2016 Survey Focus Areas

As we continue to build a strong foundation for our ideal workplace, there are still opportunities for growth to address. Six key areas of improvement emerged that were identified as critical to your satisfaction in work and life:

  • Awareness and consistency around supervisory feedback
  • Support for finances and debt
  • Health benefits and support for health issues
  • Consistency of policy application
  • Connection to the mission and direction of the university
  •  Recognition and promotional opportunities

 

Supervisor feedback

Intent

To provide ongoing education about sharing feedback and available tools and resources, as well as to develop guidance that can be applied broadly across all colleges and units.

Data highlights

  • 41% of employees responded that they agree or strongly agree that they can provide feedback about their supervisor's performance, up from 35% in 2011.
  • Further survey data shows that 44% of the population, given the opportunity, have either provided feedback occasionally or have not provided at all. The most common rationale of those not providing supervisor feedback are fear of retaliation, lack of anonymity, and impact on supervisor relationship.

Achieved

  • The Leadership Skills for Success were refreshed to better align with Cornell's expectations of its leaders.
  • Pulse surveys implemented throughout the year to provide multiple opportunities, outside of the employee performance dialogue process, to gather feedback from direct reports and peers to broaden anonymity.
  • Promote importance of Supervisory feedback:
    • Updated Supervisor Feedback tool, aligning it to refreshed Leadership Skills for Success/Skills for Success:  Supervisor and Stakeholder Feedback
      • Colleges/Divisions asked to gather feedback on how supervisors are doing once per year
  • Education about sharing feedback in various/1-1 meetings is shared in the following venues:
    • Email with tools sent to HR Directors in every college and unit.
    • Management Academy Performance Dialogue training.
    • Supervising@Cornell our new online Supervisor Training.
    • Supervisor Development Certificate Program (SDCP).
    • New Supervisor Orientation Certificate Program (SDOCP).
  • Develop guidance regarding what regular feedback might look like, what else are you doing to collect feedback, knowing the opportunity to give feedback exists:

 


Finances

Intent

To support employees as they navigate their financial options and demands today, and plan for the future.

Data highlights

  • 63 percent of employees responded that personal finances and/or debt cause some or a great deal of stress for them.
  • 46% of employees do not feel they are compensated fairly for the work they do.
  • Additionally, 45% of relocating staff noted challenges with housing cost and/or availability in the FY16 Acclimation Survey.

Achieved

  • Developed a financial resource sheet to help people navigate personal finances and debt: Navigated Personal Finances and Debt
  • Focus on education/presentations for financial health and retirement health including 52 group presentations in 2017, with over 2,000 attendees across campus, plus additional one-on-one counseling/education sessions with staff and retirement plan vendors.
  • In addition, HR has offered in-person financial education programs offered this year:
    • Parent to Parent: Strategies & tools for Maximizing College Admissions and Affordability -  9/20/18 and 9/27/18 – (46 registrations)
    • Peace of Mind Estate Planning – 9/13/18  (59 registrations)
    • Take Care of Those You Love – How to be an Executor and/or Trustee – 10/4/18 (83 registrations)
    • Medicare Basics – 89/27/18 (43 registrations) and being offered 2/12/19
    • The Changing Energy Picture: Where Do You Fit In – very focused on home energy cost savings – 5/8/18 and 5/15/18 (35 registrations)
    • Partnered with Benefits to offer CVM Retirement Savings Sessions – 4/4/18 and 3/21/18 (68 registrations)
    • Downsizing and Decluttering – had financial ed slant with info about records to keep – 5/10/18 and 6/11/18 (186 registrations)Created resource page Navigated Personal Finances and Debt  to provide easy access to programs and support available to Cornell employees.

Health

Intent

To ensure employees have the resources to care for themselves and their families, and in turn, bring their best self to work.

Data highlights

  • 47% of employees named “Concern about own health” as a source of some or a great deal of stress in the 2016 Employee Survey, up 1.7% from 2011.
  • 32% of employees named "Care of someone who is ill, disabled, or aging" as a source of some or a great deal of stress in the 2016 Employee Survey, up 3.5% from 2011.

