May 14, 2012

‘Help Build a Better Workplace’

Gallup to conduct employee engagement survey

The Johns Hopkins Institutions will next month conduct a massive employee engagement survey themed “Help Build a Better Workplace,” which will be administered from June 1 through June 21 by the Gallup Organization. All university staff, except those at

the Applied Physics Laboratory, will be asked to participate.

While the health system, including the School of Medicine, has taken such a survey before, as have university IT staff, this will be the first time for other divisions of the university, which had previously administered its own internal climate survey.

During the three-week survey period, the approximately 5,000 university staff will have an opportunity to provide feedback on how well the university is doing in creating a work environment in which employees are not only satisfied with their jobs but know that the job they do is important and meaningful.

School of Medicine faculty are included in the current health system survey, but all other faculty, and students, will be surveyed at a later date, once the appropriate survey has been identified for these groups.

Charlene Hayes, university vice president for human resources, said that Johns Hopkins wants to hear from its employees, and that a high participation rate will be key to initiating meaningful workplace improvement.

“We know that many employees did not participate in our surveys previously because of concerns about privacy,” Hayes said. “The Gallup survey should help to calm those fears. The mere fact that we are not administering the survey internally should give our employees the confidence that managers will not see their individual responses. Our hope is that with this greater sense of security comes greater participation. We want to know from as many employees as possible just what they value in their current work environment, and what more they need to make Johns Hopkins University the absolute best place in the world to be.”

The confidential employee engagement survey, which is expected to take 10 minutes to complete, will feature questions prepared jointly by Gallup and the JHU Gallup Survey Planning Committee, whose members were selected to represent various areas of the university and to ensure that their areas had a voice in the engagement process.

Gallup will send each employee a unique code—which will not include any individual identifying information such as birth date or Social Security number—that will be used to access the survey. Responses can be submitted 24 hours a day during the survey period.

Debbie Sampson, senior director of Talent Management and Organization Development for the university and chair of the University Gallup Survey Planning Committee, said, “The survey is an opportunity for every staff member to express his or her opinions freely and openly. Participation is a personal choice. Choosing to participate or not can directly impact future decisions that can potentially make positive change in our work life here at JHU.”

The Gallup Organization will not share individual responses with Johns Hopkins management, Sampson said. In late summer, Gallup will present Johns Hopkins with summary reports of the results by division, department and work unit, and anonymous reports for groups of at least five employees will then be provided to department heads. Managers will share the data with employees in early fall. Employees will then be asked to participate in groups to develop action plans that will help build a better workplace.