Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.51
Liaison Aurora Sharrard
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Pittsburgh
PA-13: Assessing Employee Satisfaction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Mark Burdsall
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Consulting Services
Human Resources
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution conducted a survey or other evaluation that allows for anonymous feedback to measure employee satisfaction and engagement during the previous three years?:
Yes

Percentage of employees assessed, directly or by representative sample:
100

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

In 2018 through 2020, the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Human Resources (OHR) has engaged in primary two initiatives to engage with employees specific to employee satisfaction. Those initiatives are:
• Shaping the Workplace Environment
• Supervisor Support Chats

SHAPING THE WORKPLACE

Pitt kicked off Shaping the Workplace in December 2019 to identify the broader workplace environment the university wishes to shape and maintain.

The foundation of the approach is a framework that characterizes the workplace as viewed through the lens of a prospective employee that is considering Pitt as a potential choice among competing alternatives, or a current employee with options for alternative opportunities.

HR is broadly engaging with the University community, educating on initial conditions, garnering input on desired priorities for reshaping, and reporting back on input received.

We will share benchmarking results and community input with Senior Leadership, develop an overarching philosophy for reshaping the workplace, and identify a series of initiatives for implementing that philosophy.

Finally, we will socialize policy decisions with the University community and educate to facilitate adoption and implementation.

Learn more about Pitt’s Shaping the Workplace effort: https://www.hr.pitt.edu/projects/shaping-workplace

SUPERVISOR SUPPORT CHATS

Starting in April 2020, Pitt’s OHR started holding an online workshop series for supervisors across the University to provide support and guidance for our new working lifestyle due to COVID-19. The goal of these sessions is to share creative ideas, unearth best practices, provide coaching, and to answer supervisor.

Some of the 31 sessions’ engagement topics broadcast April-November, 2020 were:

• Working Remotely
• Change
• Difficult Conversations
• Virtual Meetings (The team is online, now what?)
• Performance Management of Remote Teams
• Managing Up Remotely
• Making Meetings Matter Virtually

The Office of Human Resources’ department of Organization Development plans on continuing the support chat sessions indefinitely into the future, with focus on broadening the audience and increasing attendance.

Pitt OHR Supervisor Support Chats (internal Sharepoint site):
https://pitt.sharepoint.com/sites/human-resources/SitePages/Supervisor%20Support%20Chats.aspx


A brief description of the mechanism(s) by which the institution addresses issues raised by the evaluation:

As described above, in 2018 through 2020, the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Human Resources (OHR) used two primary mechanisms to address issues of employee satisfaction:
• Shaping the Workplace Environment
• Supervisor Support Chats

SHAPING THE WORKPLACE

“Shaping the Workplace at Pitt” is the primary evaluation tool to measure both candid and anonymous employee satisfaction and engagement. The University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Human Resources (OHR) identified two margins for action: 1) Performance Improvement and 2) Workplace Enhancement; these were shared among the OHRs’ institutional stakeholders (Directors of Administration, HR Liaisons, and Staff Council), to assist with the Shaping the Workplace at Pitt employees’ engagement sessions.

Pitt’s Shaping the Workplace Engagement Sessions were held in 2020 on January 9, 17, 22, and 28. Employees were invited from all over the University to participate in providing both candid and anonymous feedback on the initiative’s framework.

Those in attendance were rotated through each of the initiative’s frameworks, having the ability to provide feedback (candid and anonymous) per each station’s subject. If employees did not feel comfortable providing candid feedback among their peers, employees could provide anonymous feedback to the stations’ attendants at the conclusion of each rotation – or privately via email.

At the conclusion of each week’s Shaping the Workplace focus groups, employees’ feedback (candid and anonymous) was summarized, scored for feasibility, and selected (per framework component) for OHR and institutional stakeholders to take action in integrating into their workplaces (as also aligned with the University’s strategic “Plan for Pitt 2025.”)

SHAPING THE WORKPLACE ELEMENTS

Each of the five elements of the Shaping the Workplace initiative (listed below) help guide the overall framework. This framework considers the University’s workplaces through two particular viewpoints:
1) prospective employee considering Pitt as a potential employer, and
2) current employee at Pitt.

The first phase of feedback ended in mid-February 2020 and included 7 engagement sessions (with more than 700 people in attendance), plus an additional 900 online comments online. Findings were shared with the University community in Spring 2020.
Spring 2020 Shaping the Workplace update summary: https://www.utimes.pitt.edu/news/dejong-gives-first-report

Elements of the Shaping the Workplace Initiative include:

Climate, Culture, and Work Environment = Aspects of the physical work environment, and relatively intangible aspects of the employment experience

Salary = Pay for work performed

Benefits = Monetary and non-monetary offerings provided by an employer beyond salary; offerings could be at free or reduced rates (full or partial cost-sharing)

Work-Life Balance = Opportunities an employer provides for achieving equilibrium between the demands and aspirations of personal, professional, and family life

Performance Review and Talent Development = Feedback and guidance on performance and opportunities for professional growth and advancement an employer provides to support employees' professional aspirations, as well as advance institutional priorities.

