Pulse survey: fall update

10 November 2021

Since August 2020, the U of A for Tomorrow (UAT) team has sent monthly pulse surveys to a representative, randomly selected sample of 700 employees across the institution to ask about restructuring and strategic transformation. With an average response rate of 36.7 per cent, this short survey is an opportunity to hear from faculty and staff about the changes being undertaken to achieve the goals of the UAT initiative and "take the pulse" of the university community.

Each month, the responses are analyzed and compared to previous months' responses; this feedback is then used to adapt UAT communications and change-management activities. Since the last pulse survey update in July, the results highlight the following:

  • Staff understand the reasons for and vision of UAT, but remain concerned with the management of current financial circumstances.
  • September results continue a recent decline across all survey questions, and feedback responses indicate that the stress of COVID and a return to campus have heightened concerns.

Qualitative results have shown a gradual shift from active resistance to exploration (e.g., acceptance and hopeful stages on the change curve), with employees requesting more information on progress made during restructuring as well as recognition opportunities for positive changes.

Findings

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Overall, employees understand the UAT vision, the intent behind restructuring, and why the change is necessary. However, they are neutral in their confidence that UAT can achieve its vision, and are less satisfied with how the university is managing the current economic circumstances.

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The survey asks a series of questions on a five-point scale (as seen above) and provides the opportunity for narratives and feedback. The comments we received show that despite the challenges of institutional transformation, employees recognize the opportunities for positive change with UAT. However, the results also indicate that they continue to be overwhelmed and anxious at the pace and scope of the changes and seek transparent communications—particularly with regard to job disruptions. In addition, faculty and staff are still unsure that the colleges will deliver on the vision of a more nimble academic structure.

Top concerns

Concerns from faculty and staff fall into three main themes. To help address these concerns, clarifying information has been provided below:

Multiple pressures

The university's leadership recognizes that the university is in a period of major disruption and that many people are managing stress from the pandemic, the uncertainties surrounding the restructuring, and the anxiety about job security.

We recognize that these changes are difficult and can take a toll. We ask for your patience and empathy towards your colleagues as we work to make the new model successful. If you are struggling with the stress and anxiety that naturally comes with uncertainty, we encourage you to reach out for support and pursue the Wellbeing Through Change resources the university offers.

We can achieve our goals, improve the university, and enhance our core mission by working together to meet our UAT objectives. Fundamentally, UAT is about enhancing excellence; ensuring that our academic and administrative structures enable us to thrive today and in the future. Success will depend on all of us working together as we restructure and reorganize how we work and deliver the university's core mission.

Feedback please!

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to complete a survey. As restructuring continues and we transition to the new operating model, the UAT team wants to hear your feedback. All employees across the institution have a chance to receive a survey each month, and the feedback you provide is invaluable as it helps point our efforts in the right direction. When you receive one, it should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Your response is both anonymous and confidential (the responses will only be shared as aggregated data) so please share your honest feedback. The pulse survey will take a short hiatus for the month of November, and the next survey period will run from December 8-15.

Get in touch

If you didn't receive a pulse survey last month, the UAT team is still interested in hearing your feedback and suggestions as we move forward with the new operating model. There are many ways to share your thoughts:

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