Staff survey update
The results of the University's first staff survey were published in Spring 2008 and since that time they have not been filed away and left to gather dust! In line with the University's commitment to take real actions based on the results, a great deal of work has been taking place to address the key issues raised by staff.
The implementation of these action plans should mean that you will see real improvements in the areas that matter to you at work. The plans and initiatives taking place across the University are too numerous to mention here, but a flavour of the actions being taken is given below:
- The Department of English Studies is introducing an informal weekly department lunch to aid communication across sites.
- Theology plans to provide a time management training session for staff this academic year.
- Computer Science is installing some new windows to improve the working environment.
- Psychology has introduced a web-based system for staff to raise issues or concerns, anonymously if they wish.
- Durham Business School is consulting with HR to design a co-ordinated approach to staff training across a number of areas.
- The School for Medicine and Health is developing a school policy for reporting accidents.
- The scheme of delegation for the Academic Office is being reviewed, to address concerns about the number of approvals required for routine decisions.
- Both the International Office and Queen's Campus administration will be having full departmental meetings to aid communication.
- Collingwood College is implementing a manager's open door policy.
- A monthly newsletter in hard copy will be produced in Estates and Buildings to improve communication for staff without email access.
Of course, as well as these local action points, there were several common University-wide issues raised which are also being addressed. The HR Steering Group is overseeing work on these and some positive benefits have already been achieved.
Two e-learning packages on stress management have been commissioned. The first explores the concept of stress and looks at ways in which individuals can start to manage their own stress levels. The second package focuses on the manager's role in managing stress within the workplace giving advice on how to recognise whether employees are exhibiting signs of stress and what steps can be taken to assist them.
The e-learning packages are available at: www.durham.ac.uk/healthandsafety/occupationalhealth/stressmanagement/stress-management-e-learning-courses
A Stress Steering Group has been set up to review the stress data from the survey and to identify any hotspot areas for attention.
The issue of high workloads was raised as a common theme across many parts of the University and this is an issue which will undoubtedly take some time to address fully. In response to the results, several departments have already made a commitment to review existing workload models and the University Executive Committee has now agreed that all academic departments should develop a workload model if they do not already have one.
A review of existing internal communications channels and the subsequent development of a new integrated internal communications policy and user guide has been ongoing in response to the results of the survey. The new policy will consolidate business critical/operational messages, reduce unwanted emails, provide greater clarity and more efficient use of effective communications tools and platforms and will capture staff and student feedback. It will also lead to the development of new and effective communications tools, online and offline, to meet identified needs or gaps in communications. Further details of the new communications package will be available through Dialogue as soon as it has been finalised.
Don’t forget to attend the all-staff meetings in November for a two-way dialogue on the new University Strategy.