Employee Engagement Survey 2016 - University Level Results

These reports give University-wide level results from the 2016 Employee Engagement Survey:

University-wide level results question by question

For the first time, we decided to use the survey to help us to measure how engaged colleagues working here are, rather than simply focusing on how satisfied they are with the University as an employer. This will help us to understand more about the relationship that exists between the University and colleagues, and where improvements could be made.

We have an overall engagement score of 66%.  We can use the engagement score to compare current levels of engagement in different areas of the University and against benchmark universities.  The ‘benchmark’ is a group of 29 universities, including 11 Russell Group institutions, for whom ORC holds comparable data for some questions. 

The responses received for each individual question is also included in the University-wide report and the colour coding will help you to see the positive and negative scores at a glance.  Positive scores have been worked out by combining respondents who ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ with each statement.  As you go through the report you will see that each section also has an average overall positive score. 

Higher positive scores were gained in questions relating to how colleagues feel about their role, their managers and their benefits package. Lower scores were gained in areas of change management and the connection the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Group (VCEG) has with colleagues. 

As well as the data in the University-wide level report, we have more than 4,000 verbatim comments to analyse.  These comments will be collated into University-wide themes, which will be explored by the Positive Working Environment group (PWE) and we will be seeking your ideas and input to find solutions to the issues you’ve raised.

A separate report has been prepared for question 14, which covered Performance Development Reviews (PDRs). This was a yes/no question rather than using a five point scale.

Trend report

The Trend report shows how the responses to specific questions asked in the 2016 survey compare to those asked in the 2014 survey.  We can compare responses to 17 questions in this way as not all questions were asked in both surveys.  The 2016 survey used a five point scale for the first time, giving respondents a ‘don’t know / not sure’ option, so it is hard to make accurate comparison.

To compensate for this, when comparing trend data, ORC has recalculated the 2016 favourable score in order to be able to compare “like for like”.  The neutral point has been taken out of the 2016 data and the favourable score has been recalculated as though those people who ticked the neutral point this time didn’t participate. This means when calculating the percentage favourable for the trend, the denominator of the fraction will be different.

College and Service results

In addition to the overall University-wide report and trend report, reports of local results and verbatim comments have been sent to all Colleges and Services. These reports will be used to inform local discussion and action planning workshops, led by senior teams.  

University-wide themes 

A group comprising Jacqui Marshall, HR Director and Deputy Registrar, Professor Andrew Thorpe representing VCEG, Professor Michelle Ryan as our expert in organisational psychology and Union representative Chris Forrest were tasked to assess the EES data and identify the key themes that are having a broad impact upon colleagues working at the University.

The six key themes, which are outlined below, will be actioned at a university level by the on-going work of the Positive Working Environment (PWE) programme.

  • Stress – detailed analysis of the results will look at trends and causes, as well as when intervention could be helpful
  • Personal development – identifying the development opportunities colleagues would like made available to them
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Group (VCEG) – identifying the expectations colleagues have of VCEG
  • Change – learning from the experience of teams who have undergone change
  • Social and shared space for colleagues to meet – exploring existing areas and identifying opportunities
  • Team size – exploring if there is a correlation between smaller teams and higher levels of engagement 


Initial headline themes

You can read the email giving initial headline themes emerging from the 2016 Employee Engagement Survey, sent by our Vice-Chancellor in December 2016.