UK@Work survey: Turning feedback into action

Office of Faculty Resources, Planning and Assessment

Brian Lee, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Faculty Resources, Planning and Assessment


Megan Lucy, M.P.A. 
Assistant Director of Faculty Resources


Tricia Coakley, M.P.A.
Assistant Director of Planning and Assessment

L-104 Ag Science Center North
1100 S. Limestone
Lexington, KY 40546-0091

Please contact Megan Lucy with website related questions/comments.

A Message from the Dean

Dean Nancy Cox

One of the things UK has done in recent years to enhance employee engagement and improve overall management and leadership is to gather faculty and staff feedback through the UK @ Work Survey. It turns out that these surveys, which began in 2015, meshed well with some college initiatives also undertaken in 2015 through our strategic plan, “Building Our Future on the Land-grant Legacy.”

The UK @ Work survey, which was conducted again in 2017 and 2019, works well with our college plan and gives useful information on many measures of job satisfaction and employee engagement across the units, including Extension and other off campus employees. These surveys are important to our college and university as staff and faculty job satisfaction is critical to our success.

In preparation for our college plan, covering 2015 - 2020, we conducted listening sessions with the entire CAFE family and over 1,000 external stakeholders. Our goals were framed following these important and enlightening conversations. Specifically, Goal 3 ‘recruit, develop, and retain exceptional faculty and staff who are leaders in expanding knowledge to improve the quality of life and sustainability of the human and physical environment’  includes several objectives focused on improvements to the faculty and staff experience. This planning has led to the implementation of several initiatives throughout the college, and we interpret your feedback through the UK @ Work survey to indicate progress toward this goal and highlight areas we should work on going forward.

The survey focuses on sustainable engagement; empowerment; communication; working relationships; stress, balance and workload; diversity and inclusion, leadership, working environment and university culture. Data from each year is evaluated and compared to past survey results. Unit-level reports are provided to CAFE chairs and unit directors with at least 10 respondents.

In 2019, overall, CAFE saw significant improvement across several questions related to leadership, working relationships, career development, diversity and inclusion, and empowerment. For example, we had significantly more favorable responses to the question “Colleagues in my department are encouraged to come up with innovative solutions to work-related problems” than in 2017. When compared to UK units overall, CAFE results generally reflected more favorable responses across questions associated with sustainable engagement.

We are certainly proud that our college results were positive in many ways. As always, there are opportunities for improvement. Faculty and staff responded that stress reduces their effectiveness, they want more regular feedback on their job performance, and have some uncertainty in reporting dishonest or unethical practices. 

In 2020, there was a focus on helping people in our college community find productive and healthy ways to reduce stress and gain a better work-life balance.  We also worked to ensure our people know there are resources available and that they are fully empowered to report instances if they have a concern or complaint.

In March 2021, we provided an additional college opportunity for faculty and staff feedback concerning themes of work effectiveness and well-being as compared to the end of 2019, and to identify potential ideas for helping people.

Several resources are available for faculty and staff, and we will be working to provide additional resources going forward.

Current resources include:

Approximately 48% of faculty and staff responded to the 2019 survey, down from 2017 but higher than in 2015. Several CAFE units achieved 100% participation. Thank you to those that participated, and we will be looking for ways to encourage others to participate in the future. These surveys are important as we work to make a great place to work even better.

2019 Departmental/Unit Action Plans to improve employee engagement