All-round improved work environment at the University

3 May 2018

The University's work environment is moving in the right direction in almost every area. This is evident in the summary results from this year's satisfaction survey. Most employees think the working climate and leadership are good, and are proud of their workplace. The areas for improvement include high workloads and internal information and communication within the University.


Photo: Malin Grönborg

To identify how the University's employees perceive their work situation, a survey was conducted during March -April this year. The response rate of 83 per cent was a record high, which is an increase of five percentage points compared with the last employee satisfaction survey in 2014. Umeå University is thus the second-best in Sweden in regards to response rate among the nation's colleges and universities, which participated in the same survey.

Another positive trend is the so-called employee index – a measure of how satisfied employees are with their working conditions. This year, Umeå University scored 69 of maximum 100. For the last index taken in 2014, the corresponding value was 66. This means that the Umeå University now belongs to the group of higher education institutions that have the best results in the country, among those who carried out a similar measurement.

"It's truly great to see that more and more of the University's employees are satisfied with their work situation, and that we have a positive trend. If you thrive and develop on the job, you also feel and perform better. We will now wait for more in-depth analysis of the results in order to look into what areas require further efforts," says Vice-Chancellor Hans Adolfsson.

Variation among positions

Vice-Chancellor Hans Adolfsson.

Photo: Elin Berge

The results also demonstrate that the employee index varies between different groups at the University. The highest values are found among professors, administrative staff and even doctoral students — a group that previously had a very low index-value, now at 71.

"For a long period of time, we have been working on trying to improve the working situation for our doctoral students. The positive result from this survey is hopefully a sign that we are also on the right path in this effort," explains Hans Adolfsson.

Recommendation rate increases
The survey also measured the rate of recommendation or Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), which is a measure of how likely it is that individual employees would recommend Umeå University to others. This trend is also positive and Umeå University occupies a top position among the surveyed universities in Sweden. The value of 13 means that the University has far more employees who can be regarded as ambassadors than critics.

Strengths and areas for improvement
Based on the results, strengths and areas for improvement in regards to the work situation can be pinpointed. Some strengths are that many departmental and unit employees are proud to work at Umeå University. Many also experience a great work environment and good leadership. A majority also believe that their work is interesting and rewarding, and the motivation level is high.

Some areas that can be improved are that the workload is just too high for some employees. In addition, there are gaps in the understanding of vision and subsidiary objectives, knowledge of procedures for crisis situations and participation in the work environment efforts. Another negative trend is the value on how employees find information.

Further analysis of the results is required to decide on exactly how the efforts should look like, according to Hans Adolfsson, but some action has already begun.

"Among other things, we will soon be launching a new vision and strategy for the University, which we expect to be able to involve all faculty and staff. Thereafter, we will also review the University's web site, which should make it easier to find the information one needs."

Next steps
The results of the employee satisfaction survey have been presented to deans, prefects, heads of department/unit and the trade unions. On 7 May, individual results for institutions and units will be submitted to the prefects and head of department/unit. Each manager will then present the results and establish an action plan for prioritised activities in collaboration with their employees.

All prefects and heads of department will be contacted by HR support (human resources at the operations, administration and faculty level) in order to ensure that they receive adequate support in their work with the analysis, information and the development of action plans.

"It is now when the most important work begins – with the help of the results to develop the working environment and thus the overall operational quality. We all want the work environment to be good and that the development will continue to progress in the right direction," says Hans Adolfsson.

Based on the action plans and own analyses of department and units, the faculties will reconcile an overall action plan for systematic work environment to their operational plans in December. An in-depth analysis on the university-wide level, and a university-wide action plan will also be drawn up.

Results of the 2018 Employee Satisfaction Survey

Any questions? Contact:

Lars Mähler, Project manager
Office for Human Resources
073-727 42399

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