According to the results of a recent survey of Dartmouth administrative employees, 89 percent of respondents say they are "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their jobs and 93 percent say they would recommend Dartmouth to a friend as a good place to work.
The survey, conducted by Resource Systems Group, Inc. (RSG), was sent to 3,293 employees in the form of an e-mail invitation to complete an online questionnaire. Dartmouth employees responded in numbers far larger than industry standards would have predicted, with almost 2,000 individuals (56 percent of the workforce completing the survey). The complete report is online (109kb PDF). With questions covering almost every aspect of working life at Dartmouth, information from the survey is intended to support the larger goals for Dartmouth's administration as outlined by the recent study by the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co.
Those goals include equipping employees to support the work of faculty and students; recruiting and retaining talented and diverse administrators; stewarding Dartmouth's resources in ways that advance the academic goals and the community; communicating effectively across the institution; and encouraging innovation on the part of administrators within an environment of interdependence, transparency, responsibility, and accountability.
An executive summary of that report is also online.
"I am deeply appreciative that so many staff members completed this survey in such thoughtful ways," says President James Wright. "The information we received indicated that those who responded took the time to do so with thoughtfulness and candor." Adding that he is pleased that the majority of employees find their jobs to be rewarding, he notes that the responses also point to areas that need to be strengthened.
Many employees feel there is insufficient opportunity for advancement, are concerned about salary increments, and believe that the administration would benefit by speeding up the decision-making process and being more willing to embrace change.
Responding to the recommendations of the McKinsey study as well as to the results of the RSG survey, Wright has established a number of committees to address these issues. One, chaired by Senior Assistant to the President Sheila Culbert, will focus on communications and culture. Provost Barry Scherr will lead an effort to examine administrative recruitment and retention, and Executive Vice President Adam Keller will work with others to seek input on how to align the annual budget process more closely with Dartmouth's strategic priorities. For more information on these committees is available online.
"We must hire the best administrative staff that we can and then retain them here within a culture that expects and thrives upon excellence, that is open to everyone, and that provides opportunities for growth and advancement," says Wright.
Chief Human Resources Officer Traci Nordberg says that these are issues that her staff plans to address in the coming year. "We will use this survey as a benchmark by which to mark our progress and we plan to repeat it in two years," she explains.
By LAUREL STAVIS
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Last Updated: 12/17/08