Achieved

  • Designed and Implemented Cornell’s policy under New York Paid Family Leave Act (NYPFL)
    • Providing compensated NYPFL leave for staff who are facing:
      • The need to care for a family member with a serious health condition
      • The desire to provide bonding for a newborn or newly adopted child
    • Coordinated this leave with current Parental Leave, enhancing the benefit
    • After careful review, Cornell implemented this NYPFL at the fourth year implementation level (67% for 12 weeks of leave) paid on full salary
  • Have initiated the work and design of re-constituting a group of approximately 15 vendors, service providers and Cornell groups – to review Cornell and community needs relating to health.  With a proposal of starting in 2018, the group will be tasked with determining 3-5 high health needs areas per year, and focusing a concerted effort on education, prevention, treatment, and providing resources (both local and national) to assist Cornell staff and Ithaca area community with health-related issues.
  • HR Services and Transitions Center:  Starting in early 2018, began supporting faculty and staff through an enhanced benefits service model - including 8 benefits counselors who can delve deeper and provide more comprehensive service on health and other benefit needs – explaining where existing plans can assist, where additional resources are available through Cornell and connecting to other resources in the community. 
  • Attempting to meet the concern about the cost and expense of health care: Completed negotiation and renewal of Cornell/Aetna health plans for 2018 and 2019, with a focus on plan enhancement (where possible) and mitigating cost increases to both staff and Cornell.  For 1/1/2019, increased health care costs at an incredibly low 3.9% increase in contributions ($2-$16/month).  In addition, for dental coverage, contributions were reduced 12% for 2019.
  • Completed a redesign of Cornell/vendor/web information for both Open Enrollment and Option Transfer for 2018 and 2019, including new comprehensive guides that provide employees with decision worksheets and step-by-step instructions for completing their enrollments in Workday.
  • Completed review of health plans (and other benefit plans) in relation to coverage and support for LGBTQIA+ faculty and staff. Findings were presented to Employee Assembly in 2018.
  • Added a remote attendance option for nearly all Work/Life events and workshops.
  • Developed targeted resources and programming to address silent and/or prolific issues impacting our staff and faculty, i.e., domestic violence, chronic tiredness and sleep issues.
  • Added Care@Work, Care.com's platform for employers, to the benefits program for faculty, staff, retirees and graduate students.

Policy

Intent

To educate and expose staff and supervisors to the differences between policy and programs and emphasize the responsibility of supervisors to administer policies in a fair manner.

Recommendations

  • Communicate:  “Policy Briefs”, “Did you know?...”, and policy FAQs enhancing education about policies and programs.
  • Educate: Focus content on the differences between policy and programs, the intent (or spirit) of policies, and fair administration of policies.
  • Measure: Report out on findings; focus communications and education on key issues of interest.

Data highlights

The survey results indicate roughly 20% * dissatisfaction around the fairness of policy administration:

  • 18.7% employee responders (880) believe that policies are not administered fairly within their department or unit.
    • 22% reported neutral
  • 21.8% employee responders (1018) believe that policies are not administered fairly across units.
    • 38.9% reported neutral

Moreover, roughly 25% of 1,700 respondents (1 in 4) in band F, G, H, I believe that policies are not administered fairly across units.

Team

  • Kristine Mahoney - CHE (Team Lead)
  • Dawn McWilliams - Engineering
  • Eileen Grabosky - CIS
  • Laura Johnson-Kelly -NES
  • Lauran Jacoby - DHR
  • Megan Whitman - Engineering
  • Eric Lee - CVM
  • Craig Wiggers - A&S
  • Barb Friedman - CIT
  • Marissa Consalvi – CALS

Proposed

  • As Policies are updated the Cornell University Policy office works with the policy owner to design a "Did you know?" brief for distribution.
  • Each function identifies Policies and Programs where there may be some confusion among staff and supervisors about eligibility and administration.  Examples, wellness and paid time off.
  • Policy Owners work with the Cornell University Policy office to design and distribute information to help clarify the intent, eligibility and administration.
  • Policy Owner will partner with the University Policy Office to gather intelligence about Policy and Programs usage and consistency.
  • Cornell Policy Office allocates times during their regularly scheduled meetings for discussion
  • Determine follow up actions as necessary

Achieved

  • Improved priority HR policies to simplify and clarify content, and reduce administrative burden. Updated policies include:
    • guidelines for pay practices during Inclement Weather; and several areas under Time Away from Work i.e., standardized the method for compensating holiday pay, simplified the formula for stopping and starting accruals while on paid leave, incorporated NYS Paid Family Leave law and aligned other aspects of Family and Medical Leaves for Staff with the federal FMLA

University connection

Intent

Provide staff with the information they need to connect their work to the mission, and address the challenge of multiple sources of information. Ensure employees have straightforward and timely messages that both inform and inspire. Further promote transparency to fosters trust, responsibility, and open dialogue.

