Action planning is underway following the 2016 Staff Survey.

Action underway following 2016 survey

The results of the 2016 employee engagement survey have been shared in Colleges and Services and discussed in departments and teams. A great start has been made, with action planning taking place across the University. More than 150 examples of action that is underway or will happen soon have been shared. Read on for some highlights from a variety of colleagues. To share your local examples please contact Abigail Dixon (Abigail.Dixon@exeter.ac.uk). 

University-wide themes have been identified: stress, VCEG, personal development, change, team size and social or shared space. A Positive Working Environment group workshop has discussed them, and action plans for the six themes will be shared in due course.

Services

Development

Where possible, and appropriate, secondment opportunities are supported for ESE roles and for people seconding from ESE as this is good for development and cross University working. This has been highlighted in comms to all staff through the Director’s Update (monthly newsletter) and at the last all staff meeting.

Communication

A high level update from each part of the service has been introduced in all staff meetings to help bring teams together and understand what's happening across the service.

Change

The parameters of any engagement on change is made clear from the outset so people know what they could contribute to and how it will inform any proposals. This has been adopted in the ESE change and bedded into the change team’s standard practice. On the whole this has been welcomed though on occasion colleagues query items specified as not up for discussion if they think these are more important than the items on the table. This continues to be a learning process.

Development

ePDR - PPBI are one of the teams piloting the ePDR. The team have worked closely with the project team on this initiative and were very impressed with the rationale, functionality, and look and feel of the e-PDR system.

Communication

Some new ‘visual management’ techniques (i.e. a whiteboard and post-it notes) together with a weekly ‘stand-up’ meeting is building on the good practice of the Agile methods that are used to great effect when the team work on projects. “This is something which will develop over time but it’s great to have put these into practice in our own team”.

Wellbeing

A wellbeing session in a College Services meeting focussed on ensuring we all know how to discuss our own wellbeing in the workplace, how to access services, and how to support our colleagues.

VCEG

Colleagues held an interactive session with Mike Shore-Nye about VCEG; who is who, what they do and how we can ensure our voice is heard.

Development

IIB had an Away Day focussing primarily on skills and interests of people and understanding team dynamics. This included an Insights assessment for everyone, which was interesting and useful. IIB have developed a new approach to PDRs focusing more on personal development than objective setting, and a workshop for reviewers was held. They are trying to build staff development needs into a career development plan which helps them meet RTTP standard (registered Technology Transfer Practitioner). This is a global standard and requires staff to undertake training and mentoring and then demonstrate competence via an assessment of a project. On top of this a Pathfinder programme is being established to help staff find placements or special projects or mentors which can help their development.
IIB aims to let everyone take part in some kind of external activity for two weeks every two years. It is being explored if staff could undertake part or all of the Exeter MBA or a Degree apprenticeship in a relevant standard.

VCEG / Change

Workshops were run by Sean Fielding on 1st and 9th March to discuss ways in which improvements can be made in the future. Mike Shore Nye has been invited to come to speak annually to a staff meeting.

Communications

We have established a regular monthly meeting of senior representatives of all the teams so that there is good sharing of information and better cross-team planning.

Facilities Management

Facilities Management held a number of mini workshops to celebrate the Employee Engagement survey results (71% staff engagement) and to ascertain how the management team could improve in areas where there were low scores.

Eleven workshops were held and over 80% of staff attended. Staff were broken down into groups to discuss their views on how we could improve communication, deliver change and how they perceive VCEG

Information and photographs were displayed around the room celebrating successes.  In addition the University structure, Council, VCEG, PSLT and other structures were on display to help staff understand what these leaderships teams contribute to the University and how we in Facilities Management fitted into the overall structure of the University and how we could make a difference on a daily basis.

 Communication

Operational briefing sheets have been introduced to support the 24/7/365 working patterns in FM.  This means staff can get University information, Facilities Management information and Service specific information

 Change

 Short bite size workshops are going to be delivered in January 2018 to support cleaners in ‘change’ there will be tools and techniques to support the staff in the workplace to manage how they feel about change  

 VCEG

 Following the workshops the FM team have a clearer understanding of what VCEG do and how they provide leadership across the University  

Engineering and Direct works

Processes

The Engineer’s admin review has started and has led to our designing and mapping the Contractor Delivered Preventative Maintenance Remedial Works Process. This incorporates admin support steps and support forms, assisting Engineers and freeing them from having to file paperwork and raise orders; this has reduced them having to work in two systems quite as often. There is also a clear process which supports the management of our suppliers, and ensures improved quality, compliance traceability and value for money. This has been formally rolled out by a workshop and training session for all Engineers and process step owners, who are responsible for contracts of this nature attending.

Reward and recognition

The Engineering team will shortly hold a “tool box talk” about the Above & Beyond scheme, once there is confirmation of the ‘pot values’ this year. The presentation will cover: what it is, a definition of A&B, our service criteria matched to the values, with examples of what these look like in our service, how to make an e-thank you award, and walk through our service process for instant awards.

Reward and recognition

A member of the “shop floor” Engineer or Operative is now invited to attend the monthly management meeting, where each month we discuss and review all the thank yous received and any customer thank yous, as logged on our complaints and compliments log. These we then debate and agree as a team, and decide if an upgrade to an instant award or any other additional notable recommendations should be highlighted by the management team to the Director of CaS.

Grounds

Change

Iain spoke at the all Grounds staff meeting to reinforce the University mission and values and what this is likely to mean for Grounds team members, and to explain change and continuous improvement as part of the mission and value framework.

