Staff Survey rambles

In February and March this year 1677 of Brookes staff completed the staff survey – an instrument which we have use to help us understand how staff feel about working at Brookes. The findings have been shared on the web and will be widely reported and discussed I’m sure, but it’s worth taking a moment to see what they say to us in OCSLD.

There are some very positive results about line managers, with 82% of respondents agreeing that their line manager keeps them informed, 79% that their line manager involves them in decisions, and 82% that are satisfied with the support from their line manager. I’m sure these results reflect the work of our staff developers in the comprehensive support that they offer to managers through CMLP, LDSS, senior staff development, our free standing courses, and the underpinning thread of ‘the manager as coach’ which runs through all of these.

How do we build on this expertise of managers at Brookes? In part prompted by the creation of so many new managers through the restructure of the faculties, we are now reviewing the management and leadership provision from top to bottom to make it clearer to staff how it all fits together and to agree what courses and competencies are expected of managers in different roles.

The survey also shows that 88% have had a PDR in the last 12 months (thanks to Roy for his constant chasing and setting of dates for PDR training), 75% of respondents are satisfied with their current level of learning and development, but 43% often think of leaving the university. As well as staff development for those in role, or new to role, is this a warning to us to concentrate our efforts on those initiatives which support individuals through their careers at Brookes, whatever direction that takes? The Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (PETAL) process is one example and the iGrow model behind the Career Development website (now live externally at at, is another idea that I’m sure we’ll return to.

That’s the good news. What else does the survey tell us about the staff development we might need to focus on next year? We can see that a third of Brookes staff feel stressed at work, nearly half feel their workloads are too high and 82% would have liked more help coping with change. We already have courses in positive management, stress management and resilience. Do we need more of this? Is there also something for us to think about in terms of the way in which we offer staff development in these times of change? For example, participants on the Heads Orientation and Development Programme have appreciated the dedicated networking events, there are more calls for ‘bite-sized’ staff development which recognises high workloads, rather than competes with them. How can we make sure that staff encounter our development resources and opportunities at the moment, and in the form, that they need them?

As we embark on our review of OCSLD’s portfolio of courses and qualifications, the staff survey is one way in which we can listen to what staff need from us. If you want to look at it more closely, the reports are at:

This Ramble will also appear in the May Edition of the HR Newsletter

About the author



To support the University’s mission through the provision of high quality internal and external staff and educational development, and to undertake research and publish in those areas.

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