Rollout of We Speak results begins

By Jason Winders
April 18, 2013

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More than 3,000 of us have spoken. Now, it’s time to find out what we said as the first wave of results from the We Speak faculty and staff survey, conducted last fall, are set for release.

Attendees of today’s Leaders’ Forum and Campus Council will receive a first look at the results. A mass email to all faculty and staff will follow later in the day, providing a link to an overview of the survey’s universitywide results. Those results will be available on the We Speak website,, to anyone with a Western user ID and password.

An overview of the survey will appear in the April 25 issue of Western News.

“We already know that Western has a great many engaged people who are committed to their work, their colleagues and the university. That is why we have been able to be so successful,” said Janice Deakin, provost and vice-president (academic). “The survey results will give us a clearer picture of what is working well, and where we have cause to celebrate. It will also give us insight into the areas where we will need to focus to do even better as we renew our strategic plan.”

Survey questions sampled subjects such as work engagement, workplace safety, communication and collaboration, involvement in decision-making, individual and team recognition, respect and opportunities for learning and career advancement. Three open-response questions allowed participants to share ideas of how to improve the workplace and provide feedback on Western’s Strategic Plan.

Metrics@Work, who conducted the survey, has a database of more than 80 Canadian organizations (mostly in the public sector) and 60,000 participants from which Western can compare. The results measure Western not only against other universities, but other companies and institutions as well.

While the first wave of results includes only universitywide numbers, those reflecting the faculty/division level will be rolled out over the next few weeks, as each dean and associate vice-president will meet with Metrics@Work officials, who will break down their results individually. Following those meetings, those leaders will then decide how to share local results.

For an organization this large, the numbers will be plentiful, deep and, occasionally, confusing. Gitta Kulczycki, vice-president (resources and operations), encouraged members of the Western community to see lessons in every aspect of the findings.

“Think about times when work is going well in your unit, and what contributes to that success. This is a great starting point to build on,” she said. “Treat feedback as a gift to learn from, and commit to improve from wherever you are. There is a tendency to categorize results into ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ That is not helpful.

“All of the results we receive are helpful because they are telling us where we have some better practices to build on, and where we have opportunities to make things better.”

Deakin suggested even more questions will come from the results.

“The big questions people should ask themselves are: What are the survey results revealing, and with that new understanding, how can I personally affect engagement levels in a positive way in my department, my faculty or my university?” Deakin said. “Each of us has a role to play. We are a university made up of a lot of very smart, talented people. 

“By working together to build on our strengths and address areas where change is needed, we can continue to grow as an internationally respected university – a great place to study and work."


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