June 4, 2007 -- University Human Resources wants to hear from you. But you’ll need to act fast — there is just one week left to complete the survey UHR sent out at the end of April.
Under Higher Education Restructuring legislation, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and the College of William & Mary received the authority to create new Human Resources policies and programs for University staff. To get help creating the best possible programs, UHR is turning to University employees. The department convened restructuring focus groups last fall, and is using the survey to gather further information from staff and their supervisors.
Designed to solicit feedback about HR policies that could change under restructuring, the survey was sent via e-mail and messenger mail to all classified and University staff and their managers. “We’re eager to get input from employees,” said Susan Carkeek, chief human resources officer. “This is their HR system.”
“I think it’s especially important that people realize which HR areas could change under restructuring and which will remain the same,” said Yoke San Reynolds, vice president and chief financial officer. “Certain benefits will not change: we are required to continue to participate in the state’s programs for retirement, the grievance procedure and workers’ compensation. Also, all employees will continue to be covered by the University’s health plan.” The new University HR system may, however, include new policies and programs in areas such as compensation and classification, performance evaluation, leave, employment and promotion. The survey is designed to focus on employee wants, needs and opinions in those areas.
U.Va. and Virginia Tech commissioned U.Va.’s Center for Survey Research to design and administer the survey at both schools. “The survey procedures ensure that participation is voluntary and that answers are kept completely anonymous,” said Alan Cohn, director of Faculty & Staff Relations. He listed three actions designed to maintain confidentiality for those taking the survey online: the assignment of an anonymous log-in and a randomly generated password; the questionnaire itself; and the “contact CSR” option to remove your name from the mailing list. “Each of these is independent of the other,” stressed Cohn. “The survey administrators don’t know who gets which ID and password.” The log-in system is preferable because it allows people to return to the survey if they don’t complete it in one sitting.
Employees do not have to participate in the survey at all. Said Cohn, “The ‘contact CSR’ option is carefully worded: if you choose to remove your name from the mailing list, no one at CSR will know whether it is because you have completed the survey or because you have decided not to complete it. All they know is that you don’t want to be on the list anymore.” Results will be reported in summary form in such a way as to make sure no one can be identified by their responses.
If you are classified or University staff and don’t have a survey, please contact Cohn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 924-4381, or Michael Schwartz at email@example.com or 924-4379. They will send you a survey via e-mail or interoffice mail at your request. The survey takes about 25-30 minutes to complete and is considered part of your normal workday. And don’t forget, while CSR will continue to accept paper questionnaires until June 18, the online survey will close on June 8.