May 25, 2006 • Volume 14 Number 18

BC to Survey Employees on Workplace Climate

By Jack Dunn
Director of Public Affairs

In an effort to better gauge the work climate at Boston College, the University will conduct its first ever employee survey beginning May 31.

The survey, commissioned by the University's Diversity Steering Committee, is designed to measure staff perceptions regarding diversity and general work environment issues, with the goal of improving the overall employee experience.

Originally intended to focus on issues of race on campus, the survey has been expanded to include the themes of gender, religion, class, disabilities, sexual orientation and employee satisfaction.

The questionnaire will be offered confidentially in English, Spanish and Portuguese to 2,500 BC administrators and staff both online and through a paper version for employees without access to computers. The results of the survey will be disseminated to the University community in the fall. (Faculty members were surveyed last year and will not be a part of this study.)

Paper versions of the survey will be given from 2-4 p.m. in the McElroy Conference Room, Corcoran Commons second floor alcove and Lyons Hall meeting room on June 5, 7, 13 and 15 and Barat House June 5 and 15.

"We initiated this survey to learn from our employees what we do well and what we could improve so we can develop programs to make a great institution even better," said Kelli Armstrong, director of institutional research.

Executive Director of Institutional Diversity Richard Jefferson said, "We wanted to take a more strategic approach to our work on diversity to avoid the non-cohesive hit-or-miss approach of the past. We also wanted to give voices to those who may not have had a voice before."

Jefferson and Armstrong stressed that the on-line software used for the survey will offer complete confidentiality, allowing no possibility of connecting the opinions with the individual. In addition, they said, the data will only be printed in summary fashion.

The survey contains approximately 60 questions and will take between 20-30 minutes to complete. All participants will be entered in a drawing to win five $100 American Express Gift Cards.

The Diversity Steering Committee, which consisted of 20 members diverse by race, department and position, worked for almost two years to prepare the survey after conducting 17 focus groups with administrators and staff throughout campus.

The employee survey, Jefferson and Armstrong said, will be a first step in an on-going self-assessment effort that will lead to the creation of a University Diversity Advisory Committee and a strategic plan for diversity.

"Our expectation is that this will be the first of many climate surveys so that we can regularly hear from employees about how we are doing and the ways in which we can make BC the best possible environment for our staff," said Jefferson.

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