Employee Surveys

Summer, 2023

Thank you for another robust response to our regular State of the Workplace survey - more than 2,000 of you shared your experiences with us. At a high level, the average score on all questions rose - this suggests your workplace experience is improving. Some highlights include:

  • 87% of you agree that Achieve Together is fair and accurate for your performance evaluations. This is an incredible validation of the design of our program. In addition to Achieve Together being a critical element in our plan to create a culture of coaching at UC Berkeley, we implemented Achieve Together because we believed it is the best way to fairly and accurately evaluate our employees - and this data says that the program is working. In addition, we also know that Achieve Together has dramatically reduced the bias against our historically marginalized employees that was present when we did the “once a year” evaluations. Our program is consistently held up as a model for other universities across the country.
  • Trust in your division-level leaders has risen tothe highest level since we began surveying you. Throughout the pandemic, our leaders rose to meet the unprecedented challenges that confronted them and built even stronger organizations across campus. These trust-building efforts, featuring Berkeley Law, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Finance, and University Development and Alumni Relations (UDAR), highlight what we have learned about how to build trust.
  • 50% of you who supervise professional staff are interested in a higher-level role at Berkeley. For those who do not currently supervise others, a clear third are interested in a supervisory or management role. However, we’ve also learned that, for a variety of reasons, many of you have not yet pursued management opportunities or are uncertain about how to even begin that journey. We want to work with you to make sure that you are achieving your career goals.

Differences among Demographic Groups:

Generally, we are seeing improved average ratings for our historically marginalized populations, but for ethnic/racial groups with approximately 100 responses the following comes into focus:

  • There is a large difference in the agreement (17%) between Black (64%) and White (81%) staff about trusting their immediate supervisor.
  • 58% of White staff trust their division-level leaders, while Black, Chinese, Hispanic, and Two or More Races staff were around 50%.
  • Black staff had the lowest agreement (51%) with “I have an equal opportunity to succeed”, especially compared with White (75%). 

Gender Identity

  • The largest demographic groups, Male and Female staff saw improvements across all benchmarked ratings.
  • The next largest demographic group, Genderqueer or Non-Binary, generally saw a decline in average agreement, most notably around supervisors promoting an inclusive team environment, trust in immediate supervisor, and having an equal opportunity to succeed.

Sexual Orientation

  • In general, we saw an improvement in all benchmarked ratings.
  • Queer staff (the next largest demographic behind Heterosexual) however did see a general decline in average ratings, with the largest drops on issues around supervisors promoting an inclusive team environment and trust in their immediate supervisor - 65% and 71% agreeing with these statements respectively.

Disability Status

  • Again, we saw general improvements across all benchmarked questions, although our employees with disabilities still have a less favorable experience in the workplace. Notably, only 58% of employees with disabilities agree that they have an equal opportunity to succeed whereas 71% of employees without disabilities agree. 

What are we doing about the results?We have many ways to help people become managers for the first time or move even higher up the ranks. As a first step, you should always start with simply talking it through with your current supervisor - the new Achieve Together conversation period that just opened is the perfect time for this. We also have programs to support individual contributors interested in moving into management, to many other opportunities to help you advance your career, including one-on-one career coaching appointments. Also, look into the benefits of the BSA mentor/mentee program which will open up for applications in Spring.

To help our managers create more inclusive workplaces, we launched the Inclusive Leadership Academy last year to provide leaders with the content knowledge, leadership behaviors, and support to effectively lead our diverse staff community. We are also exploring ways to enhance our support for employees with disabilities, particularly with respect to providing necessary accommodations. By building incremental steps for all managers we are on our way to creating a culture at Berkeley where every manager will be expected to have this essential skillset. 

What’s Next?We are putting the finishing touches to our new State of the Workplace Index, an online dashboard comparison tool, that will allow you to view the overall workplace experience score for your division and campus, including an equity index that calculates whether or not people are being treated equitably. More to come on that soon.

Our next survey won’t take place until 2024, but until then please do not hesitate to reach out to provide feedback about your experience so that we can continue to make the workplace experience better for everyone at Berkeley.

Fall, 2022

Thank you to all of you who took the time to respond to the latest State of the Workplace Survey. We had almost 1,000 more responses as compared to February 2022, and that lets us know that many of you are eager to share your experiences with us and how important it is for us to listen. 

