"IHW is a welcoming, friendly and supportive place to work" – but here’s what we can do better

The IHW 2020 Environment Survey, completed by 56% of staff, showed that most people feel IHW is a great place to work.

However, some respondents were less positive. Here, we summarise some of the comments from the survey open questions, which give more insight as to why this is the case. We also present IHW’s responses to the concerns raised.

Photo of man in wheelchair using laptoop


Not all staff felt a sense of belonging to IHW and some complained about the lack of social spaces.

IHW response

We hope the open plan offices and social areas on all floors in our new building will promote social interactions and a greater sense of belonging across the Institute.

Career development

Comments suggested that some line managers could do more to support both professional services and academic staff (including those on short term contracts) to access relevant career development opportunities. It was felt that sometimes people were overlooked for promotion/secondment opportunities and that some activities (i.e. grant income and research outputs) were valued more than other activities.

IHW response 

There needs to be accountability for our line management processes, supporting our staff and ensuring they feel all their activities are valued. The Athena Swan leads have been tasked with considering a number of possible actions. These include providing 360 degree evaluations and mandatory line manager training, supporting P&DR reviewees to provide feedback on their P&DR experiences, and streamlining the mentor/mentee matching process to provide all staff with an opportunity to receive independent career development advice.

Bullying and harassment

The survey quantitative results revealed that a small minority of staff had experienced or witnessed bullying or harassment in IHW over the last two years. The qualitative comments suggested that incidents include poor leadership styles, manipulative behaviour, "off" stereotypical talk from senior colleagues and encountering some "quite toxic personalities".

IHW response

We take these comments very seriously indeed and are currently undertaking an in-depth staff consultation to inform actions to deal with these issues. In the meantime, we encourage all staff members to complete UofG's The effective bystander course on Moodle. And if you experience any form of bullying and harassment (or indeed anything at all that you feel uncomfortable about at work), please do contact one of our four advisors who have volunteered to provide confidential support and advice:

Supporting equality and diversity

Some comments suggested that we needed to broaden our equality and diversity focus beyond gender.

IHW response

We completely agree, and over the last year have appointed an ethnicity and race champion (Sarah Amele, sarah.amele@glasgow.ac.uk) and a disability champion (Elise Whitley, elise.whitley@glasgow.ac.uk). We also actively support positive action for older staff through our extremely active Athena Swan older workers (50+) issues, aspirations and development group (CO-CHAIRS Nicola McMeekin, nicola.mcmeekin@glasgow.ac.uk and Janet Bouttell janet.bouttell@glasgow.ac.uk).

Professor Cindy Gray 
on behalf of IHW Athena SWAN self assessment team (SAT) 

First published: 18 May 2021