"We were actively looking at implementing a staff survey and the Quality of Working Life survey designed by QoWL provided everything which we needed and more. The process of getting the survey up and running was extremely smooth and QoWL were able to advise where we had any specific queries. Throughout the process, we worked as a virtual team and they were a pleasure to work with. The outcomes from the initial survey are part of our strategic planning process and we plan to repeat the survey in 2010."
The case studies below show how we have helped organisations issue, and understand the results of their survey.
Our University benchmark research attracted attention from the HR director of a large post 1992 University. They knew they wanted to have the full survey and follow up information and planned to have the survey become a regular part of their annual organisational development cycle. We talked them through our 360 degree survey philosophy and discussed how the process should be tailored for them.
The full QoWL survey was undertaken, complete with organisational specific questions. An attractive and professional looking paper version of the QoWL survey questionnaire was produced to give to staff who did not have ready access to the usual internet based survey system. The whole university was given notice through the staff magazine a month before the survey and a week before a pre-survey warning was emailed to all staff. Departmental managers were briefed on the importance of the survey and how useful the results would be to them and the university.
On 'Q' day the internet survey went live and the paper versions were made available with appropriately addressed envelopes to relevant staff. Reminders were sent out after 1 and 2 and a half weeks and the survey closed after three and a half weeks. At this point the online survey data was processed and the paper based questionnaire data was passed to QoWL to be entered into the database and analysed alongside with online data. Within two weeks an initial analysis had taken place and based on feedback from the university HR department staff categories with less than 10 staff reported were collapsed into bigger groupings.
After a further four weeks the full summary analysis was delivered, comprising of a detailed breakdown of each question and each WRQoL and HSE factor by relevant category questions. A presentation was then given by a director of QoWL to the university senior management team. A final version of the full report and short summary reports for each of 10 departments / areas of the university were provided after a further two weeks.
University HR staff arranged a series of departmental / area level presentations to guide the use of the summaries. After a further two months an executive summary of the general results including feedback and comments on the process and findings were circulated to all staff through a special edition of the staff newsletter. Implications and actions planned due to the points arising from the survey were highlighted. During the next year progress on achieving the action plan was publicised through the staff newsletter.
A large UK NHS Primary Care Trust (PCT) required an independent professional, high-quality audit of the opinions of their staff. A strategy to develop the audit was produced during an initial meeting with the Trust’s human resources representatives. We then met with management, unions, and human resources representatives to develop the requirements for the survey. On the basis of analysis of previous survey results in the Trust, a small number of core Work-Related Quality of Life (QoWL) questions were chosen, to which a selection of questions relevant to the current needs of the Trust were added. The human resources team were guided as to how to pilot the questionnaire within their organisation. Our team then desk top published the final version of the questionnaire and cover sheet, and the PCT organised the printing of the questionnaires themselves. We advised on strategies for getting high response rates and the questionnaire was distributed. The questionnaires were filled in by employees, and then put into free post envelopes and posted back to us. We organised processing of the over 1000 envelopes and inputting of the data into a database. This data was analysed using a suite of programs specially written by our staff for this type of analysis.
Executive summaries of the findings were provided for the Trust management team and described during a presentation to department heads within the organisation. The full report was discussed in detail with the steering group of management, unions, and with the human resources team as part of the development of a strategy for the organisation to resolve the issues highlighted during the survey. A presentation was then made to the Board of Governors which contained a review of the findings of the survey and the recommended actions. A summary of the survey, a celebration of good practice found, and the actions to be taken to resolve outstanding issues were provided to employees through the Trust newsletter.
The Trust reported that the process had given them valuable information about the needs and requirements of their employees. Some very practical actions taken on the basis of the survey included addressing child-care needs of staff and improving flexible working arrangements. The survey also highlighted a problem with the uptake of the appraisal system. This led to the human resources providing further training and workshops for managers and employees.
The analysis of the open questions which asked employees to comment on "what is the best thing about your job", "what is the worst thing about your job", "what is the one thing you would most like to change about your job", were found to be especially helpful in understanding the work context of the core QoWL questions by providing specific examples of how the organisation might improve the working lives of employees.
A survey the following year found improvements in the targeted areas, and identified certain other areas as requiring attention. The ongoing cycle of survey, action and re-assessment was found to be useful by the Trust and contributed to the empowerment of the employees.
A Large Local Education Authority required a sample of employee views across their organisation. We met with the representatives including the head of personnel to develop an assessment of the QoWL of staff. In addition, given specific client concerns, a set of questions was developed to measure types of harassment experienced by staff. APU personnel helped the organisation develop a sampling strategy and provided project management assistance to pilot the questionnaire within the LEA. Questionnaires were distributed and passed directly to the us. The questionnaires were processed and entered into a database. A short report containing the key findings in the form of an extended executive summary was developed. Results were used to inform LEA personnel policy and actions were formulated using the data to tackle high staff turnover.
A Large NHS Hospital Trust were about to embark on a series of radical changes in their organisational structure and were interested in tracking the effect of this change on staff morale and quality of working life. Our psychologists met with human resources staff and union representatives to develop a tailored questionnaire (including WRQoL core questions, with Harassment at work and Health and Safety at work sub-questionnaires). At the end of the assessment period each year results were fed back by us, who also contributed to the development of an action plan for the forthcoming year. Each year a small number of questions were introduced to cover issues of the moment for the Hospital Trust, but otherwise the standard questions remained the same. This rolling programme continued over a period of some five years, allowing the Trust not only to investigate the year on year opinions of staff but also to track changes, assess effectiveness of the actions taken, and provide evidence of staff QoWL as required by central NHS agencies.