Here is what we have learned from our analysis of the data so far: 

  • 27% of you are looking for a new job, much better than the national average of around 40%. The main reason for leaving is that people simply want to be paid more. On the bright side, 22% of you who are looking to leave your current position do want to stay here at Berkeley, and a further 23% want to stay within the UC system. Only 20% of you are looking outside to the private sector for your next job, which shows that the majority of us believe in Berkeley, the UC system and higher education as long-term places to work and grow our careers.

  • The 73% of us who are not looking for a new job list the primary reasons for staying as:

    • Opportunity to work remotely (18%)
    • Benefits package (16%) and,
    • Ability to maintain a flexible schedule (9%). This shows that our Flexible Work Arrangement policy is working for both you and the University - put simply, it’s both driving retention and attracting new talent.
  • 66% of us agree/strongly agree that the workload our supervisors expect of us is reasonable. Only 16% disagree, and while the general anecdotal consensus on campus is that we are all overworked to some degree, our remote work and flexible schedules are clearly helping us get our work done under these circumstances.

At a high level, the survey data tells us that if your workload is reasonable, you trust your division leader and you feel like you have an equal opportunity to succeed, you are far more likely to continue your career here. In order to make this data actionable, and respond to your concerns, we intend to meet with the leadership of each division to give them the support they need so that we all feel valued and can add value here at Berkeley.

You may have noticed a new section in our survey regarding employee empathy that we have not addressed in our summary highlights. This is because we are currently in the process of designing a new program to address empathy in the workplace, and the data you gave us is helping us to design it. More to come soon on this front.

The full survey report provides detailed information to better understand how different demographic groups experience Berkeley and to see how experiences differ across our Divisions. We also encourage you to take a look at the CUPA-HR national survey that we use as a benchmark. More information on actions you can take to improve the employee experience for yourself and others are on the employee engagement web page. Our Employee Engagement Guide is a great place to start!

As always, our goal is to learn what we can do to make Berkeley a great place to work for everyone, both now and moving forward. We also want to remind you of our ongoing feedback tool that invites you to share your confidential suggestions year-round. Your feedback really does help us do our jobs better. 

Winter, 2022

Our February State of the Workplace survey captured your current experiences as an employee of UC Berkeley and, in particular, how you are engaging with your colleagues. Although the results below present the "overall" view for UC Berkeley (i.e., they reflect the views across all demographic groups), they appear to show that Berkeley still has work to do to get closer to employees feeling a sense of equal opportunity to succeed.

Most of our questions had little statistical change from last summer’s survey; so, while we originally decided to survey you every six months, we are now considering changing to less frequent surveying. Among the results we wish to note are:

  • People were more likely to agree with “I know what my supervisor expects of me”: the average increased to 4.24 (Agree) from 3.34 (Neutral). Communication is a critical part of this success, as seen in the latest systemwide engagement survey.

  • Trust in campus leaders remains roughly the same. Although the question changed from “I trust campus leaders” (Jul. 2021) to “I trust the most senior leader of my school/college/division” (Feb. 2022), the average score was the same: 3.50 (Agree/Neutral). We will dig deeper to see why the level of trust in leadership is not higher. 

  • Finally, over a quarter (26%) of us are currently looking for a job outside of Berkeley. While this may seem like an alarming statistic, we should bear in mind that 44% of people nationally are looking for a new job. Nevertheless, that a quarter of us are looking for a job is still a cause for concern, something we will seek to address.

The full survey report provides detailed information to better understand how different demographic groups experience UC Berkeley and to see how experiences differ across Divisions. We encourage you to take some time to review.

More information on actions you can take to improve the employee experience for yourself and others are on the employee engagement web page. Our Employee Engagement Guide is a great place to start!

As always, our goal is to make sure we are serving you in the best ways possible now and moving forward. We have just developed an ongoing feedback tool that invites you to share your confidential suggestions year-round. Your feedback really does help us do our jobs better. 

