Blog entries

What issues we work on from the WPA?

The workplace assessment for 2019 has now been completed and the reports have been published. I would therefore like to take a closer look at some of the areas which I think we should continue to work on in the administration following the survey.

First of all, I would like to say a big thank-you for the high WPA response rate in the administration.  82% of employees took part in the survey. I am delighted with that, as a high response rate provides the most accurate picture of the administration’s work environment possible.

I am also pleased to see that the administration’s workplace assessment shows that there is a generally high level of satisfaction among employees. One thing I particularly note is that you feel your work in the administration is meaningful, that you are well equipped to do your jobs, and that you are good at supporting and helping each other. I am very pleased that many of you feel this way.

But as I have said, there are also some things in the survey which I think are important to address.

More of the administration’s employees are experiencing stress than the last time the survey was conducted three years ago. I am very aware of this, and it is important to act on it locally in the various units.

Another thing I am very aware of is the perception of the day-to-day management in the administration. It is fair to say that this is an area we still need to focus on. I attach great importance to ‘good management’ in the administration, so we must continue to work on leadership development and management training.

In the administration, I am afraid we score relatively poorly – compared to 2016’s figures – in terms of employees’ perception of future prospects. I have a theory that one of the reasons for this could be the relatively large number of changes that take place in a workplace such as ours. This does not mean that there’s nothing we can do about the problem. It is extremely important that you as employees feel that you work at a place where you can develop – and where you can see yourselves working for many years to come. 

With this in mind, I am surprised that far too many of you have not had an SDD. The SDD is an important element of staff development, and I would therefore strongly urge both managers and employees to have these meetings. It is also important for me to mention that staff development is not limited to the SDD. Rather, we should be working on it through the year – there should be an ongoing dialogue between employee and manager.

With regard to the physical work environment, the WPA shows that, here too, there are areas we need to work on. Here I think our Campus 2.0 project will play a key role in providing for a better physical work environment. I would also like to ask everyone to take a look at their work environment at the local level – and to discuss how it can be improved. And if there is any low-hanging fruit, it needs to be picked – here it is important for us all to display initiative.

One last, but very important, finding from the 2019 WPA is a small increase in offensive behaviour. I take this very seriously, and will raise the issue with management in the administration.

The WPA reports are now available on AU’s website, and I expect local managers and employees in all units to engage in dialogue on their workplace assessment and discuss how to tackle the challenges identified by the survey.

As always, if you have any immediate comments on the 2019 WPA, you are welcome to enter them in the comments field below.


·         You can find the WPA reports for the administration here