Staff invited to share comments, suggestions through new survey

Case Western Reserve University has surveyed faculty regularly since at least 2004. Today, staff members get their say.

Last year the university’s strategic plan committed to take steps to increase staff engagement. One of the action steps it cited was “survey staff to learn their perspectives about their experiences and opportunities for professional growth.” The questions can be found here; the deadline to complete the survey is 5 p.m., Monday, Aug. 25.

The Staff Advisory Council (SAC) was among the most prominent advocates urging university leaders to provide employees the opportunity to provide comment and suggest improvements. SAC President Barbara Juknialis reviewed the survey and offered recommendations as part of the process.

“Staff are a crucial component of the University community,” Staff Advisory Council Chair Barb Juknialis said,” and this is our chance to make our voices heard!”

University leaders plan to use the survey to identify broad themes—for example aspects of the campus experience that staff find most and least appealing—as well as more specific ideas regarding what changes might bring the greatest positive effects for staff.

One of the reasons Vice President for Human Resources Carolyn Gregory is eager to see survey results involves a desire to find multiple ways to demonstrate how much the university values staff contributions. Financial constraints and the need to ensure the institution’s long-term sustainability limits opportunities to reward staff with significant salary and benefit increases. But Gregory believes other avenues may exist to enhance working conditions, opportunities for advancement, and the overall sense of community on campus.

“Rather than launch programs that we ‘think’ staff want,” Gregory said, “we wanted to hear directly from them—in particular how staff view the relative importance of potential and existing programs.”

Three years ago the university learned it had to adjust existing health benefits to comply with elements of the Affordable Care Act and reduce double-digit percentage increases in premiums. As part of the evaluation, the Office of Human Resources conducted a campus-wide survey of faculty and staff regarding possible changes. Nearly 1,000 people completed the survey, and the volume of responses meant that recommendations carried significant weight as officials made final decisions.

“We will take action based on the nature and number of people who participate in this survey,” Gregory said. “I encourage staff to complete this survey themselves, and also to urge their colleagues to do so as well. We value their feedback.”

Again, the survey closes at 5 p.m. Monday, August 25.

“Please take a few minutes to provide your input via the climate survey,” Juknialis said. “Thanks in advance!”