Spring, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you to the more than 4,100 of you who responded to our recent Remote Work Survey. It goes without saying that this is simply an incredible level of response. The results show that the actions you have taken, and continue to take, in support of UC Berkeley’s Flexible Work Arrangement program, are having a positive impact and showing that we are undertaking practices that work well for our campus, and for you, our committed and excellent employees. Similarly, based on prior student survey data regarding student preferences for services, we are showing that we are meeting the needs of students with flexible work schedules. These data are encouraging and reaffirm our commitment to Flexible Work Arrangements as they fit the needs of the particular unit or division going forward. We are proud to support the innovations that so many of you have undertaken, which are progressive and prepare us to recruit, retain, and develop a workforce that is adaptive and resilient in today’s higher education environment, while not forgetting that we need to be available to deliver the services the campus needs

We are committed to being an active partner in further achievements and progress, and we actively listen to your voices that share with us how you are experiencing work, colleagues, and the workplace. In order to address the need to maintain our community and take on persistent levels of burnout (as expressed in this survey, the State of the Workplace survey, and our All-Staff Forum on Community) our “no routine Friday afternoon meetings” that we instituted after our first morale survey in May 2020, will continue under the banner of "Community and Wellness Fridays." We encourage you to use Friday afternoons to focus on professional development (including catching up on training), community-building activities such as engaging with staff organizations, and personal wellness through Be Well at Work. 

Here are the key takeaways from the survey:

  • Your responses are still very positive on remote/hybrid work, and most people agree or strongly agree with the statements. For example, 96% of you agree that UC Berkeley benefits from flexible work arrangements. These survey results overall are consistent with the last time we conducted this survey in October 2021. 

  • Significantly, more than 80% of you agree that remote/hybrid work has had a positive effect on relationships with your families. This quality of life improvement is invaluable.

  • Your collaboration and communication with colleagues, both within and across business units, remain very high, regardless of your work mode. 

  • While two-thirds of you feel that remote/hybrid work has had no impact on (or has improved) your sense of community, one-third feel that it has had a negative impact.

  • As with the prior survey, 77% of you agree that Zoom meetings are just as productive as other meetings. This is very interesting because the positive experiences most of us have from our increasing number of in-person experiences have not impacted our perception of the effectiveness of Zoom.

  • You overwhelmingly continue to believe that your and your colleagues' work quantity and quality have improved.

  • However, you say that integrating new employees who are hired remotely is “just ok.” We need to think about how best we can help those employees who never come into an in-person work experience feel connected to colleagues, culture, and mission.

Fall, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you to the more than 3,200 of you who shared your experiences with Flexible Work Arrangements by responding to our recent Remote Work Survey

The incorporation of Flexible Work Arrangements — in service to the mission of the University and implemented where appropriate in relation to teaching and research needs — has generally been beneficial. We recognize there are drawbacks to remote work and we will continue to refine our approach to mitigate any negative impacts, and adapt and evolve with the needs of the University.

Although the majority of undergraduate students (61%) and graduate students (69%) report that the mixture of in-person and remote services is “about right” for the time being — or could even be more remote — a full 36% of undergraduates and 31% of graduate students believe we should provide more in-person services. These are not insignificant numbers and indicate that we must continue to engage with our students to better understand the type and style of services they need in order to be successful. 

The following are notable results from the survey:

  • Hybrid work has been widely utilized, with half of the respondents working both on-site and remotely (Staff - 50%, Academic - 63%)

  • Volume of work: 57% of us feel that coworkers appear to be completing the same amount of work when working remotely (Staff - 55%, Academic - 66%) while 37% say we are getting more done (Staff - 40%, Academic - 23%)

  • Quality of work: 75% of us feel the quality of work done remotely by our co-workers is the same (Staff -74%, Academic -79%), while 20% feel work quality has improved (Staff - 22%, Academic -11%)

  • Communications: 91% agree that they can communicate as well or better with off-site co-workers in the same business unit (Staff - 94%, Academic - 82%), while 87% agree they can communicate as well or better with offsite colleagues in other business units (Staff - 89%, Academic - 76%)

  • Responsiveness: 87% say it takes the same amount of time – or less – to get work questions answered when working remotely (Staff - 88%, Academic - 77%), compared to 13% who report it takes longer (Staff - 11%, Academic - 23%)

  • Effectiveness of Zoom: 77% of us agree that meetings conducted on Zoom are as productive as, or more productive than, face-to-face meetings (Staff - 80%, Academic - 57%)

  • Building/maintaining community remains an issue: although 57% of us feel the same sense of community when working remotely versus working on-site (Staff - 58%, Academic - 34%), 32% feel a reduced sense of community (Staff - 32%, Academic - 58%)

The adoption of Flexible Work Arrangements appears to be driving many forms of operational improvements and efficiencies, as well as conferring numerous benefits in the form of better relations with supervisors, families, and friends. At the same time, respondents express that the sense of community and particular types of work and interactions have suffered. This requires attention to how we build and maintain community.