Staff Survey Inspires Change

Published: 4 April 2016

The 2016 Staff Survey is on the way. Each week in the run up we will be looking at ways the last survey inspired change around the University. This week it's the College of MVLS.

The 2016 University of Glasgow Staff Survey launches on 3 May. It’s one of the best opportunities all of us have to express OUR views on how the University works, what’s good and not so good about working life here and how all of us in the University move forward to achieve our goals.

The University strategy 2015 - 2020, Inspiring People – Changing the World, was informed by comments from the last Staff Survey in 2014 along with the discussions that Senior Vice-Principal Neal Juster, held locally across the University.

In advance of this year’s  survey, Campus e-News is reporting on how different parts of the University of Glasgow have acted on the 2014 feedback, bringing about some truly inspiring changes . 

This week we focus on some of the many initiatives taken forward across the College of MVLS, based on the feedback you provided.

  •  Although there were high levels of job satisfaction throughout the College, the survey highlighted that many people felt that workload was an issue, with an average of 50% of staff stating that they struggled to meet their workload.

Across the College there is significant development work underway to introduce a workload modelling system for academic staff. This system will make workloads more transparent and allow for improved planning and organisation.

The College is also undertaking reviews of its professional support functions, including reorganisations of activities to to enhance service provision and release staffing capacity to address workload imbalances and new demands, and also to minimise the time that academic staff spend on administration.

In the School of Veterinary Medicine the team have been working hard to improve staffing levels in areas of high demand, particularly in the Small Animal Hospital where recruitment and staff reorganisation activity continues.


  • The survey indicated significant concerns around the usefulness of the PDR process, particularly in relation to supporting career development.

The current review of the PDR process is being informed by consultation with senior staff across the College and significant changes are proposed. To complement the PDR system, many areas have implemented local processes to review career development aspirations, which also supports work undertaken as part of the Athena SWAN activity.

Promotion awareness sessions have been held for staff in most areas. Ahead of the recent promotions round, mentoring and career development groups were established in several Schools and Institutes to support staff with career planning, promotion applications and PDR objective setting.

  • Whilst the survey showed that the College was close to the University average in terms of staff communications, there remained significant room for improvement.

In the School of Life Sciences, this area has been actively addressed through a firm commitment from the Head of School to maintain an open-door policy alongside encouraging all staff to communicate concerns or suggestions for improved working practices. The School has also held a number of social events to facilitate greater interaction between staff across the School. The Institute of Infection, Immunity and inflammation (3IIIs) established a communication group to manage external and internal information. The Institute of Cancer Sciences have introduced a programme of afternoon seminars, revamped their website and now hold regular team meetings for administrative and technical staff.

Throughout the College, Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Teams have engaged with staff through local surveys and focus groups, increasing dialogue around issues such as work-life balance, career development and equality.

  •  The survey highlighted concerns over job security, especially within the Research Institutes where there are a high number of staff who are on funding end date contracts.

The College has engaged with HR colleagues to undertake a review of our processes for managing staff on funding end date contracts, using Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation (3IIIs) as a case study area. This review will consider how best to improve the pathway to independent group leader for talented individuals and how to equip all for the best career trajectory including opportunities in industry and other relevant positions outside academia.

Across the College a wide ranging exercise has also been undertaken to move staff from casual and zero-hours worker contracts to fractional employment contracts, giving staff improved clarity of working arrangements.  

First published: 4 April 2016

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