Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Quality of Work Life Survey Results

September 28th, 2015

Thanks to strong employee participation in the Quality of Work Life (QWL) Survey conducted this past spring, StFX senior administration now has key insights and opportunities to help inform actions that can facilitate positive change and improvement, says Andrew Beckett VP Finance and Administration.

In March 2015, 515 StFX employees completed the survey, answering questions about stress, coping skills, engagement and health, responses that helped form StFX’s Total Health Index (THI). This represents a participation rate of 72 per cent, excellent for an initial engagement survey.
“The survey results provide a picture of our strengths and challenges from an employee perspective, important information to know as we move forward,” Mr. Beckett says. “The report indicates areas where our workplace scored well and it identifies areas where we have opportunities to improve.” 
The survey, he says, provides both employees and the university administration with feedback and recommendations on what both can do to improve the quality of work life with a focus on employees’ stress and coping skills, health, engagement and productivity.
From an over-all Total Health Index perspective the survey results showed that 59 per cent of employees fell in to the “moderate concern’ or better categories. This is eight per cent better than the national benchmark, which consisted of 15,000 responses.
Other key findings indicated that: 
•           90% employees are proud of their association with StFX.
•           88% of employees say that they are resilient and adapt to change well.
•           45% have observed bullying behavior in the workplace.
•           29% have a concern with how harassment is being dealt with.
•           63% of employees are experiencing difficulties maintaining healthy dietary habits.
•           78% of employees are concerned about retirement and their ability to save respectively.
The report recommended that StFX focus on two key areas for improvement: culture and employee health. 
With respect to culture, some suggested actions include evaluating the current respectful workplace strategy, focusing on workplace policies and procedures for dealing with workplace harassment, providing workplace harassment training and education, reviewing talent management strategy, evaluating career performance and career progression policy and procedures, and providing structured mentoring.
In terms of employee health, the report recommends exploring the current health and wellness strategy, and focusing on the quality and effectiveness of the healthy workplace policies as well as physical health and financial literacy support for employees.
The report also recommends actions that individual employees can take to improve their health including: sleep, nutrition, fitness, financial health, and coping skills. StFX’s Employee and Family Assistance Program provides support on these topics.
“We’re pleased with results in many areas of the report, but clearly there is more work to do in some areas,” Mr. Beckett said. “For example, one result indicated 42 per cent of employees have a high level of trust in StFX leadership. This shows that we have to explore the way we communicate and continue to move to build trust among colleagues.”
Mr. Beckett said the next step in the process is to form an employee committee to review the results in greater detail and develop an action plan. 
“I believe some items can be addressed quite quickly through better communication. Other items will take more thought and input from the university community to resolve. I look forward to providing the campus with more details as we prioritize the findings and determine how to proceed.”
The full report is available at


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