Staff feel connected to the mission when:

  • Leaders share Univeristy priorites and challenges
  • Staff know where to find information
  • Supervisors explain why work done by staff matters
  • Staff contribute to achieving Univeristy goals

Recommendations

  • Communicate: Monthly Pawprint message from a senior leader conveying strategy, initiatives, challenges through the lens of staff concerns/interests; also disseminate via public forums (i.e. CUFF, EA meetings).
  • Educate: Partner with HR to include in New Hire/New supervisor trainings; increase supervisor knowledge of University direction and how to align employees roles with that direction.
  • Measure: Catalog types of messages sent out and use data collected to assess if employees are more connected to the University mission. Revise as needed.

Data highlights

Three survey questions were rated significantly lower in the 2016 survey than the 2011 survey:

  • “University leadership has a clear vision for the future of the University”
  • “I have a clear understanding of the strategic goals and objectives of Cornell as a whole”
  • “I do not hear about University plans via rumors”

In 2011, employees agreed at a rate of 40% - 51%. In 2016, their agreement fell to 31% - 41%.

Team

  • Kelley Yeomans - IPP (Team Lead)
  • Kim Kopko - CHE
  • Betsy Collins - A&S
  • Tanya Grove - DHR
  • Sara Leanne Eddleman - A&S
  • William Searle - Budget & Planning
  • Alexis Brubaker - EHS
  • Daniel Richter - Engineering
  • Hei Hei Depew - CHE
  • Scott Butler - CVM
  • Beth Lyons - CIT
  • Sarah Brylinski - IPP

Achieved

  • University Communication and Human Resources are partnering on a project to consolidate the Pawprint staff newsletter and the Career Life Digest into a weekly “Your Cornell: Faculty and Staff” newsletter. The newsletter will be supplemented by a portal page to be updated in partnership with communicators from across the university. There will a monthly senior leadership message.
  • HR held the first HR Managers Forum December 7, 2018.

Recognition

Intent

Venn Diagram of Inclusion, Recognition, and Promotion

The feeling of belonging and enjoying your work is at the nexus of inclusion, recognition, and promotion.

Recommendations

  • Communicate: Internal unit-level sharing of nominations; public celebration of awardees and staff transitions; communication of best practices and ideas for inclusion and recognition.
  • Educate: Embed new practices and cultural changes in training for all new hires, supervisors, faculty; share successes and highlight transitions to new positions.
  • Measure: Report on use of reward/innovation funds and allocations by unit; quantify clickthrough rates, amend communication as appropriate.

Data highlights

  • 36% of employees are satisfied with their opportunities for promotion. 
  • 47% of employees responded that Cornell does a good job of recognizing the contributions of staff.
  • 68% of employees feel as through they belong at Cornell.

Team

  • Susi Varvayanis - CVM (Team Lead)
  • Verne Thalheimer - SCJ COB
  • Tammy Shapiro - A&S
  • Maria Wolff - DHR
  • Kim Potter - Vet
  • Wendy Franzese  - SCL - EA
  • Ilana Dimbleby - AAD
  • Anne Sieverding - ILR
  • Erik Gray - IPP
  • Alice Cho - CIS
  • Keeley Boerman - A&S

Achieved

  • Redesigned the university-wide Employee Excellence Awards to align with university values and priorities, and to better highlight the strengths and achievements of those they recognize.
    • Five new categories including the first-ever team award, emphasizing the collaborative nature of work at Cornell.
    • Ninety-three nominations were submitted for the four awards granted to individuals, and 14 nominations for teams totaling more than 100 people for the ONE Cornell team award.
  • Launched the new Cornell Appreciation Portal gives supervisors, faculty and staff an online venue to congratulate each other, recognize a milestone or achievement, or show their appreciation to one another.
    • Allows all faculty and staff with a NetID to recognize in writing an achievement or milestone the moment it happens.
    • An additional feature allows supervisors to periodically award nonacademic and bargaining unit staff with small tokens of appreciation in the form of points that are redeemable at Amazon and The Cornell Store.
    • An earlier version of the portal rolled out in March 2018 for the 2018 Service Awards program.