All posts by Rachel

Pulse Survey: Ask/Listen/Act

The 3rd iteration of the Pulse Survey is currently open.


Why are we continuing to survey?

Our environment is changing and we want to capture what’s going on for our staff as we experience change. Since the closing of survey 2, NZ has moved from alert level 3 to 2. This translates into UC staff making the transition from home back onto campus. This also coincides with schools opening. Such changes result in a shift in support needs to ensure an optimal level of staff wellbeing.


Results to date

I invite you to look at the Pulse Survey results gathered so far. As time has progressed some staff found the lack of resources and having dependents at home have negatively impacted their perception of their own productivity. We can get by for a certain amount of time without our usual office setup but there comes a point where it impacts our ability to do our role. Primary/Intermediate/Secondary schools brought forward the term 1 holidays, and when school holidays finished the challenges of balancing schooling from home with working from home became a reality.

The satisfaction with onsite safety has dropped by 10 points. Onsite safety of staff and students is something we are working hard to maintain and improve, so this is an area we are very keen to explore and in the current survey we are calling for more information to capture specific areas of concern.

Please take the time to share your thoughts so we can continue to gather information on how best to support our staff and ensure we create an environment of optimal wellbeing.

The call for clarity

We aren’t hardwired for uncertainty and this can be seen in the large numbers of staff calling for more certainty and clarity in relation to:

  1. Forecasted student numbers
  2. Financial impacts
  3. Future focus and planning
  4. Job security
  5. Recognition of our varying ability to produce research outputs and how this impacts our internal recognition processes
  6. Expectations of the teaching and learning environment going forward, eg online vs face to face or a “hybrid model” and how that impacts workload.


As the VC mentioned in her address last week it is still too early to provide answers to all questions, however she has gone through the findings of the Pulse Survey and is working with the SLT in a focused way.

A Post Covid-19 Core Group has been created with the purpose to create a vision and plan to respond to the rapidly changing and uncertain post COVID-19 world. The group will have four key pillars: finance; strategy; the academic delivery model; and general operations. They are currently working to fully analyse the impact on UC and are looking at response options. The SLT and Council workshops, to discuss some of those options, will be completed by the end of next week.

Key indicators such as student numbers and potential financial implications are still only emerging, and change from week to week. These will be shared once there is more stability and certainty in the reporting.

Job losses will be our absolute last resort, and the SLT are looking at all other options before that, on both the revenue and cost sides. Our VC spoke about some new revenue ideas last week (FutureU and the new Fast track pathway in Engineering)

Academic concerns have been heard and these will be raised with the Academic Board such as the academic promotions criteria being able to reflect a hybrid model teaching and learning environment. The research inequity concerns raised by staff due to the current situation will also be examined and worked through.

The teaching mix under the hybrid model will require further analysis and assessment to ensure workloads are manageable and equitable.

The Answers to staff questions from the VC address last week is a helpful resource in providing further clarity.

Covid-19 has not caused us to deviate from the strategic plan agreed to at the end of 2019. This is important for us to understand as we look for something to align to which gives a sense of purpose and meaning to our work.

Ngā mihi

Rachel Dillon

Organisational Development Consultant

UC Pulse Survey Results

The pulse survey was jointly created between People and Culture, Department of Management, Marketing & Entrepreneurship, School of Psychology, Speech and Hearing, Academic Services Group and Wellness Services. The survey was put together at pace and it was a fantastic example of cross unit collaboration in action.

1182 of our staff completed the first wave of the survey. This allowed for a rich gathering of data and analysis.

There were 47 staff, responding to the first pulse survey, who requested contact be made with them. Each of these staff members have been contacted directly by a member of the People and Culture team.

Each SLT member has access to their results and is working their way through the data and, in the first instance, implementing changes and providing clarity where immediate action can be taken.

Here are the results to the first survey.

It is vitally important that we continue to gather data on how our staff are doing in the current climate. This will tell us, as time progresses, where we need to focus our efforts and to see if our interventions to address issues are having a positive impact on our staff. We will be asking staff to complete the survey every fortnight.

If you haven’t already done so I invite you to respond to the second wave survey which closes this Friday 8 May.  

Ngā mihi

Rachel Dillon – Organisational Development Consultant

Current culture; new strategy – Weaving the Rope #3 on 12 Feb

Kia ora koutou

Happy New Year! You will recall as part of Whiria te taura tangata we ran two Weaving the Rope sessions last year. In September Karen Mather (Organisational Development Manager) and Pam Wilson (Senior Consultant from Human Synergistics) facilitated a session on “How Culture Works”. In November Professor Michael Leiter from Deakin University ran a session on workplace civility and respect.

We are kick-starting 2020 with the third Weaving the Rope session on Wednesday 12 February. We are fortunate to have Shaun McCarthy (Managing Director of Human Synergistics Australia and New Zealand) and Pam Wilson on campus. Shaun will talk about the role Organisational Culture plays when implementing a new organisational strategy. We will then look at how continuing to focus on building a constructive culture will support implementation of the strategy and contribute to the likelihood of success.

During the session we will take a look at UC’s culture results and help make the links between our results and our new strategy. We’ll look at what our results are telling us in terms of what will help us and also what may need some focus to set us up for success.

For those who have not heard Shaun speak before, he is a wealth of knowledge and always attracts a large crowd! Numbers are limited to 125 per session, to secure your seat please register for one of the two events below via Eventbrite. The session will go for one hour with the option to stay for a further 30 minutes for questions and further discussion.

Eventbrite Registration for 12 Feb 10:30am-11:30am

Eventbrite Registration for 12 Feb 1:00pm-2:00pm

Technical session

I would also like to hear if there is interest in Shaun McCarthy running a more technical session on Thurs 13 Feb 1pm-2pm. In the past there have been questions about the research, statistics and norms. This will go ahead if we have sufficient registrations. This would be suitable for those who would like to delve more deeply into the workings of Human Synergistics tools. It would be very helpful to send through questions you have – this will help to shape the session. Numbers are limited to 50 for this session. Please email if you are interested in attending this technical session.

Helpful links

Want to know more about how the “Weaving the Rope” name evolved?

Find out more about UC’s organisational development

For further Information on Weaving the Rope

Ngā mihi

Rachel Dillon

Organisational Development Consultant