UCL News


Provost's View: Turning staff feedback into action

20 November 2014

From our upcoming merger with the Institute of Education to the development of our plans for UCL East, the university's proposed presence on the Olympic Park, life at UCL is constantly evolving.

Staff survey In order to adapt to new challenges in the higher education environment and to drive the strategic transformation outlined in UCL 2034, we rely on the efforts of UCL staff working across all roles and at all levels in the institution. We want to retain excellent staff, and to encourage your commitment, loyalty and enthusiasm.

In November last year, we launched our Staff Engagement Survey 2013 to all UCL staff. The survey, which we conduct every two years, helps decision-makers at UCL to identify how staff feel about the workplace - and where you think change is needed.

I fed back earlier this year (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/staff/staff-news/0214/27022014-provosts-long-view-ucl-staff-survey-results) on the results of the 2013 survey. In response to those results, I committed to identifying common areas of concern and to allocate resources where they can make the biggest difference. One year on from the survey launch, here are some of the initiatives that we have taken forward.

Staff Reward and Recognition

You challenged us in the survey about reward and recognition. Based on your feedback, we've taken forward a number of key activities. The first of these is a year-long review of UCL's academic promotion and reward systems for UCL staff in academic, teaching and research roles, led by Professor Anthony Smith, Vice Provost (Education & Student Affairs). Staff in these roles have been invited to participate in a survey about promotion and reward at UCL, which will be followed up with focus groups to deepen our understanding of the findings. We will launch a draft set of proposals for consultation in the New Year based on your feedback.

We are also reviewing our performance management models for all staff and will be shortly consulting more widely on the proposals. To clarify our existing arrangements, performance can already be rewarded by accelerated increments or contribution points, which can be applied for by managers to reward sustained outstanding performance of staff within grades 1-9. Managers can also reward excellent contributions to shorter term projects through one-off bonus payments.

I am also delighted to announce that I will be launching a new Provost's Excellence Award Scheme next year which is being set up to recognise the most exceptional contributions by UCL staff, no matter what their role might be. The scheme aims to reward academic, research and professional services staff alike and to celebrate the most outstanding personal contributions to UCL values.Further details about the scheme, including the nomination process will be released early next year, with an inaugural awards ceremony scheduled to take place in autumn 2015.

Staff benefits and relocation support

The Staff Engagement Survey indicated that your awareness of benefits had dropped. We want to raise your understanding of the benefits we offer at UCL and also gain a better understanding of your needs. To do this, I invite you to complete a short survey available here, which is being coordinated by Mark Rice, Reward Manager in the HR Division (m.rice@ucl.ac.uk).

New benefits that we have already introduced include a voluntary healthcare scheme, launched on 3 November 2014, which allows employees to take advantage of highly discounted medical insurance (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/staff/staff-news/1014/22102014-ucltolaunchvoluntaryhealthcareschemeforemployees).

Another benefit that we are keen to enhance is our relocation support. As a world-leading university, we need to recruit and retain the best staff, and we need to make the experience of joining us as smooth as possible. New contracts have been agreed with three suppliers in order to improve the relocation experience of academic and senior professional services staff moving to London or moving from UCL to one of our overseas locations. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/relocation_expenses.php

Change at a local level

I also know how important it is that local managers are empowered to tackle issues that matter and create working solutions that will last. I have asked the Vice-Provosts, Deans and Directors of Professional Services to develop action plans that respond to local issues and concerns, with progress on these plans being reported back to the Senior Management Team on a six-monthly basis.

It is my intention that these and other changes help to create a working environment that progresses relentlessly towards that described in UCL 2034.

Professor Michael Arthur

UCL President & Provost

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