Staff survey follow-up project begins


Two years ago, non-teaching staff at McMaster were sent a survey. Some people replied, some people didn't, but the results were made known in mailings (and e-mails) after they were tallied by REACON. No one quite knew what to do with this survey. Discard it? Ignore it? Respond to it?

The University has taken up the challenge and began to respond in March of this year with the institution of the Staff Survey Follow-up Project, a plan to follow up on the REACON staff survey.

Forty-eight “volunteers” were chosen by random selection to serve on one of four work groups. Each group was assigned one of four major issues of concern identified in the survey. In total, 1,140 staff members responded to the survey (a response rate of over 50 per cent ) and rated McMaster workplace practices favorably in most areas, but gave negative marks to:

* communication;

* staff involvement;

* recognition (non-monetary); and

* staff development processes.

The 48 volunteers got together on Tuesday, March 21 for an information meeting and were charged with providing up to 10 recommendations for each issue.

These recommendations must be meaningful, credible, doable and practical. They will go to a leadership committee (which will include the chairs of each group, the President, vice-president, provost and project manager) to be reviewed. This group will then prepare a response and plan for action. The aim is for the first part of the process to be completed by mid-May, with response and final recommendations by mid-June.

The tone of the orientation meeting was open and hopeful. All participants set out to make some positive changes to improve the situations outlined in the survey.

The chairs and vice-chairs (selected by each work group) have met twice, for facilitation training and information sharing, and work groups began their meetings on March 30.

The four groups are independent and self-directed but the goal of each one is to make McMaster a better place, a healthier place, where changing tomorrow today is not just a motto, but reality.

If you have any specific questions or concerns about the survey or the process, please contact any of the four chairs listed below, or project co-ordinator Mary Williams at ext. 24568.

We can be reached by e-mail at You are also welcome to see some of the background work and information on the staff survey process posted on our Web site.

David Kidney, Chair, Communications Work Team, ext. 22764

Jennifer Wesson-Howes, Chair, Staff Involvement Work Team, 522-4370

Lynn Hruczkowski, Chair, Recognition Work Team, ext. 27589

Mark Ishii, Chair, Staff Development Work Team, ext. 23336