With a workforce as diverse as the University of Saskatchewan’s, it is even more important to keep a finger on the pulse of faculty and staff engagement.
There are approximately 6,000 permanent and term faculty and staff who make up the workforce at the U of S. Jeff Hepp, Human Resources senior consultant for metrics and performance, is leading the university’s new employee engagement survey project, scheduled to begin in early 2017.
“Engagement encompasses how faculty and staff feel about the university in key areas of leadership, personal performance, organizational structures, safety, total rewards and work-life balance,” Hepp said.
The last time U of S faculty and staff took part in an employee engagement survey was in early 2015. This year, the engagement survey is being administered by the Korn Ferry Hay Group (KFHG).
“In previous employee engagement surveys, we heard from faculty and staff that they wanted a more confidential and secure outlet to voice their opinions; one that was independent from Human
Resources and the university,” said Hepp. “There was also a need to incorporate best practices from industry and other universities. KFHG addresses all of these areas, having worked with over 4,000 organizations in engagement surveys.”
The university and Human Resources use the anonymous feedback received through surveys like this to develop programs and make improvements to the workplace for faculty and staff. For example, in previous surveys conducted since 2012, a declining number of U of S faculty and staff stated that they believed an Indigenous person had an equal opportunity for employment at the university.
Since that time, the university has established institutional priorities for indigenization and Human Resources launched an Indigenous self-identification campaign in 2016 in which 205 faculty and staff have declared their ancestry so far. A spring gathering/conference is also in the planning stages to celebrate these faculty and staff members. In addition, the university has partnered with Indigenous institutions to host the Aboriginal Career Start program, which provides administrative skills development and on-the-job training for students transitioning into their careers.
The Employee Engagement survey will launch in January 2017 and will run for approximately two weeks.
Zaheed Bardai is a communications specialist with Human Resources.