The Administrative Professional Council, Classified Personnel Council and Faculty Council are hosting an employee forum on Wednesday, April 25, to present the findings of the Employee Voice Survey and councils’ preliminary recommendations to the University based on those findings. The eleven-question survey was emailed to Colorado State University staff and faculty in Spring 2017. Councils’ leadership then worked with the Department of Statistics faculty for guidance in processing the data.
The idea for a survey came after councils began hearing increasing concerns expressed by their constituents about salary trends against the backdrop of the high cost of living in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado. “We realized there was a need to give employees a vehicle to tell their stories and for us to try to better understand, and help the administration better understand, the compounding impact of low salary increases over several years,” said Stacey Baumgarn, CPC chairperson. “We appreciate that the salary issue is complicated by the University’s budgetary challenges and declining state support for higher education, but we saw a need to formalize the collective employee voice, capture employees’ experiences and share that with CSU leadership.”
More than 2,000 employees responded to the survey: 1,094 administrative professionals, 504 state classified, and 412 faculty. Several questions captured demographic data such as gender, race and ethnicity, years employed at CSU, and appointment status. Other questions asked employees to identify the following: what type of expenses pose a financial hardship or insecurity for their household and how this impacts quality of life; the type of benefits and compensation they most value (e.g., annual leave, sick leave, employee study privilege, dependent scholarship program, etc.); other types of benefits they would like to see offered; what type of Commitment to Campus (C2C) benefits they have used in the past year; if no C2C benefits have been used, what were the reason(s) for not participating in the program.
The councils say several themes emerged from the survey data including a lack of feeling valued, employee retention and impacts to quality of life. The availability of affordable housing was among five leading factors causing financial angst for employees. Many employees reported experiencing significant stress due to housing costs, and some shared how high housing costs were forcing them to live farther from campus, adding to their commute and creating additional quality of life barriers. Other common themes centered around increasing costs of health care, child care and elder care, and parking, and growing debt from credit cards and student loans.
About the Forum
The councils presented a summary of the feedback to the administration and preliminary recommendations for moving forward based on the survey findings. However, before finalizing those recommendations, the councils leadership would like the opportunity for dialogue with the campus community at the Employee Voice Survey forum.
The forum will be held on Wednesday, April 25, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Cherokee Park Room of Lory Student Center. Lunch will be provided. Prior registration is required by Friday, April 20, at noon due to limited seating. To register, email Jennifer Lobermeier at Jennifer.Lobermeier@ColoState.edu.
The presentation slides and a summary of the Employee Voice Survey findings will be posted on each of the council websites in the days following this open forum. You can learn more about your CSU employee councils at:
“We found that although there were some differences in rank ordering by employee groups, credit card and student loan debt were most cited by APs and faculty, and parking costs were at the top of financial concerns for State Classified employees,” said Shannon Wagner, APC chair. “Overall, among those who responded to the survey, nearly 83 percent of State Classifieds, more than 72 percent of Administrative Professionals, and nearly 64 percent of faculty cited one or more type of living cost that created an economic hardship for them and/or their family.”