement Survey 2016

The Employee Engagement Survey was open from 7 to 28 November 2016. 73% of colleagues completed this survey - verified response rates by College and Service are listed online

Your feedback will lead to changes and action where you want them – either locally to where you work, at a College or Service level, or University-wide. 

For the first time the University donated £1 to charity for each survey completed. Together we raised a fantastic £3,306

Colleagues can read reports of the survey results on the results webpages

All responses are completely confidential; an independent company, ORC, ran the survey for us. The survey changed following your comments after the last one in 2014.  

Frequently Asked Questions

The approach to cascading results and action planning has been amended this time to encourage ownership of issues at the level where there is a vested interest in achieving them and where staff are best placed to carry them forward.

We want to identify and celebrate successes as well as explore areas for improvement. Where you tell us there are great things happening, we intend to find out why this is the case and share the lessons learned with others, to encourage collaboration across Colleges/Services.

The release of results and follow up action planning started in December.  The Vice Chancellor’s Exeecutive group looked at overall University level results and give an overview of key themes on 19 December, just before the Christmas break.

Colleges and Services began analysing their results in January 2017 and prepared for action planning workshops in February to look at both successes and areas for improvement and the underlying issues and explore options.

University-wide themes that have a broad impact on colleagues were identified in February.  Stress, VCEG, personal development, change, team size and social or shared space will be explored under the Positive Working Environment process.

This time we are able to look at results by discipline/team/department and so workshops to look at successes and areas for improvement at a local level took place in Spring.

All of these discussions and action plans will then feed into local and University-wide plans.  There's a timeline online

The results of the survey let us benchmark or compare our University level results with other universities, including some Russell Group members (where ORC provide their Employee Engagement Surveys and hold their survey results).

This time we were able to generate employee engagement index scores which are shown in survey reports on the results webpage. This index is an aggregated positive response of the  five questions below - these questions capture the overarching relationship and outcome of colleagues’ working experience:

  • I am proud to work for the University of Exeter
  • I would recommend the University of Exeter as a great place to work
  • I feel a strong sense of belonging to the University of Exeter
  • I am committed to helping the University achieve its strategic aims
  • Working here makes me want to do the best work I can

The index provides an overarching measure of engagement and helps us to explore and understand how opinions differ between parts of the University. The model is aligned with academic models of engagement, specifically the work of Schaufeli, and ORC International’s model of engagement. 

The following charities will receive donations:

Children’s Hospice South West  £1,142
Cancer Research UK  £1,085
Devon Wildlife Trust   £620
Balloons young people bereavement support   £459

The University donated £1 each time a colleague filled in a copy of the survey, with people selecting one of the four above.  Colleagues voted to select the four charities from a longlist in October 2016. 

This survey is confidential: ORC International, an independent research company is conducting the survey on behalf of the University to ensure complete confidentiality. All surveys go directly back to ORC International. No one at the University will see any individual’s responses and no names will be entered at any point. 

The results of any individual questions will only be reported in groups of at least 10.  For example: if you are the only male colleague in your team of 10 and everyone replies, then we won’t report how opinions differ by gender in that team. However, we would like you to still answer the questions so that we can look at gender differences across the University or by College or campus.

Or, if you are in a team of 20 and only 9 reply, then we won’t release the results for your team in isolation, but instead will report at College/Service level only so that the voices aren’t lost. Questions on equality and diversity issues will only be reported at University-wide level. 

The Employee Engagement Survey is the best way to have your say about working here.  The leadership of the University are keen to find out how colleagues are feeling and create a culture of action.  Results are pored over at all levels and inform our strategy in teams, departments, Colleges and Services, and University-wide. 

An engaged workforce is key to delivering our corporate strategy – Making the Exceptional Happen 2016-21 – which launched in October 2016. The survey is a major way of finding out how our values are being demonstrated through the way we behave, the way we communicate and the way we work.  The findings of the survey and action taken bring to life our values:

  • Ambition - Driving us to where we are and sustaining our success
  • Challenge - relishing challenge
  • Collaboration - working in active collaboration between colleagues
  • Community - to support and inspire each other
  • Impact - fresh ways of working and solutions with impact
  • Rigour - we strive to reach the highest standards of scholarship and service

these slides show the breakdown of Colleges and Services into departments or teams that will be used in the survey. Campus location will also be asked.

In the last survey in 2014, some of the questions did not lead to action as they were too vague or badly worded. We created a working group with colleagues who either represented the voices of different groups of staff or had expertise in questionnaire design and statistical analysis. They scrutinised all the questions in the main body of the questionnaire to ensure they will make sense, reflect our pressing issues, and will lead to actions. There were again questions from most College/Services about local issues.

In this year's survey, we exploried employee 'engagement' and 'satisfaction'.  We are not just interested in overall satisfaction and happiness with your current job and conditions, but also in how you engage with the University, how involved you feel, and how you feel about particular values, policies and practice. 

When defining engagement, academic researchers in the field tend to stress the individual and the job, and there are several different models of engagement. For this survey we are using Schaufeli’s model (2002) who describes engagement as ‘a positive, fulfilling, work –related state of mind’ characterised by:

  • Vigour - high levels of energy and mental resilience while working, the willingness to invest effort in one’s work and persistence in adversity.
  • Dedication - being strongly involved in one’s work and experiencing a sense of significance, enthusiasm, inspiration, pride and challenge.
  • Absorption - being fully concentrated and engrossed in one’s work where time passes.

Why should we measure employee’s engagement in a survey?

  • HEIs are changing – there is increased competition, uncertainty over government funding, all of which may affect how employees feel about the University and their role within it.
  • It allows employees to have a voice.
  • It holds a mirror up to the University as an employer and the workplace as an environment.
  • The results show patterns and trends.
  • Data can help inform choices and strategy wisely and help customise approaches to suit different staff groups, areas.
  • The results help to prioritise actions and resources where they are most needed

Find out the results of the 2014 survey and find out what action was taken by going to the dedicated web pages.