Can we have guidelines for the upcoming Employee Engagement Survey?


Now that the employee engagement survey is imminent, please could some general guidelines be issued to staff on the categories which each question relates to?

Given that we are using a generic (i.e. non-HE specific) survey, the wording of some questions previously has been very open to misinterpretation making it often difficult to then make reasonable assumptions from the responses. In particular, clarity ought to be provided to staff on how to respond to questions on “Leadership” or “Management”. In particular, do each of these questions/phrases refer to direct line management, senior faculty/service management teams, deans/directors or university executive? All have a role in leadership, but which are our greatest area of concern which we can improve on?

Clearly staff may have a very different view for each, however the lack of clarity means that responses across the board will be inconsistent, with some referring to the leadership of the Faculty whilst others are judging the leadership of the University (against the same question). We need to know what the distinction is and ensure that everyone is following the same guidelines so that the results gained are of value and so that we can take reasonable steps to improve.

Could some thought be given to each of the questions in advance please, so that staff can be provided with clear guidance on which area each question relates to before embarking on the survey. I always complete the survey myself, but know others have made comment that the lack of clarity around these terms has confused or put them off completing it in the past. It also raises conflicting questions and uncertainty around the answers.


We’ve tried to ensure that as much information as possible is available to staff to assist with completing this year’s engagement survey. A ‘frequently asked questions’ guide has been produced and a similar guide for managers to assist with briefing their staff. Both guides will shortly be available on the Personnel Services website and will include an explanation about some of the terminology within the survey. Additionally, when completing the survey, members of staff will see at the top of each question page the following explanation :

What do we mean:

Team” refers to the peers or those at a similar level to you, not a team of people that you manage.
My Manager” refers to your line manager or the manager responsible for monitoring your pay and performance.
Senior Managers/Management” refers to Deans of Faculty or Directors of Service.
Leader of this Organisation” refers to the Vice-Chancellor.

The survey will be live from Monday 13 October for three weeks and we will take every opportunity during this time to remind staff of the above.

When is the next Employee Engagement Survey?


When is the next on-line survey due to be circulated to professional support staff for completion in relation to feeding back about their Line Manager?



The annual Employee Engagement Survey will be launched on 13 October 2014 administered by Best Companies. All members of staff will receive an invitation from Best Companies on this date asking them to participate in the survey which will ask a range of questions about what it is like to work here at the University.

How can an improvement in the Employee Engagement Survey be achieved in periods of change?

Given that services and faculty management teams are expected to work towards an improvement in ratings for the Employee Engagement Survey, can the panel give examples as to how this might be achieved in a period of massive change and uncertainty.


The University Plan gives a clear commitment to work together to increase engagement levels of staff. To assist with this, the Best Companies Survey is the tool that measures and helps us to understand the existing levels of engagement within the University on an annual basis. Any improvement in the ratings within the survey will undoubtedly impact on performance and achievement of the objectives within the Plan.

Over the last 12 months we have made some quite significant progress in key areas which are linked to improving engagement. Some of these include delivering programmes of work designed to develop management and leadership capability and reviewing and improving the ways we communicate with staff to ensure more effectiveness and transparency.

Whilst the University is undergoing significant change at the current time it is anticipated that once the new staffing structures are implemented, one of the priorities for the new management teams will be to work within their own Faculties and Services, and cross-University, to review the latest survey data and build upon the work already undertaken in determining their own local plans to further improve engagement levels amongst staff.

When will the results of the Employee Engagement Survey be out?


Hi, would it be possible to know when we may hear anything from this survey and see the results as it is alluded to in the university plan?



The data has now been received from best companies and we are working through this to understand the key themes. We will shortly be planning briefing sessions with university senior managers, recognised trade unions and all-staff briefing sessions to share this information more widely.

Further updates will be provided on the RSS feeds.