Employee Climate Survey FAQs

When was the employee survey conducted?
Who conducted the survey?
What was the response rate?
How were those responses rated?
Can I review the survey results?
What are some of the takeaways?
What about areas of concern or opportunities for improvement?
Human Resources partnered with the President's Task Force on Race and Relations, are there any takeaways related to the responses of faculty and staff of color?
What does Human Resources plan to do with this information, particularly the areas of concern among African American employees?
What about immediate actions HR will be taking now?
How often will the university conduct an employee survey?

When was the employee survey conducted?

In 2015, the Office of Human Resources partnered with different groups and offices, including the President's Task Force on Race and Race Relations, to conduct a comprehensive climate survey during the fall semester of all William & Mary employees.

Who conducted the survey?

The survey was administered by the Gelfond Group, an independent company that specializes in employee opinion surveys in higher education and corporations. Gelfond conducts surveys for more than 200 national and international organizations, including those in higher education, every year. Clients include Johns Hopkins University, JPMorgan Chase, Kaplan, Inc., Morgan Stanley, The United Nations, University of Pennsylvania and The World Bank.

What was the response rate?

The survey was emailed to 2,765 staff and faculty and had a response rate of 71 percent, up from 46 percent when the last survey was conducted in 2010. Previous employee surveys did not include faculty.

How were those responses rated?

Employee responses to 76 questions were rated in three categories (favorable, neutral or unfavorable) in areas ranging from rating the university as a place to work to their pay and benefits, management, diversity, individual job and experiences with their supervisor. Gelfond used the three categories to reflect responses to the various five-point scales in the survey.

Can I review the survey results?

You can read the Gelfond report on the 2015 Employee Climate Survey (pdf) as well as the executive summary (pdf) that was submitted to the president.

What are some of the takeaways?

William & Mary employees scored very well – above the average -- in the survey's five key "employee engagement" questions. For example, 87 percent of respondents stated they are proud to work at W&M; 72 percent responded that they have no plans to leave their employment in the near future; 69 percent stated W&M is a good place to work (only 6 percent rated it unfavorable to that question); and 71 percent of respondents stated they are treated with respect and that W&M inspires them to do their best work.

Other positive responses worth noting include that 92 percent of employees who completed the survey stated they have a good understanding of their job responsibilities; 89 percent said they understand the mission of their department; 84 percent stated they believed their most recent performance review was accurate while 82 percent said that same review was effective in letting them know where they stand. Eighty-one percent of respondents responded favorably to a question asking how well they were being kept informed.

What about areas of concern or opportunities for improvement?

As expected, the current level of pay and benefits is a chief concern among employees. In fact, just 30 percent of employees taking the survey responded favorable when asked to rate their pay – 37 percent responded neutral and 33 percent unfavorable. Only 41 percent said they believe they are fairly compensated – 37 percent responded unfavorable to the same question.

Among the overall responses, other areas of concern include questions related to management response to problems, and a lack of opportunity for advancement. For example, only 31 percent of employees responding to the survey indicated "favorable" when asked to rate W&M on their opportunity for advancement. Thirty-six percent were neutral and 32 percent responded "unfavorable" to the same question. Less than half of respondents (48 percent) rated W&M favorable on training for current job – 36 percent were neutral and 16 percent unfavorable. On rating W&M on responding to problems ideas and concerns, 49 percent responded favorable, 33 percent neutral and 17 percent unfavorable.

Human Resources partnered with the President's Task Force on Race and Relations, are there any takeaways related to the responses of faculty and staff of color?

Yes. African American employees generally did not respond as favorably as the overall employee population. In some questions, there was a higher percentage of unfavorable responses among African American employees. For example, nine percent of African American employees responded that they would not rate William & Mary as a good place to work, whereas only six percent of all employees responded the same way. In a separate question, 15 percent of African American employees responded that they do not feel that they are treated with respect, compared to eight percent for all employees. However, the responses for African Americans was not uniform across all classes of employees. The more detailed analysis revealed a concentration of negative responses among non-exempt employees that impacted the aggregate responses for African Americans as a whole.

What does Human Resources plan to do with this information, particularly the areas of concern among African American employees?

The responses to the survey show there are some clear issues we need to address as a university, especially among our African American employees. John Poma, William & Mary's Chief Human Resources Officer, shared the full results of the survey with the Task Force and presented to that group at their February meeting. Poma is also a member of the Task Force and HR will continue to partner with its members as they use the survey to help inform their upcoming recommendations to the president. The Task Force is expected to finalize those recommendations later this semester.

What about immediate actions HR will be taking now?

The Office of Human Resources has been working on or will be implementing a series of immediate actions in response to the survey. These include focusing on areas of improving performance management, providing more extensive support for employees, improving recruitment when it comes to attracting and retaining a diverse group of employees, and developing better mechanisms for employees to provide consistent and candid feedback.

A more detailed list of immediate actions can be found in the survey's executive summary (pdf).

How often will the university conduct an employee survey?

The Office of Human Resources plans to conduct an employee survey every three years. As a result, the next survey will be conducted in the fall of 2018.