Employees Express a Sense of Well-being According to Recent Survey
One of the biggest changes across campus since 2018, according to the recent UNC System employee survey, is a greater sense of well-being. In the survey, said consultant Rich Boyer, Elizabeth City State University employees were clear in their comments that there is a sense of well-being and a sense of purpose across campus.
“There are a lot of models of well-being, but well-being here relates to the employee work experience,” he said.
A positive experience working at ECSU can be summed up in what Mr. Boyer said is clearly a sense of being on the same team. And that inclusiveness lends itself toward a sense of purpose and well-being.
Mr. Boyer made a presentation to Chancellor Karrie G. Dixon and her senior leadership team earlier this fall, outlining what he characterized as “dramatic progress” for ECSU. During the 2018 employee survey, confidence was low but since that time, employees of the university have made it clear that they are happy about the progress ECSU is making, and that growing sense of well-being is, Mr. Boyer said, a big part of the change in sentiment.
“As you read through the responses in the survey, a common theme is a sense of pride in the importance and impact of the work,” he said. “It’s an impact on the students and an impact on the community.”
Mr. Boyer said the survey responses also indicate senior leadership shows a “genuine” sense of caring for employees across campus.
Melanie Baker, the out-going staff senate president, says it is clear that leadership is concerned with the well-being of employees. She believes the current pandemic crisis is a prime example of the concerns for and commitment to employees.
“I see leadership showing their concern during this pandemic not just by supplying PPEs, but also having COVID tests offered to employees, ensuring that those who can telework are given what they needed to do so, and weekly email communications on what the Chancellor and leadership team were doing,” said Ms. Baker.
She also hopes to see more from leadership. Employees, she said, need designated mental health days to regroup and be more efficient.
She would also like to see a way for employees to offer leadership regular feedback.
“Feedback from employees will give leadership an insight on how to gauge steps in decision making and implementation of ideas,” she said. “Feedback gives employees a feeling that there is a return on their investment and validation of individual work.”
Employee “buy-in” is also important, said Ms. Baker. Employees desire a sense of ownership where they work, which leads to stronger sense of satisfaction.
More than ever, faculty members say they recognize the need for support from senior leadership. The pandemic has been a game-changer for many professors and overall, the support has been instrumental in leading faculty forward, said Dr. Melissa Stuckey, ECSU professor of history.
“I truly appreciate the efforts university leadership have made to protect faculty health and well-being during this extraordinary moment,” said Dr. Stuckey. “They were proactive in making work from home an option early on and responsive to concerns raised by faculty about how this global health crisis could impact our scholarly productivity towards tenure and promotion. They’ve even promoted faculty and staff health with fitness classes and moved those classes online at our request.”
From the Chancellor’s office through each department and division across campus, the well-being of employees has been a top priority, said Chancellor Dixon. “We are all here to educate the next generation of young adults. The well-being of our employees along with a strong sense that we are all on the same team gives ECSU the strength and commitment required to educate these young men and women,” said Chancellor Dixon.