Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.63
Liaison Melissa Maigler
Submission Date July 30, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Stanford University
PA-10: Assessing Employee Satisfaction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Moira Hafer
Sustainability Specialist
Office of Sustainability
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Has the institution conducted an employee satisfaction and engagement survey or other evaluation that meets the criteria for this credit?:

The percentage of employees (staff and faculty) assessed, directly or by representative sample:

A brief description of the institution’s methodology for evaluating employee satisfaction and engagement:

The last broad employee satisfaction and engagement survey was done in 2010. Random sampling surveying was done in 2013 and will be done in 2014 as part of the university’s application to workplace awards processes. Another university-wide employee survey is scheduled to be conducted in 2015; all results from that survey will be shared with the university’s highest levels of leadership and individual managers with five or more responses from their employees will receive a report and be expected to conduct action planning to identify actionable items that would improve employee satisfaction or engagement in their areas.

In 2013, however, the university participated in several workplace award processes that included a random sampling of employees for an online satisfaction survey. The awards were: Fortune 100 and the Chronicle of Higher Education. In both cases, results were shared with the President, Provost, and their direct reports. Because those surveys were a random sampling only, managers did not receive reports or conduct action planning. The results, though, have been used in strategic planning by the Vice President for Human Resources when identifying programs, services and institutional priorities for Stanford’s workforce.

For university-wide surveying, a vendor is hired to customize and administer the survey. Employee email addresses and organization hierarchy (needed for accurate reporting) is given to the vendor to load into their system. Broad communication is conducted from University Human Resources (UHR) to alert employees to the email they should have received that includes a link to the survey. The key point of contact for UHR is each school or unit’s HR manager, who supports the effort with local communication.

Planning is already underway for the 2015 university-wide employee survey, to ensure its success, and starts with a Request for Proposal to qualified vendors, with a Steering Committee evaluating proposals to select the most qualified vendor.

Once the survey period has closed, the vendor generates reports for managers with five or more responses, and for the leaders in each school/unit, and then an aggregate summary of results for university leaders. Debriefings are held with school/unit leaders as well as university leaders. Then, the VP for Human Resources has a separate meeting with university leaders to discuss the results and identify actionable items.

A brief description of the mechanism(s) by which the institution addresses issues raised by the evaluation (including examples from the previous three years):

Depending on the nature of the issue that is raised, various leaders may be involved; for example, the Faculty Affairs office might be involved to address an issue raised by faculty who responded, where University Human Resources would be involved to address an issue for staff.

In the 2010 survey process, one of the lowest rated categories was Feedback and Coaching, which garnered a 53% satisfaction level. As a result of that finding, the President and Provost funded two large scale initiatives:

1. An initiative to develop a comprehensive “Manager Academy” for all managers that would include training to develop skills in providing feedback and coaching for managers and their staff.

2. A pilot program was initiated to form a cohesive performance management approach at Stanford. The goal is to simplify the process and provide tools and the business process that facilitates managers’ ability to give meaningful and constructive feedback to staff, as well as to coach them to develop further. In addition, tools for employees to support their communication with their managers are included. This pilot, called Performance Management @ Stanford, now includes close to 3,000 employees and is scheduled to be launched in the remaining schools and units within the next four years, culminating in adoption by all schools and units.

For both of these university-wide initiatives, UHR was responsible to plan, develop, implement, and measure effectiveness after university leaders approved funding. Leaders will be looking at the next set of survey results to identify if improvements have been made in the area of feedback and coaching.

At the local level, managers who receive individual reports are responsible to have discussions with their staff to share the results, and to collectively brainstorm options to make improvements in areas that are weak, and to identify how to maintain or further excel in areas rated highly. Each school or unit is responsible to identify the mechanism by which managers are held accountable for their action planning; typically, this is included in their performance goals for the fiscal year in which the results are shared.

Within the university, the seven schools and 20 academic and administrative units have the discretion to administer local employee satisfaction and engagement surveys as they wish. For example, the Graduate School of Business designed such a survey over 10 years ago, and administers it without fail at the same time each year. The Residential & Dining Enterprises unit administered a survey in fall 2013 and is still working on action planning based on the results. Other schools and units may conduct their own survey processes at any time, with the results used by their Dean, Vice President, Vice Provost, and local managers.

The year the employee satisfaction and engagement evaluation was last administered:

The website URL where information about the institution’s employee satisfaction and engagement assessment is available:

The results of the survey in 2010 were posted online for a year, but that webpage is no longer public. Results from workplace awards processes were not posted online since they were a random sampling of employees. The plan for the results from the 2015 university-wide survey is to post them on the UHR website and broadly share the link to the results throughout the community.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.