Yale Employee Survey Shows Decline in Loyalty

by: Nichole Gunn May 12, 2011

Employee loyalty is a concern to most businesses and organizations, including Yale University. As one of the most esteemed institutions of higher education in the United States, Yale is feeling the affects of low staff engagement according to a bi-annual survey conducted by the university.

The results of the 2010 survey was reported in the Yale Daily News and demonstrated that loyalty among staffers has decreased.

The survey, conducted in November 2010, consisted of non-faculty University staff, and 80 percent of those surveyed responded. According to the paper, this was the highest rate of response since the first 2005 survey.

While there was an increase in morale overall and two-thirds (66 percent) of the participants feel optimistic in their jobs, loyalty to careers with Yale dropped a bit. There is a trust factor decrease based on the direction and decisions senior administrators of the University are taking. The administrators anticipated this employee satisfaction dip, due to a number of cuts made since the 2008 survey.

University President Richard Levin told the paper, “At one level, it’s not surprising. We’ve been through very difficult times economically and had to make very difficult reductions in staffing. Many people have had to experience a difficult work environment [as a result].”

The Ivy League institution will use the survey results constructively to restructure its human resources policies. Levin noted that the findings will be a topic of conversation among department heads and administrators for weeks to come. And, change is expected as the 2008 survey brought about several tangible changes, one of which was the implementation of a short-term disability plan for employees.

Reflecting on the 2008 survey, results showed that 86 percent of staffers were confident in the University’s long-term goals. And, 59 percent of the respondents had trust in senior administrators’ decision making ability. Moving forward to the 2010 survey, only 76 percent showed confidence in the University’s long-term goals, and 50 percent noted trust in the senior administrators’ decisions.

On the whole, the 2010 survey found the workers positive: 62 percent of the answers were positive, 20 percent were neutral, and 18 percent were negative. In addition, several response categories found the respondents with increased employee satisfaction compared to the 2008 survey. These categories included teamwork, diversity, and productivity.

In an interview with the Yale Daily Bulletin, director of human resources Michael Peel noted, “Too many staff members have to take full responsibility for their own development, often with little help from their manager." Peel is also sponsor of the survey.

It is the hopes and intention of the University to initiate employee engagement programs and services to boost morale. Peel explains, "We clearly need to strengthen our staff development processes, and that will be a key goal for the coming year."

Peel also told the Bulletin that he intends to initiate additional “individual development plans” for the staff. This is to provide additional avenues for manager feedback.