Employee climate survey garners nearly 60 percent response rate

A robust 58.5 percent of employees – administrative professionals, state classified staff and faculty — weighed in with their anonymous opinions in the most recent university climate survey, the highest response rate ever for this survey. Respondents answered questions about their perceptions of the overall university and about their specific division or unit.

The survey assesses employees’ perceptions of the university, such as a sense of belonging, respect and the university’s progress in encouraging conversations about diversity. The survey sought information in a dozen categories: culture, respect, favoritism, sense of belonging, employee councils, leadership and accountability, bias, misconduct, the Principles of Community, freedom of speech and other perceptions of the workplace.

Although the collective findings indicated that an increasing number of employees view the university as a positive place to work, and most categories fared positively, responses also revealed areas where there continues to be room for improvement. See the results.

“We continue to break down the findings by units, divisions and demographics; the real work will begin in pinpointing areas where we can continue to improve,” said Mary Ontiveros, vice president for Diversity. “Overall, the survey results point to employees’ positive feelings and connections to the university as an institution and a community.”

Perceptions about university, unit

One section of the survey asks about general perceptions of CSU and individual units every time the survey is given; those perceptions have become more positive since the first surveys in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Respondents had more favorable agreement to almost all items asked each time the survey was administered, ranging from questions about the university’s efforts to recruit employees from a variety of backgrounds, to a positive work experience, to universal efforts to improve climate for all employees.

Most respondents – 71 percent – said they would recommend their unit as a place to work to a friend. This is an increase from 56 percent in 2016.

The fourth climate survey undertaken by the university, this survey is the first to look at questions directed to climate within specific colleges and divisions – where key findings will likely emerge.

“It is a new strategy this year to provide each division and college with their own report. This data breakdown is critical for divisions trying to identify positive trends and areas in need of focus,” said Jennifer Schneider, research analyst and survey methodologist in Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness. “I strongly encourage all employees, and particularly leaders, to look at the results for their division and college; this is where details emerge, showing what we’re doing well, and what we could be doing better in subsets of employee groups across campus.”

Unit, division results available

Overall and division-level results are available now. Each division and college will be able to see question responses specific to their division, division employee characteristics’ mean comparison, and division results compared to CSU overall.

The survey is the result of long-term collaboration between the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Institutional Research. The survey is constructed by the assessment group for diversity issues out of the Vice President for Diversity Office. Previous results have informed initiatives such as:

  • Mandatory campus-wide training for all supervisors
  • Informed additional training for the hiring search committee process
  • Creation of division and college strategic plans
  • Trainings offered across campus in response to climate survey results
  • Individual units or divisions consulting with the Office of the Vice President for Diversity about strategies to improve their unit climate

Results from previous surveys have been shared across campus. In addition to posting the survey summaries online, Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness, with the Vice President for Diversity office, will present the most recent results to the employment councils, divisions and cabinet.

A supplementary report will be made available later this spring. The Intersectional Takeaways Report will present results by demographics such as gender, race and ethnicity, and also through employee type – faculty, administrative professional and state classified. The assessment also includes open-ended questions, open forums, and focus groups with employees. Those results will be posted later this spring.

Divisions and colleges can request presentations online at https://diversity.colostate.edu/2018-employee-climate-survey-presentation-request-form/.

Key overall findings include:

  • More than two-thirds of respondents said they feel valued as an employee within their unit or department
  • More than three-fourths of respondents agreed that their department or unit promotes respect for cultural differences
  • Respondents said they feel a strong sense of belonging to the university (62 percent) and their individual unit or department (71 percent)
  • Fifty-eight percent of respondents agreed that the Principles of Community are making an impact in the daily working environment of employees
  • Nearly all respondents – 90 percent – agreed that free speech was an important issue on campus
  • Almost 80 percent of respondents agreed that the people with whom they interact treat each other with respect
  • Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they felt that favoritism plays a role in who gets recognized on a unit or department basis
  • Less than half of the respondents agreed that, within their college or division, leadership held employees accountable for poor performance or inappropriate behavior, or equally held employees to the same standards
  • Sixty-two percent of respondents agreed that CSU is transparent in reporting bias incidents, and one-third said they were alarmed by the number of incidents
  • Respondents with a gender classified as transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming had less favorable perceptions compared to men for all survey factors, except sense of belonging
  • State classified respondents had less favorable perceptions compared to administrative professionals for every survey factor