William & Mary releases results of employee survey

While employees continue to have concerns about their pay, more than 90 percent of respondents to a survey at William & Mary say their department at the College is a good place to work, according to the results of a report released Thursday at the Board of Visitors meetings.

The survey covered such areas as compensation and benefits, training and resources, communications, management and job satisfaction.

The comprehensive climate survey of classified, hourly, professional and professional faculty employees was conducted in August by the Office of Human Resources. Employees at both the William & Mary campus in Williamsburg and the College’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester were asked a wide-ranging series of questions regarding working at the College, as well as how they would rate the institution and their department. The Faculty Assembly conducts a separate survey of instructional faculty every three years. That report was released in fall 2009. The College last conducted an employee survey in 2007.

According to the report, 78 percent of respondents said they believed the College was a well-run institution, compared to 61 percent the 2007 survey. Sixty-seven percent said they believe the College cares about its employees and treats them fairly, up from 55 percent in 2007. Ninety-two percent said they believe their workplace is safe compared to 76 percent in 2007. Eighty-three percent of employees did say they feel comfortable talking openly with coworkers and their supervisor about their department’s goals and ways to improve what they do, compared to 65 percent in 2007.

In terms of pay, only 20 percent of respondents said they believe their pay has increased in line with increases in responsibilities. Only 12 percent of employees who took the survey said they believed their pay is comparable with other employees with similar jobs outside William & Mary. These results represent a significant change from 2007. Fifty-seven percent of respondents did say they understood how their pay is determined compared to 51 percent in 2007.

“State employees have not received a raise since November 2007 and the impact of that reality shows in the survey’s results on workers compensation,” said Anna Martin, vice president for administration. “When you consider that fact, to hear more than 90 percent say they enjoy working at the College is a powerful reminder of the great devotion our employees have to William & Mary.”

According to the results, 69 percent of eligible employees (1,108 of 1,596) participated in the survey and 847 (53 percent) completed it. Martin noted in her presentation to the Board that there were some anomalies in the data. Specifically, she said, in some places there are more respondents than the number of employees eligible to participate. Martin said they determined a handful of instructional faculty mistakenly took the survey, which was available online. The confidential nature of the survey makes it impossible to identify the respondent of each survey so it is not possible to segregate data from instructional and research faculty, she said.

Despite these anomalies, and with this caveat, Martin said the College decided to report the results.

“The survey still contains valuable information that will enable us to better understand our workplace environment, evaluate what we are doing well and identify where we need to improve,” Martin said.

The complete survey is available on the College’s website and paper copies are available at the Office of Human Resources located in the Bell Building at 109 Cary Street in Williamsburg.