Collecting staff feedback in academic institutions | Qualtrics

Collecting staff feedback in academic institutions


Find out what feedback to collect, and when, to build a world-class employee experience program in academic institutions

Employee feedback has come a long way in the past decade – where once the annual engagement survey was the mainstay of a program, more and more organisations are now moving towards shorter, more frequent check-ins that get feedback in the moment.

It’s a shift that’s been driven on two fronts:

  • Demands from employees – believe it or not, people want to give you feedback. We live in an age where people expect to be able to give instant feedback everywhere they go – and it’s no different at work.

  • Technology has moved on – in the past it took a long time to gather, analyse and act on feedback, so it wasn’t realistic to gather it more frequently. But today’s technologies have created a digital open door with real-time feedback and analysis, allowing organisations to get feedback more frequently amd respond much faster without additional investment in resources to manage the program.

So where do you start?

Map out the whole employee journey

The employee experience is personal to everyone – where you are in your career and the experiences that have shaped it so far will be different to each one of your colleagues. So it makes sense that an employee feedback program should reflect that.

At every touchpoint in the employee journey, there’s an opportunity to gather feedback, including:

  • Pre-hire and recruiting – this allows you to understand how you can improve the experience to make sure you’re attracting the best candidates to join

  • Onboarding – allows you to identify ways to improve key metrics like ramp time and address any issues that could cause problems later on such as staff not having the resources they need to deliver the right learning outcomes

  • Training – after training courses, being able to understand what’s worked and what could be improved to help drive your developmental goals. This can help you to improve career development amongst your staff – one of the key drivers of the employee experience.

  • Pulse surveys – regular check-ins (usually monthly or quarterly) on a specific topic. For example in academic institutions.More about employee pulse surveys

  • 360 development – performance reviews that provide a check-in with your staff to help keep their development on track

  • Exit – when people leave, understanding the reasons why, so you can spot commons issues and put plans in place to reduce unwanted attrition.

Then of course there’s still the annual engagement study – it’s still a cornerstone of a good program and should be seen as your annual health check on the workforce with these shorter, more frequent surveys at other stages in the lifecycle to supplement it.

Download our employee engagement survey template

A first step should be to understand, for all the different teams in the orgainsation, what the different touchpoints in the journey are. Then, you can start to design the right feedback mechanism for each one to really understand how it affects the experience as a whole.

By taking this approach, you not only get better quality data – afterall, you’re much more likely to give honest feedback 24 hours after a training course than 8 months later when the annual engagement study rolls around – but you’ll also be able to be more prescriptive in your improvements.

With data from multiple touchpoints all on a single platform, you’ll have a much more granular view of any issues, where in the lifecycle they occur and how they’re affecting othe institution’s key organisational metrics like cost of attrition, productivity, training effectiveness and the impact on student satisfaction.

Create a digital open door for staff to give feedback

To start listening more frequently to your employees, you also need to enable people to give you that feedback as effortlessly as possible.

Of course the traditional paper survey won’t do that, and in many academic institutions sending surveys to be taken on a desktop computer won’t do it either. The vast majority of your people whether their teaching staff or support teams like catering, maintenance etc. will rarely find themselves camped out behind a computer.

So try to make it effortless by allowing them range of different ways to give feedback from surveys optimised for smartphones to SMS responses that will allow them to give their views in the way they’re most comfortable with.

And when it comes to reporting on the data, you need to be able to deliver it to the people that matter most – and that’s not the leadership or HR teams!

While the leadership will value a summary and an update on staff engagement and the HR team will no doubt want to keep a close eye on the figures, the people with the power to make the biggest difference are your managers.

So focus on enabling them to take ownership and manage the experience for their staff whether that’s through delivering their teams results and coaching them on how to improve certain areas, or helping to manage their action plans so they can put improvements in place for their staff.

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