Reporting on What We Heard in consultations to develop a People Strategy

Your opportunity to respond to feedback on key findings.


When we began developing a People Strategy for the U of A, we knew we wouldn’t be successful without your input, which is why we are grateful for the insightful contributions gathered during three months of consultation across the university. The process spanned an online feedback form, roundtable discussions, dedicated sessions for specific employee groups and active consultation with different standing bodies, including the Indigenous Advisory Council. Today, we are releasing a What We Heard report that shares the key ideas received during consultations and builds on the insights provided by the 2023 Faculty and Staff Engagement Survey. This report is the next step to the U of A’s inaugural People Strategy,  it is an important part of the process of building a culture where we can do our best work in a supportive and thriving community. 

The People Strategy steering committee — which we co-chair and includes front-line faculty, staff and leaders — received candid, honest and, at times, vulnerable feedback. We heard that executive leadership needs to build trust, with calls for us to listen, be transparent and strengthen our accountability to the U of A community. We share our profound gratitude that during times when building trust is needed, people came forward with vulnerable input.

We also heard that faculty and staff are deeply committed to the university’s mission and values. People take pride in their work and how they contribute to excellence in education and research. There is also strong support for major initiatives, including the Student Experience  (SEAP) and equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) action plans. Many — not all — shared feeling supported and engaged within their units, departments, faculties or teams. 

In addition to the comments listed above, five major themes emerged during the consultation process, and we encourage you to read the full report for a thorough overview of these major ideas. 

  • Theme 1: The need for high-functioning supports and resources to enable people to thrive in their role
    This spans a range of areas, including more effective services, processes, equipment, collaboration and tools to perform functions. 
  • Theme 2: The impact of workload and work-related stress on our well-being
    We received significant comments about workload and resulting stress with ideas for improvement that include increased resources and growing collaboration within teams. 
  • Theme 3: The desire for a sense of community and connection within a culture of trust and respect
    People at the U of A want to strengthen the sense of community. We heard that a culture of trust and respect is essential to relationship-building and deepening connections.
  • Theme 4: The importance of long-term career development in allowing people to flourish
    People want to advance their knowledge and skills and find long-term career paths at the university so they can flourish.
  • Theme 5: The need to value the contributions of people in all roles as the cornerstone of a flourishing workplace
    People want to know that their contributions are making a difference. We heard clearly that people want to feel valued and recognized for what they do and that this outcome is crucial for flourishing at work. 

Building a successful People Strategy for the University of Alberta requires a collective effort. We encourage you to read What We Heard and let us know what we need to add and adjust. You can share your feedback at two upcoming town halls, Feb. 13 and 22. Based on that additional feedback, the steering committee will develop an initial draft of the People Strategy with another opportunity for the community to provide input.  

This strategy will be vital to building a strong future for the U of A. Faculty, staff and students are integral to achieving the vision and ambitious goals in Shape: A Strategic Plan of Impact. Shape outlines a commitment to take deliberate steps to support people and create a culture where everyone can achieve their full potential and access support to succeed. The People Strategy will advance that commitment.  

Thank you to all who have shared their ideas and perspectives so far. We encourage everyone to provide input in this next phase of developing the strategy. 

Verna Yiu, Provost and Vice-president (Academic)
Todd Gilchrist, Vice-president (University Services and Finance)

The University of Alberta is committed to the safety, health and well-being of our faculty, staff and students. Every day, we advance this commitment to safety through the Culture of Care.