Since putting the framework to work and engaging with the University community to identify priorities for action, the University has been able to:

• Benchmark the current work environment against local, regional, and national peers
• Initiate the modernization of the University’s compensation system (Spring 2020) with a tentative completion of Summer 2021
• Launch Phase 1 of the Engagement sessions with the University community, and focus on improvement with peer working groups
• Improve the performance evaluation process and support professional development
• Increase the flexibility of benefit offerings, work arrangements, leave policies, and access to wellness opportunities
• Facilitate inclusivity, equity, and sustainability
• Improve service delivery, responsiveness, and foundational strength

SUPERVISOR SUPPORT CHATS

A secondary tool to measure employee engagement and satisfaction was launched by the Office of Human Resources’ Organization Development team in March 2020 to host AND lead weekly virtual conversations with supervisors across the University.

The sessions’ objectives were to increase employees’ engagement by soliciting discussion and anonymous feedback (via chat) from supervisors on a host of associated topics that address new and existing workplace challenges. This continues to be accomplished by having open forums of topics’ discussions and Q&A sessions, bi-monthly.

The supervisors’ takeaway from the sessions is to have the education, tools, and preparedness to address employees’ performance, engagement, working relationships, and professional development by providing them with the related knowledge, skills, and abilities for problem solving. The Office of Human Resources and its institutional partners can then gauge areas of success and those that require improvement as aligned with employees’ overall engagement.

This online series is open to all supervisors from across the University and aims to provide support and guidance for our new working lifestyle due to COVID-19. Therefore, the overarching goal of these sessions is to share creative ideas, unearth best practices, provide coaching, and to answer questions they may have as a supervisor.

Each session may accommodate up to 500 attendee supervisors. Sessions’ attendance has varied per week in the range of 100 to 125 supervisors from across the University community. In addition, the University community may review each of the recorded and archived sessions at their convenience (regardless of their supervisory status).

Sessions to-date are listed below. All were recorded and recordings and slide decks are available internally (link in notes):

• Change (April 2, 2020)
• The Team's Online, Now What? (April 7, 2020)
• Developing & Challenging Your Team (April 9, 2020)
• Performance Management Of Remote Teams (April 14, 2020)
• Remote Teambuilding (April 16, 2020)
• Managing Up Remotely (April 21, 2020)
• Communicating Effectively While Working Remotely (April 23 ,2020)
• The Power Of Happiness (April 28, 2020)
• Performance Reviews: Purpose And Process (May 5, 2020)
• Holding Difficult Conversations (May 7, 2020)
• Developing A Coaching Culture (May 12, 2020)
• Planning For A Hybrid Workplace (May 14, 2020)
• Making Meetings Matter Virtually (May 19, 2020)
• Project Management For Supervisors (May 21, 2020)
• Inspired In Isolation: Finding Motivation And Meaning In The Moment (May 26, 2020)
• Compensation: What A Supervisor Needs To Know (May 28, 2020)
• Leading Through Ambiguity (June 2, 2020)
• Set Your Employees Up For Success (June 11, 2020)
• A Chat With Life Solutions (June 16, 2020)
• Developing Diversity Consciousness To Foster Antiracist Practices, Cultures, And Communities (June 25, 2020)
• Remote Work, Return To Work, ADA Requests, And Other Leave Considerations (June 30, 2020)
• Facilitating Great Team Discussions (July 9, 2020)
• Generational Impacts On Remote Work (July 14, 2020)
• Introduction To Mindfulness (July 23, 2020)
• Creating Psychological Safety At Work (July 28, 2020)
• Doing More With Less - What Next? (August 11, 2020)
• Empathy At Work (August 27, 2020)
• Work-Life Balance For You And Your Team (September 10, 2020)
• Overcoming Performance Management Challenges (September 24, 2020)
• A Schooling In Back-To-School (October 8, 2020)
• Learn Together, Play Together, Talk Together (October 22, 2020)
• Handling Tough Topics (November 10, 2020)
• Build Rapport While Apart (December 8, 2020)
• Handling Tough Topics: Skill Enhancement Workshop (January 26, 2021)

The Office of Human Resources’ department of Organization Development plans on continuing the support chat sessions indefinitely into the future, with focus on broadening the audience and increasing attendance.


Website URL where information about the employee satisfaction and engagement evaluation is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Public Information about Pitt's Shaping the Workplace initiative: https://www.hr.pitt.edu/projects/shaping-workplace

Pitt OHR Shaping the Workplace (internal Sharepoint site): https://pitt.sharepoint.com/sites/human-resources/shaping-workplace/SitePages/Home.aspx

Pitt OHR Supervisor Support Chats (internal Sharepoint site):
https://pitt.sharepoint.com/sites/human-resources/SitePages/Supervisor%20Support%20Chats.aspx

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.