Reward and recognition

Above & Beyond is now a regular feature of staff workplace meeting agendas to ensure all staff are aware of their ability to use (and benefit from) the scheme.

Research Services

Development

Colleagues in Research Services are taking pride in their knowledge and connections.  They are working on a list of all of the boards/ committees and working groups that Research Services colleagues are involved in as well as identifying Champions, Sponsors, Leads and Activity owners across the service, in areas including Planning, Policy, Major Initiatives, external relationship management and the research environment. Additional training for PDRs took place, and training needs are being analysed. 

Communication

Directorate Briefings have been scheduled for October, February and June, with contributions from different areas.  The Research Services Senior Management Group (which includes Business Partners, Cluster Leads and Team Heads) will cascade monthly Team Briefs; queries raised will be fed back to the group at monthly meetings, or raised directly with the RS Director Group as appropriate. 

Change

Research Services’ new structure is now in place in readiness for the new academic year.  Managers are aiming to ensure that the additional efforts of the team are acknowledged, as working patterns and way of working are evolving within the new structure. The Statement of Expectations (due for circulation Sept/October 2017), will provide a framework to support effective and efficient collaborative working within a set of guiding principles for the parties actively involved in research at the University. 

 

Colleges

A common theme across our staff engagement survey was the need to provider greater transparency and consultation on strategic decisions and projects. In the past it was felt there was a lack of this and internal communication on key decisions could be improved.

Staff Consultation in Strategic Projects

Following the compilation of the Staff Survey Action Plan we looked to identify key projects that could be opened out for wider consultation to all staff to ensure greater inclusivity. A prominent project at this time (April – May 2017) was the review of the One Planet MBA brand and the direction this should take moving forward. The School had recently appointed Carrington Crisp, an external marketing agency, to review the OPMBA brand. This involved the agency carrying out a number of interviews with internal and external stakeholders and in turn bringing together some suggested propositions to the School to consider moving forward.

An “all staff consultation” workshop was organised, with the invitation to all staff being promoted in the internal newsletter “Business Buzz” over several weeks for staff to register to attend. The turn-out was positive with 14 members of staff signing up to participate in the 1 hour workshop titled “Planning Growth – MBA” (held on the 11th May) – hosted by the external marketing agency.

The workshop provided much debate and positively shaped the final positioning statements that the agency presented to the School in the weeks that followed. Further to this, the participation allowed colleagues, outside of the MBA provision and ordinarily not familiar, to gain greater understanding of what was taking place and the direction for the MBA (and School). The success of this type of event has encouraged the School to continue this format for other key projects in the months ahead.

Introduction of monthly PVC drop-in surgeries.

A monthly drop-in surgery for all staff to meet with the PVC was set up from April 2017 onwards. This continues to be scheduled and is a permanent feature within the PVC’s diary. The PVC has found this to be a useful exercise dedicating time/space to speak with colleagues on a more informal basis, and the drop-in sessions have seen a number of colleagues taking up the opportunity to share their concerns or successes with the PVC directly. The PVC drop-in surgeries always take place outside of the Deans Office on the ground floor of the Business School to ensure that colleagues feel more at ease in turning up.

Economics department

Voice

We’re making more time for discussions in departmental meetings for attendees to give their feedback/have their voice heard on departmental issues
VCEG

The PVC came to the last departmental meeting.

Development

We are rolling out a departmental “teaching improvement” plan this Autumn and are engaging a private coach who will particularly focus on presentation skills.

Communication

The department has held four weekly informal Friday coffee/cookie session (2-3pm Staff room), open to all academics to improve communication and support.

Communication

CLES webpages are being updated with a clear depiction of the governance structure including photos of the College’s Executive Group members (including newly appointed Heads of Department) and the College’s Professional Services Leadership Team members. Prof Dan Charman will write a termly PVC blog. In June, the Provost held a talk with CLES academic members of staff and in July there was a termly College Professional Services Forum. Both events touched on themes which were described in the Employee Engagement survey.

Wellbeing

Occupational Health have attended and presented at College Executive meeting and to Law School academics and to PS staff supporting the College.

Development

There has been huge interest in a career development workshop for Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor level staff so an additional session has been arranged in the Autumn term.

Communication

Planning is underway to run a focus group with a selection of staff to discuss how communications with academic staff including upwards communications can be improved.

Development

Workshops to discuss the role of Academic Leads, and their support and training needs will take place on a discipline by discipline basis in the Autumn Term

Communication

CEG will be agreeing a programme of two way meetings and other social events with staff to increase the opportunities for informal discussions. Colleagues were encouraged to come to the College BBQ – attendance doubled to 150.

Inclusivity

The College of Humanities has established a College Inclusivity Group, which had its inaugural meeting on 18 May 2017. Chaired by the PVC with support from the College Equality and Diversity Coordinator, Professor Nuria Capdevila-Arguelles, membership consists of representatives of each academic job family on varying FTE to ensure the broadest possible representation. There’s been good feedback from members. The group will be a proactive body that will offer challenge across all areas of inclusivity, and will, in particular, bring forward suggestions to CEG about the way things are done in the future.   The group’s second meeting on 5 October is looking at how the group might create a visible change in the College’s inclusive environment and what they can do to promote visible inclusivity in addition to the materials which are on the University website. They will also consider Athena SWAN and a College Inclusivity Day event.

VCEG

Andrew Thorpe, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean, is attending discipline staff meetings and discipline strategy group meetings. His updates are being included in the College newsletter introduction, referenced in College meetings and via discipline cascades. The College has also been in contact with the Provost’s office to explore arrangements around meetings with Humanities staff. The ADE is in discussions with the DVC Education about his attendance at department meetings during 17/18.