During August and September of 2006, six open forums were conducted by Vice Chancellor Al Diaz and Vice Provost Yolanda Moses to discuss the results of the staff climate survey. Presented below is a summary of the information provided in the open forums.
Purpose of the Survey
The purpose of the survey was to assess staff’s perception of the current state of the campus climate. The climate of an organization is defined as its employees’ reactions to the environment of the organization. This survey will also serve as a baseline for comparison with future surveys. It is anticipated that a staff climate survey will be conducted every three years. This allows enough time between surveys to develop and implement action plans and time for employees to experience the subsequent changes in their work environment.
Administration of the Survey by Wonderlic Consulting, Inc.
The decision to use an outside third party, Wonderlic specifically, to administer the climate survey was based on several factors. First and foremost, Wonderlic was able to guarantee the confidentiality of the responses. Second, Wonderlic has conducted over 50,000 surveys enabling them to provide professional guidance throughout the process. Finally, Wonderlic had some experience with the UC system as they had conducted the staff climate survey at UC Irvine. UC Riverside was the second UC campus to utilize their survey services and was considered a “beta” test site.
Comparison of 2006 Survey Results to 2001 Survey Results
It was hoped that a statistical comparison could be made between the 2006 and 2001 survey results. Unfortunately, this was not possible due to two factors: the difference in the questions and the difference in the demographics of the survey respondents. As the questions on the two surveys were designed to elicit different responses, a comparison that would detect a statistical difference or similarity was unable to be conducted. In attempting to make comparisons, it was also found that the demographics of the respondents was significantly different between the two surveys. The 2006 survey had a higher number of respondents overall and more Spanish speaking respondents. In general, non-statistically speaking, the results of the two surveys look to be very much the same. For future surveys, particular attention will be paid to the design of the items so that statistical comparisons can be made.
Review of the Survey Results
Staff in attendance at the open forums received a copy of the survey results. The survey results can be found at Reports in both English and Spanish. The survey results are displayed by category with similar items grouped together within the category. While the responses to the individual items are significant, grouping them by category provides a “big picture” view of staff’s attitude on the particular topic.
The response scale goes from 1 “strongly disagree” to 5 “strongly agree”. For each item, “N” represents the number of responses received, “Avg.” refers to the average rating the item received, and “St.Dev.” refers to the standard deviation of the responses around the average response. In many instances, items received a neutral rating.
To summarize the results, the items that received a more positive response than neutral response were: commitment to UCR, positive feelings toward co-workers, job satisfaction, and overall satisfaction. This means that despite some of the constraints staff have been working under for the past few years, there is still a large amount of individual commitment and staff are proud to be associated with UC Riverside.
Areas for management’s attention are the items that are rated more negative than neutral. These items include: pay, workload, senior leadership, communication, recognition, and career opportunities. The Chancellor has acknowledged these areas of opportunity in her June letter which can be found at http://www.climatesurvey2006.ucr.edu/index.php?content=chancellor/index.html.
These areas of concern will be addressed in a variety of ways. The issues of pay and workload will be addressed as part of the regular strategic planning sessions that are conducted by senior management. Senior leadership is committed to addressing the fact that staff do not feel that they understand staff issues and do not feel that anything will change as a result of this survey. One way of showing their responsiveness to staff issues will be through the action planning process which has been designed to address the remaining three issues: communication, recognition, and career opportunities.
Action Planning Process
Note: The process for nominating staff to participate on work groups was re-evaluated based on feedback received at the first two forums. The information provided here represents the revised process.
In order to address the areas needing attention, Chancellor Córdova has established a Staff Climate Survey Steering Committee to review these issues and make recommendations to her and the EVC/Provost for improving our work environment. This will be done by means of three workgroups, charged by the Steering Committee, in the areas of communication, recognition, and career opportunities. The Communication workgroup will be chaired by Vice Chancellor Bill Boldt; the Recognition workgroup will be chaired by Vice Chancellor Jim Sandoval; and the Career Opportunities workgroup will be chaired by Vice Chancellor Gretchen Bolar.
The workgroups will be comprised of represented, non-represented, and management/superviosry staff members. The nomination process will be open to the campus and staff can self-nominate or nominate their peers. The selection process will be conducted by the Staff Assembly Executive Board for non-represented staff and by the appropriate union for represented staff. Summaries of the work group meetings will be posted on the climate survey website. Individuals nominated but not selected to serve on the work groups will be asked to participate in various focus groups that will support the activities of the work groups. The focus groups will be led by a professional facilitator and will meet at least twice throughout the process.
The PowerPoint presentation outlining the Action Planning process may be found at http://climatesurvey2006.ucr.edu/action/CLIMATE SURVEY PowerPoint 08 06(rev).ppt.
Communication About the Survey and Action Planning Process
The survey results and action plans are being communicated by several means: the open forums, the climate survey website, and the Chancellor’s June letter.
The open forums were concluded with a question and answer period. The most frequently asked questions and corresponding answers can be found at the Frequently Asked Questions page of the Climate Survey website FAQs.