Kevin Ward, UI Human Resources
2014 Working at Iowa results are in
2014 Working at Iowa results are in
2014 Working at Iowa results are in
The University of Iowa attracts and retains a highly effective and productive workforce.
That’s according to the results of the 2014 Working at Iowa (WAI) survey, administered by UI Human Resources.
Additional survey highlights include:
- University employees understand their role and contribution toward the mission of the university.
- University staff and faculty place a strong emphasis on customer service, contributing to student success, high quality patient care, and service to others.
- University faculty and staff report their supervisors treat them with respect, and they recommend the UI to friends seeking employment.
Kevin Ward, assistant vice president for UI Human Resources Administration, discusses the 2014 results and the next steps for Working at Iowa.
The 2014 survey results had a 68 percent response rate from more than 16,400 faculty and staff. This is an increase from previous years. To what do you attribute this success?
I believe this high level of response is consistent with the survey findings showing that the university workforce is actively engaged with their work and the success of the university. They are willing to share their experiences to continue to make this an even better place for faculty and staff, as well to further support student success, excellent patient care, and our leadership in research and scholarly work.
I also want to thank all those who helped support participation, whether as survey ambassadors, Human Resources Representatives, or as university leadership.
What was most surprising about this year’s results?
As the fourth in this series of surveys, what I see as revealing is the resiliency of the university workforce. During each of the four survey periods (October 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2014), the UI has faced difficult and challenging times, ranging from immediate flood recovery, reductions in funding support, and most recently, Ebola preparations among others. Yet our survey results consistently demonstrate a positive commitment to excellence and the success of the university, with an optimism that the university will meet whatever challenges that may lie ahead.
Kevin Ward will present the Working at Iowa results to the UI Staff Council Jan. 14 and to the Faculty Senate Feb. 10. To read a summary report and response data, visit the UI Human Resources Working at Iowa website.
Where did you see the most impressive growth?
The university level results are very consistent with the 2012 survey snapshot. We did see some encouraging improvement in areas that continue to be challenging, such as constructive management of conflicts, workload distribution, and civil and respectful treatment of co-workers.
More variation will be seen within the reports provided to colleges and divisions and where available, individual departments. At the local level we typically see the most opportunity to identify positive change.
Where do we still have more work to do based on employee feedback?
We continue to see concerns about workload distribution and the management of conflict. As we continue to experience changes in how work is organized and accomplished, we need to continue to learn more about why individuals have these concerns and how to make improvement, both locally and at the university level.
Promotional opportunities also continue to be expressed as a concern. Some of the recommendations made through the TIER efficiency study may help promote and support internal mobility such as promotion. We also need to continue to promote the resources and opportunities already available to support individual career growth.
Finally, I think there is more that we can do to highlight and recognize the great work that our staff and faculty do every day. Whether for internal audiences or external promotions, we need to continue to recognize individuals in new ways and tell the story of the great work people do here.
Did faculty, P&S staff, and merit staff have very different responses? Were there any other patterns or trends?
Each employee group has similarities as well as some differences in those areas that show the most room for improvement. Overall, the level of positive responses tends to be somewhat lower with our merit staff. These individuals are a significant part of our overall workforce and provide essential services and support to the campus, as well as to our students, patients, and visitors. Therefore, we will be looking at ways that University Human Resources might best foster and support improvement.
Mass emails were sent to all UI faculty and staff on Dec. 17th and Jan. 8th, sharing the results, but what’s next on the Working at Iowa front? How else are the results being shared with UI employees?
The breakout reports for individual colleges/divisions and departments were recently provided to the Senior HR Leaders across campus who will soon be working to communicate the results.
These individuals are working with their organizational leaders to communicate the results to their respective groups. How they share information may vary between organizations and departments, whether through a local website or in-person meetings. But the first step is to share the results so that a dialogue can begin to understand more specifically what the results mean, and to recognize the opportunities to build on strengths and/or pursue initiatives for improvement.
These results may also be used as part of an organization’s strategic planning process and/or as they look at anticipated changes and/or challenges already on the horizon. The other important challenge is to continue to share how the survey responses are being used, so that individuals can know that their participation in the survey was worthwhile.
When will the next survey occur? Will anything change about the survey or will new topics be addressed?
We anticipate repeating a survey in 2016. Having used the same survey for both 2012 and 2014, I expect to make some changes before the next survey. We will review our survey items based upon the most recent research and best practices, yet try to retain enough consistency to identify historical trends.
Anything else that you think is especially important for people to know about the results?
The Working at Iowa survey is a snapshot from one point in time. Survey results can best be understood through dialogue and conversation with groups of participants.
While we can compare Working at Iowa survey data with past surveys or between different campus populations/groups, the results also need to be considered in relation to other kinds of information and data. Some of these might be Human Resource measures related to turnover, health, and productivity, or customer/user satisfaction or unit productivity. Using the Working at Iowa data in combination with other data provides the greatest opportunity to support our staff and faculty, as well as our ongoing strategic success.