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Staff survey reveals high satisfaction – and areas to improve

01 December 2008

Cardiff University employees have high levels of overall satisfaction with their work according to the results of a comprehensive staff attitude survey.

Some 2357 members of staff – around 43% of the total workforce – completed a questionnaire in May and June. The survey was commissioned by the University from Priority Research as part of the Positive Working Environment initiative, which seeks to improve working life for all members of staff. The results have just been published, showing that, overall, 79% are satisfied with working for the University. There are similar high figures for staff who said they enjoyed doing their job and for satisfaction with conditions of employment, while 71% said they would recommend the University to others as a good place to work. However, a number of areas were identified where the University did not perform so strongly and these have now been targeted for action.

The main factors contributing to the overall satisfaction level were workplace culture, help with pressure both inside and outside work and the quality of line management. Most staff believed their teams worked together effectively and 77% said they got the necessary help and support from their colleagues. Three quarters were satisfied with their immediate manager, with the key factors identified as team spirit, levels of support, and the ability to listen and respond to staff suggestions.

There was also good awareness of many of the University initiatives to improve the working environment. Some 83% said they were aware of the additional training opportunities the University made available. The University’s work in promoting equality and diversity was recognised by 81%. Nearly three-quarters (72%) were happy with their physical environment and their IT infrastructure.

Areas of lower satisfaction included the reward system for good performance, where only 21% feel that this is properly recognised by the University. 42% feel they receive supportive feedback on the work they do. Advancement and promotion is another concern, with 36% indicating they think there are sufficient opportunities, the same percentage of staff who feel they are consulted about change at work.. Overall, 52% feel the University is committed to developing its employees.

Just over half of staff (54%) are satisfied with internal communication and particularly want to see improved communication inside and between their departments and better ways of being kept up-to-date with important information about the University as a whole and these are among the priority action areas from the survey.

Other priorities include developing more straightforward work processes. Also identified were more regular performance feedback, consistent standards across the University on what to expect from managers, the provision of more comprehensive benefits and discounts and the establishment of a culture of saying "thank you" to staff more often.

Professor Terry Threadgold, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Staff, said: "It is gratifying to see the high levels of overall staff satisfaction, as well as the acknowledgment and appreciation of many University initiatives to improve the working experience. Even in cases where satisfaction levels are lower they nevertheless tend to be higher than satisfaction level found when other universities have been surveyed using the same method. However, we cannot stand still on this. A main aim of the survey is to identify areas for further improvement and the University will now be discussing how we can move forward and further improve the University as a place to work."

Full results of the study can be found at