Following those surveys, our faculties and services developed action plans to address the areas for improvement and share best practice. Your views really do matter.
In the mini staff survey in 2011, most respondents said they felt the University is a good place to work, they generally enjoyed their work and felt proud to work for the University. 90% of respondents were satisfied with the support they received from work colleagues, and most were satisfied with the support they got from their immediate manager, saying that their manager involved them in decisions that affect them in their own area of work, provided them with positive and constructive feedback about their performance, and kept them informed about things they should know about.
Over the coming months we will be adding further examples here of what faculties and services have done to address areas for improvement highlighted by the surveys and other feedback.
• We developed and launched dedicated websites for staff and students in September 2011, to provide an improved and accessible source of information and reduce email traffic. Forthcoming events and daily announcements are posted up as appropriate on both websites.
Libraries and Learning Innovation presents a challenge in terms of the balance between providing a frontline service that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and including all our staff in communication. For instance, we can never have an all-staff awayday because we never close! A large proportion of our staff are part-time – some working with us for only six hours a week – and they told us it’s difficult to catch up with information as they tend not to hear it by word of mouth. So we have to find creative ways of including people in our communications.
We introduced a weekly e-bulletin as our central reference point for information: if there is any important news, it’ll be there. We encourage all staff to contribute to it, and encourage team leaders to use it in team meetings as a framework for discussion, so that we can use it to prompt staff feedback and two-way communication too. We have found that the bulletin has reduced the over-use of email, which a lot of our part-time staff prefer. We have also improved the targeting and signposting of emails so that it’s clear what they are for, who they are for and what the recipients are supposed to do with them.
For more strategic communications we have an information cascade system. Updates from our University’s Corporate Management Team are provided at our weekly Leadership Team meetings and then disseminated onward to team meetings; people are also asked to report back in their team meetings on any other groups at which they represent our service, so that information can be widely shared.
Once a month our Director Jo Norry holds an open door meeting at each campus, at which she talks about developments in our University, and their possible impact on our service (for example, flexible delivery). Any member of LLI staff can attend these. Jo also invites all new starters for coffee so that she can meet them personally and talk about the service and so they can meet each other.
We have staff suggestion boxes at each campus. We consider all suggestions (which can be anonymous) at our monthly Management Team meetings, and usually the manager of the service area is tasked to give feedback to the sender on what action has been taken (or why it hasn’t). Summaries of suggestions received are also included in the Management Team minutes, which are available to everyone, and we award a small prize at the end of the year to someone who’s sent a suggestion, chosen at random.
Similarly, we try to involve all our colleagues in our planning process. We gather everyone’s ideas around the key themes for the year. This year we ran several planning sessions so that part-time staff could contribute, including some held via Elluminate e-conferencing, and used paper tablecloths and an online noticeboard to collect ideas.”
Case study: Lorraine Foster, Operations & Training Manager
“We have had to be imaginative in how we communicate because of our diverse workforce, and because we are trying to deliver a service and ensure a consistent message is being conveyed. We have organised a number of meetings and one-to-ones to support staff, to ensure they are aware of what’s happening in CARES and also around the wider University.
To support this we hold monthly Leadership Team meetings which include the CARES Managers, and also representatives who support our area from Finance and Human Resources. These meetings are to discuss planning, finance, human resources issues, updates from managers and health and safety. We also have weekly operational meetings for different areas of our service, at which, for example, we may discuss plans for equipment and updates on operational issues.
To ensure that staff are aware of what is happening across CARES and the whole of the University we also hold bi-monthly team meetings within Campus Services, Food Services and Security which are arranged around working patterns. These meetings discuss items such as the Vice Chancellor’s newsletter, operational issues, training and feedback from staff. We also use part of the meeting for ‘bite-sized’ training sessions tailored for our staff in areas from Equality and Diversity, Wellbeing, and Dignity and Respect to COSHH and HACCP (Food Hygiene). In other areas of CARES, for example, Accommodation, Conferencing and the Helpdesk area have operational meetings to support their areas and provide feedback from the leadership and operational meetings.
Most of our Campus Services teams do not have PC access and don’t use the internet, so we use the bi-monthly meetings to update everyone on matters such as stress management, wellbeing and staff benefits, and we invite staff from other areas of the University to make presentations. We also make arrangements for staff training to be co-ordinated through their managers/supervisors and the Operations and Training Manager co-ordinates the training sessions.
We provide feedback from our customers which is disseminated back to staff through the bi-monthly meetings and the quarterly one-to-one meetings staff have with their supervisor. We encourage staff to come up with their own ideas for improving our service: for example one of our Food Services team at City Campus came up with some fantastic ideas about providing healthy food options.”
Case study: Marie-Odile Leconte, Associate Dean, Carnegie Faculty
“Two areas we have been concentrating on are change management and making communications more effective.
We needed to provide clarity about the Faculty restructuring into Schools, to engage staff in the process and to give them the assurance that they had some say in it. We consulted all staff concerned about the restructure in a series of meetings from April to June, culminating in a paper presenting the consultation outcomes, which helped to smooth the path for the new structure. We produced clear role descriptions for all Principal Lecturers and asked them to send expressions of interest in roles in each of the new Schools. After all, we’re asking them to lead, so they have to have a sense that they’re personally contributing to the future of the Schools. Finally we produced a document that sets out clearly who the key contacts in the Faculty are, as well as the names of all representatives on teams, groups and committees at University level so that communication can be clearly established and monitored.
We have also established a series of Q&A sessions with Schools and meet with colleagues in HR and Marketing to understand their roles and responsibilities.
To address issues raised by staff about internal communications we’re road-testing a pilot Faculty intranet. Based on the outcomes of the last staff survey, we discontinued our e-bulletin and instead are trying to place links to all documents and information specific to the Faculty in one easily accessible place on the intranet, as well as staff news and ‘human interest’ items. For other information we’re trying to drive traffic to the University staff website and weekly e-bulletin. In the future we hope to introduce an online staff discussion forum.”