Taking Action

The true test of our commitment to employee engagement and satisfaction is the work we have been doing since the survey was completed and results were shared.

With this website, and a host of other initiatives, we are exploring opportunities to grow and improve — and together, to create the community we want to be.

Here are some examples of progress to date.

University-wide activities

In May 2019, the University launched a new Community and Values Initiative, to help facilitate a stronger and wider sense of community on campus — or “Community with a capital C” as Chancellor Emeritus Rebecca Chopp called it. While the initiative grows out of the OneDU initiative of DU IMPACT 2025, it also is a proactive response to the survey findings, which showed the need to improve overall communication, collaboration, and relationships among faculty, staff and administration.

In addition, Human Resources and Inclusive Community (HRIC) has responded to the survey with a host of new initiatives and programs. For example, in response to concerns about transparency in the performance-review process, they have expanded onboarding and training for new managers. They also are rolling out a new performance-management system that will streamline the review process and increase transparency with analytics that will help managers and others make data-driven decisions.

In response to concerns around compensation, DU has initiated a pay equity study to determine whether there are systemic inequities impacting our non-union benefited faculty and staff salaries, based on gender or other underrepresented minority status. The study, along with a compensation road map to explain DU’s compensation strategy, is being done in coordination with Faculty Senate and the Staff Advisory Council (SAC).

Also, to learn more about faculty sentiment specifically, the Provost’s Office and Faculty Senate recently collaborated to conduct DU’s first COACHE Survey — through the Harvard-based Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education. These results focus on the work lives of faculty and provide actionable data to support academic administrators.

HRIC also has introduced a new Equity in Action Project to support new families. The project includes a new mothers/parents group, lactation refrigerators that an employee can borrow for her office, a map of private spaces on campus for nursing, and a new paid benefit from Milk Stork, which ships breast milk anywhere in the world for faculty and staff who are traveling for business.

Finally, in another important step to be more responsive to employees, Shared Services now offers a “pop up” service center every Friday in the Anderson Academic Commons. To improve customer service and increase face time with employees, staff members offer assistance (in English and Spanish) on timecards, expense reports, benefits, P-Cards and other day-to-day needs of DU employees. The Shared Services website navigation has been re-organized by customer type — including employees, business officers, job seekers and vendors — and a more specific search function makes it easier for people to find what they need.

“The Health and Counseling Center leadership team has been so grateful for all the information we have garnered through the University’s engagement survey. With this specific feedback we were able to develop a targeted, comprehensive plan to engage our staff in solution-oriented steps. This has led to a greater sense of staff buy in and satisfaction in our work.”

—Michael LaFarr, Director of HCC

Divisional activities

After HRIC shared division-based results with 33 divisions and departments across campus, many teams created action plans and timelines for improving engagement and morale. Here are some highlights of their progress:

Enrollment Division: The senior team brainstormed ways to leverage their strengths and set goals for improvement. They shared the results and initial ideas with the entire division, and together they created an engagement action plan to focus on three areas: communication, building trust, and recognizing excellence. The division meets periodically with HRIC to help stay on track.

Conference and Event Services: The division has prioritized wellness and self care for everyone on the team. With 60 percent of staff having obtained a DU degree while working full-time for CES, the team makes effective use of flex time to balance working long, odd hours for events, with professional development. As a result, relationships and trust are at the core of their culture, and staff have a strong sense of self and team accountability. 

Graduate School of Social Work: A series of programs are now in place to improve communications, expand leadership capacity at multiple levels, and improve culture and climate overall. In particular, all GSSW faculty, staff and doctoral students are participating in trainings to increase awareness, knowledge and skills on issues related to power, privilege and oppression, and diversity and inclusion.

Morgridge College of Education: To help improve work-life balance, faculty and staff now refrain from sending emails after 6 pm or on weekends or holidays, or during vacation periods. (People who choose to work after hours can still schedule their emails.) Also, to facilitate better communication, a new monthly newsletter is posted in bathroom stalls.

University Advancement: The division has formed “sprint teams” of staff volunteers to dig deeper, assess, and make recommendations that address some of the challenges identified in their survey results. For example: how to build a more connected operation across multiple offices and cities, how to foster a culture of empowerment, and how to increase efficiency of key systems and approval processes.