New psychological workplace assessment at AU
The new study of job satisfaction at our university is being supplemented by special questions focusing on the reorganisation process. The questionnaire has been drawn up in collaboration with staff throughout the organisation, and the voices of part-time staff and student assistants will also be heard.
On 1 November every member of the AU staff received an email containing a link to a questionnaire focusing on the current psychological working environment at Aarhus University.
The questionnaire has been tried and tested very thoroughly. There have been hearings in all the main academic areas as well as in the administrative departments, including interviews with both specific individuals and focus groups. So the people who have designed the assessment process feel certain that the university staff will recognise their own situations and daily working lives in the questions being asked – notwithstanding differences in terms of subject area and geography.
“This assessment process is very different from the last one back in 2009. In 2009 we produced a questionnaire based on a much more theoretical approach, focusing on classical dilemmas such as whether our academic staff could satisfactorily carry out both research and teaching. This time the questionnaire is the result of extensive user inclusion, with staff helping to identify themes and questions that they felt were relevant. And everyone is being asked for their views this time – including part-time staff and student assistants,” explains Anna Bager from the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
The Centre is responsible for carrying out the study, while the AU HR Department will be following up on the process and helping the organisation to use the results achieved.
Special focus on reorganisation
The questionnaire does of course include traditional questions about job satisfaction: workload, stress and loneliness in the workplace, for instance. But this time there is also a whole section focusing solely on the reorganisation of the university, and on how the changes have been perceived by staff.
“We decided to ask questions about the reorganisation of the university first, giving staff the opportunity to tell us what they thought about this issue in particular. And the process of reorganisation has been a pretty major issue for a lot of people. So the questions in the first section deal with how (and how much) the changes have affected individual members of staff,” says Anna Bager.
The questions about reorganisation focus on three different processes: the implementation of the new administrative IT systems, the reorganisation of the main academic areas and institutes, and the process of administrative reorganisation.
“We designed the study to ensure that we could take the themes included in this part of the questionnaire and deal with them separately in the second section of the study, enabling us to see how the reorganisation process has affected general job satisfaction,” explains Anna Bager.
Results at the end of February
The psychological workplace assessment also asks questions of the management by focusing on the third link in the chain of command: heads of department and deputy directors.
“The fourth level of management hasn’t yet been defined in some cases, so our questions ask the staff for their views on the management on an everyday basis. This will enable us to shed light on the right places, after which we can focus more specifically on certain areas if necessary,” says Anna Bager.
Anna Bager and her two colleagues at the Centre for Teaching and Learning expect to be ready to announce the general results at the end of February.
“A good deal of follow-up will be needed after that, including concrete plans of action,” she concludes.