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UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 10 | June 14, 2001

Faculty, staff survey focuses on university as workplace

Individuals to be asked how they feel about work they do

by Hilary Thomson staff writer

UBC faculty and staff will have a unique opportunity to make an impact on future decision-making on campus with the launch of a new project that seeks to map out the university's workplace values.

"As UBC's vision evolves and employees work to implement Trek 2000 strategies, we need to know more about where people are coming from," says Jim Horn, associate vice-president, Human Resources. "We want to know what their priorities are, what barriers they may be facing as well as their general perception of what it's like to work here."

Faculty and staff at UBC recently received a letter from the senior administration asking for their participation in the project which will involve telephone interviews and surveys.

Their input will help the university build on its strengths, remove obstacles to further growth and move ahead with a common understanding of what factors influence individuals' actions, says Horn. For example, information could be useful in developing and revitalizing recognition programs.

Winnipeg-based Cultural Research, a 12-year-old Canadian company that has done similar work for private industry, universities and unions such as CUPE National, will conduct the project. Data collection should be completed by year-end.

Initial consultations have been held with UBC administrators and faculty as well as union and non-union staff groups.

Horn believes that knowing the values at UBC is essential.

"Even though we rarely talk about our deeply held beliefs, they affect our actions and decisions and are a significant factor in how work gets done, how people feel about the work they do and ultimately how successful an organization can be," he says.

The project starts with about a hundred confidential telephone interviews between Cultural Research staff and randomly selected UBC participants. Each interview takes about 20 minutes and has an open format so individuals can talk about what is important to them.

Interviews will continue throughout the project. Focus groups will also be used to identify and discuss emerging issues.

"The beauty of this process is that faculty and staff can give their gut-level feelings directly," says Julie Stockton, director of Human Resources, who is co-ordinating the project. "This is a chance to be heard and an avenue to share what is important to the people who work here."

Topics for discussion will include areas such as recognition, communication, respect for each other's work, introducing new ideas, promoting understanding and general perceptions of UBC's challenges and how the university operates.

Interview data is held with the research company and will help inform surveys to be distributed to all faculty and staff in the fall.

Individuals return surveys anonymously to the research company and can follow up with a phone call if they have further comments.

A summary of results of the values project will be shared with all university faculty and staff.

For more information on the project, call Julie Stockton at 604-822-5442.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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