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Second QWEI survey leads to new development opportunities

The final phase of the Quality of Work Environment Initiative (QWEI), a long-term initiative with the goal of understanding and improving the work environment for non-academic staff on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, is now complete.

QWEI is a partnership between Human Resources and two Purdue faculty members, and its four phases have been focus groups, which guided the development of the themes for the survey; a staff survey, which indicated that West Lafayette employees were moderately satisfied with the work environment; pilot training for managers; and a second campus-wide staff survey, identical to the first, with the additional goal of determining the effectiveness of the pilot training.

In total 2,304 staff members completed the spring 2015 QWEI survey, with 1,353 staff members completing both the spring 2014 and spring 2015 surveys.

General findings from spring 2014 to spring 2015 include:

  • Across all survey respondents, employee engagement has increased from spring 2014 (3.7) to spring 2015 (3.8).
  • Perceptions of leadership ability of immediate supervisors has remained the same from spring 2014 (3.5) to spring 2015 (3.5).
  • Employees’ perceptions of their development opportunities at Purdue has remained basically the same from spring 2014 (3.3) to spring 2015 (3.3).

Similar to the first survey, we found that employee engagement at Purdue is largely influenced by four factors identified during the Phase I focus groups. Of those four factors, work control is the major driving force (68 percent), followed by leadership (14 percent), interpersonal context (10 percent), and development opportunities (7 percent).

In response to employees’ desire for increased development opportunities, the Leadership and Organizational Development team (part of Organizational Effectiveness in Human Resources) has created a career development tool for supervisors and staff. (Read more about DevelopMe.)

In addition, as survey results indicated the need for more robust and consistent supervisory training, Human Resources partnered with a Council for Manager Development project team to develop the “Supervisor Springboard” pilot. Spots in the pilot will be offered to exempt supervisors with three years or less of experience. The training will run from March through May and is designed to provide supervisors with the tools and skills needed to be successful in their roles at Purdue. It is our hope that we can develop this pilot into a campus-wide training program for new supervisors.

Additional survey results will be shared in the future.
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