Transforming Our Professional Services


Your thoughts on UCL Communities of Practice: 2019 survey results

30 October 2019

We recently shared a survey asking for your views and experiences of being part of a Community of Practice. We asked what you thought was working well, what could be improved and what difference they had made to you as an individual, to your practice area and to UCL overall.

Photo of Daniela, Wes, Rebecca and Jodie holding the award

Thank you to everybody who took part in the survey. Your feedback will help us understand the impact the communities are making to you, your practice areas and UCL overall. Your feedback will also shape the next steps in developing CoPs at UCL.

We wanted to share some of the highlights from the survey with you. But, if you would like further information on the survey results please contact Daniela Bultoc, Head of Communities of Practice.

Why join a Community of Practice?

We asked you to share your motivations for joining a community, and the majority of your responses focussed on: sharing best practice, having greater access to resources and expertise; collaborating with teams and departments working in similar roles across UCL; and connecting with people to build your own professional networks. 

  • “The sense of community and to broaden my network here at UCL. To initiate change and make my job easier!” 
  • “I am a sole comms practitioner in a UCL research centre and I want to be more connected to my professional peers across the organisation.” 
  • “Networking and finding out how other people from different environments are getting on, getting advice and solving problems together.”

Other reasons for joining were: a desire to develop professional skills and progress professionally, a desire to improve the delivery of your service/practice area, wanting to be involved in improving processes and getting a better understanding of what is going on across UCL.

  • “I believe in the practice area, and I believe that the practice area needs to be excellent at UCL if UCL is to deliver its academic mission.”

How has being part of a Community of Practice influenced your experience at UCL?

We heard some great feedback regarding your experience of being a member of a CoP:

  • “I am in two CoPs and the most valuable thing I've got out of them is the opportunity to meet and work with colleagues in both academic and professional service roles across UCL.”
  • “I have been able to build my professional HR network within UCL and gain a better understanding of the HR agenda. This has enabled me to plan and drive local activities in the same direction.”

Graph showing CoPs influence on day-to-day job (explained in copy)

We asked you to rate the difference that being part of a CoP has made to a range of aspects of your experience at UCL. Your feedback was overwhelmingly positive with 71% saying they had had a positive influence, 26% saying they had no influence, and only 3% saying they had a negative incluence. Taking into consideration your reported motivations for joining a CoP,  your feedback indicates that the benefits of being involved match your expectations. 

As an example, we heard that:

  • 81% of you felt the CoP helped you to generate new ideas, be more creative and solve problems.
  • 74% of you felt being a member of a CoP helped you to share resources, information and experiences across UCL.
  • 71% of you felt that CoPs helped to improve communication between different areas (e.g. central divisions and local departments).

How do Communities of Practice support UCL?

We asked you to reflect on your satisfaction with the delivery, communication and efficiency of your service area both before and after getting involved with a CoP. You rated your service satisfaction before joining as 41% which increased to 64% after being involved, a higher score than 55% in the last evaluation. 

Graph showing service delivery satisfaction levels (explained in copy)
  • “Getting staff from different areas to share their experience has been the most successful part of the project so far.”
  • “There is a shared sense that the projects have real value.”
  • “Bringing different people together to work towards a common goal”

We also asked what you considered to be some of the most important organisational benefits from having CoPs at UCL: 76% said maximising knowledge sharing, 69% said improving communication and 61% said helping innovation and ideas creation.

Furthermore, 80% of participants reported that their line manager was supportive of them being part of a CoP.

More from Communities of Practice

Since our last evaluation in August 2018, we’ve established another 10 Communities of Practice (CoPs) in six more service areas. 

There are now 17 CoPs at UCL, with three more in development across nine service areas. Over 1,500 UCL staff are involved in a CoP, and since the project started in 2017, CoPs have held over 120 events and recently won a national award for the best organisational development and culture change initiative at the 2019 UHR (Universities Human Resources) Awards for Excellence in HR.

Our vision for CoPs is that all staff will be given the opportunity to join a community that is relevant to their role and career development.