‘Speaking Up’: From data to a To-Do list!

September 30, 2015

peaking Up - Areas of Focus

You spoke, and we are listening! The data collected from the 2014 ‘Speaking Up’ Faculty & Staff Experience Survey enables us to better understand the employee experience at the University of Toronto. The high-level results show that our community is actively engaged and has great things to say about working at U of T.

“The good news is that overall our results are very positive. We will always strive to look for ways to offer more support and resources to our staff and faculty, and improve our performance in specific areas, but it is important not to lose sight of the big picture – the overwhelming view is that U of T is a great place to have a career,” says, Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity, University of Toronto.

As we shared with you in May, the overall results for employee satisfaction and pride at U of T are positive. You told us that:

  • 88% of employees “feel proud” to work at U of T, and
  • 87% of employees would recommend U of T as a “good place to work”.

Next steps: Questions, feedback, comments, consultations

Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity and Sioban Nelson, Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life, plan to visit each division to discuss the results and strategies for utilizing those results to move forward with new initiatives.

“Conversations with the divisions are necessary to understand the results in the context of what is happening on the ground, and will allow us to turn the results into action items. Our goal is to share recommendations and best practices gathered from ideas and projects that are currently underway or in development around the University,” Sioban Nelson, says Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life.

We want to hear about how the results are influencing strategies and action plans across the University. The project team is collecting ideas and examples of initiatives in academic and central divisions, relating to the survey findings.

Having data from three iterations of the survey – spanning 2006 to 2014 – allows us to gauge performance on a continuum, set benchmarks, recognize strengths and challenges, and identify trends.

As reported a few weeks ago, the survey results have been categorized into five main themes – which we are calling our ‘Areas of Focus’. Our goal is to identify commonalities across the University and look for collective solutions and innovations where possible.

“The ‘Speaking Up’ survey results act as a compass, a tool to orient us to the strengths, weaknesses and potential opportunities at the University of Toronto,” says Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost, University of Toronto.

Using the ‘Speaking Up’ Faculty & Staff Experience Survey results and the outcomes of divisional discussions, we will feature articles in the Bulletin highlighting each of the five ‘areas of focus’ over the coming few months.

A closer look at the five areas:

 

Recognition

Areas of Focus - Recognition

The survey results show consistently that we do well in formal recognition, but need to improve informal recognition across the University. In an upcoming article, we will highlight current initiatives underway at U of T to show appreciation for staff and faculty. We will brainstorm with people in all divisions to learn what initiatives and programs are in place or being implemented to better recognize and appreciate the hard work of our employees, and how they might be adapted to other areas of the University.

“In the fast-paced environment that comes with life in the technology age, we can sometimes forget the little things, like taking a moment to commend our colleagues on a job well done. The survey results tell us not to underestimate the effect of a simple, well-timed ‘thank you’, whether verbal, an email or a hand-written note,” says Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity.

Communication

Areas of Focus - Communications

Challenges with communication could be the biggest downside to being part of a large, complex institution like U of T. The upside is that we know this is an area that needs work – from the top down and from the bottom up. We are working collaboratively with the new Vice-President, Communications, David Estok, to improve in this critical area.

Equity & Diversity

Areas of Focus - Equity and Diversity

U of T is recognized externally for being a top diversity employer. That said, we want to raise our own bar and do even more. “Our organization is strongest when we have people from diverse backgrounds contributing perspectives and participating in decision-making and leadership at the University,” says Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost.

Faculty & Staff Development

Areas of Focus - Faculty and Staff Development

It is not surprising that people who choose to work in an academic environment are looking for more education and training! “Ensuring that our faculty and staff are equipped with the tools and skills necessary to be successful throughout their careers at U of T is key,” says, Angela Hildyard, Vice-President Human Resources & Equity.

Work-Life Integration
Areas of Focus - Work-Life Balance

In the current 24/7 environment, we all need to work towards better integration and balance of our work, family, and life activities. A future feature on work-life integration will highlight supports and services available to U of T employees, the use of technology for better integration, and innovative techniques and best practices being implemented across our campuses.

Let’s use the ‘Speaking Up’ survey as a starting point in a longer and larger conversation. Stay tuned for upcoming spotlight features on the five focus areas!

For more information

Visit uoft.me/speakingup to learn more, access the tools, and share your thoughts and comments with us at hrandequity@utoronto.ca.