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.
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:
- Forecasted student numbers
- Financial impacts
- Future focus and planning
- Job security
- Recognition of our varying ability to produce research outputs and how this impacts our internal recognition processes
- 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.
Organisational Development Consultant