new employee smiling at another.

Staff Experience Progress and Actions

Last October, over 4,500 Davis campus staff participated in the inaugural Staff Experience Survey.

Since then we’ve been taking steady and deliberate actions to make UC Davis an even better place to work (we’re currently #3 in the state).

Learn more about the Staff Experience Survey

Taking Action Is Critical

While UC Davis performed well in the 2020 Staff Experience Survey, earning an Engagement Score of 76/100 (US National Benchmark: 75), what’s the point of getting 8,529 staff comments if you’re not going to do anything with them. Second, UC Davis literally scored the worst on the question - I believe meaningful action will be taken as a result of this survey.

We’ve accepted the challenge from staff to do something positive with their input," shared Christine Lovely, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, "We’re taking some forever actions based on staff feedback.”

Making Progress

Survey results rolled out to supervisors and managers in January 2021 and shortly after, the Staff Experience Task Force was charged with reviewing results and making recommendations.

The Task Force recommendations were submitted to the Chancellor in May.

We’ve socialized the recommended actions with the campus leaders whose teams will be central to getting them implemented,” remarked Kelly Ratliff, Vice Chancellor for the Finance, Operations and Administration, and Task Force Co-Chair. “In many cases, the recommendations really provided the final push to propel good things forward."

Forever Change

A Staff Experience Campus Advisory Group will soon be tasked by the Chancellor with assessing and identifying gaps, best practices and trends about the experience and engagement of non-academic staff employees at UC Davis. This group will make recommendations directly to the Chancellor regarding solutions and programs that can improve staff experience and engagement. The Advisory Group membership will reflect diverse campus constituencies, and will convene in Fall 2021.

Improvements Across Campus

Because so much of the engagement-boosting activity occurs at the School, College and Division level, we’re excited to see colleagues using staff feedback to improve the workplace.

  • Cross-Training Creates Promotional Opportunity in Student Housing
  • Our staff provided valuable feedback to the survey question “My role is an excellent fit with my strengths."

    The feedback stressed their interest in cross-training, which is so helpful in career advancement. We used the recommend action items, which suggested holding retention interviews. During one interview in particular, we identified an individual with skills that we soon needed in a vacant position – so we started cross-training. This is a win for our department and the employee, who is building their UC Davis experience. We look forward to future cross-training endeavors…

    Ramona P. Hernandez
    Director Business and Financial Services
    UC Davis Student Housing and Dining Services

  • 360° Feedback and Individual Leader Coaching Within Student Affairs
  • One of Student Affairs’ divisional outcomes is to offer 360 feedback assessments and individual coaching for leaders. We’re rolling this out to be accessible to our managers who feel this additional feedback may be helpful to them and their teams. Additionally, a new program focused on strengths-based leadership is coming this Fall and will help support our overall efforts to boost staff engagement.

    Amy Shuman
    Workforce Development Director
    Student Affairs
  • Library’s Employee Engagement Committee Builds Community

  • We established an Employee Engagement Committee cast to focus on health and wellness concerns, community building, and employee appreciation.

    Employees expressed a clear desire to have more social activities and engagement, which this committee will plan – five total over the next year. We look forward to helping employees network and build relationships across departments, while having a little fun and appreciating employees.

    Bill Garrity
    Deputy University Librarian

  • Vet Med Improving Equal Opportunity

  • At Vet Med, we used survey feedback to set multiple goals over 2022.

    Two specific goals relate to:

    1. Improving Leadership for My Team
    The SVM will arrange Town hall meetings with campus leadership in order to engage leaders of matters important to the SVM, gain their feedback while increasing confidence in the leadership teams.

    2. Improve Equal Opportunity for My Team
    DEI Committees within the SVM Development group are being established and looking at our organization and how we can diversify.

    Mary McNally
    Executive Assistant Dean for Administration
    School of Veterinary Medicine

  • FOA Seeks to Improve Campuswide Communications

  • Finance, Operations and Administration created the Digest in direct response to feedback to the “Campus Does a Good Job Communicating” question.

    The goals of the Digest are to:
    >> Better inform employees of logistical, administrative and operational information, particularly with regard to upcoming timelines and actions needed.
    >> Combine important updates into single to-do list email to reduce clutter and increase employee confidence that they are being kept well informed.
    >> Improve employee knowledge/awareness of campus systems.

    View the Digest released Sept. 9

Tag actions aimed at staff experience. 
Staff Experience Survey logo.

Download this logo

When is the Next Survey?

The survey is coming back largely in the same version in 2022, likely beginning on March 28 (after spring break) and running until late April. We may tweak a question or two to keep the survey current, relevant and topical. 

We originally planned to introduce the second Staff Experience Survey in October 2021, but postponing a little bit gives us more time to take meaningful action on the Staff Experience Task Force Recommendations,” explained Steve Chilcott, Executive Director for HR Workforce Strategies. “I hope you continue having productive conversations with your team about your Staff Experience Survey results and taking action at the department level."

After 2022, the Staff Experience Survey will then return every other year (i.e., 2024, 2026, 2028).

Top Tips for Supervisors to Take Action


For questions or more information:

Primary Category

Secondary Categories