April 14, 2011

P&S staff survey: The results are in

by Erin Rosacker

More P&S news

Council members reviewed the survey results at their April 7 meeting, prior to voting on a salary recommendation.

More than 1,100 professional and scientific staff participated in the latest P&S Council survey, which included questions about performance appraisals, salary policy and recreation fees. The survey results are available on the council's website.

In a presentation of selected results (PDF) at the April 7 council meeting, survey organizers compared data to results collected in past years. Virgil Schmitt, chair of the council's compensation and benefits committee, said his group drew the following conclusions:

  • Implementation of the performance management policy has increased participation in performance appraisals
  • Satisfaction with salary levels is declining
  • Support is growing in favor of salary increases over position retention (24.2 percent), although many still don't favor sacrificing positions to achieve salary increases (41.8 percent)
  • A 2 to 3 percent salary increase is appropriate, despite lack of additional funding

This year, the council's recruitment and retention committee added retention-based questions to the survey. Respondents ranked benefits, rewarding/challenging work and financial compensation as the top three reasons they stay at ISU.

When asked about supervisors, more than half of the participants agreed or strongly agreed their immediate supervisors communicate expectations and provide positive/constructive feedback on their work. However, more than 16 percent of those surveyed viewed their supervisors as unskilled or incompetent. Committee chair David Meisinger said his group found that percentage unacceptably high.

Recreation fees

Survey organizers also added questions to gauge P&S staff views on new recreation facility fees. Of the 1,124 staff who answered the question, about 68 percent said they do not use campus recreation facilities.

Only 6.4 percent of those who responded as current users (358) said they would pay the full $403 annual charge to use the facilities. When given alternatives, 36.8 percent said they would pay $100 annually, 32.7 percent would pay $200 and 3.4 percent would pay $300. More than 27 percent said they would only continue using the facilities if there was no charge.

Basic demographics

The bulk of survey respondents were age 50 to 59 (30 percent), age 40-49 (25.6 percent) or age 30-39 (23.3 percent). Nearly 60 percent were female, and more than 95 percent work full time. The best response rate came from employees who have worked at ISU from two to four years (23.2 percent), 15 to 24 years (19.6 percent) and five to nine years (19.3 percent).

A combined 920 comments were submitted to the survey's two open-ended questions. Kevin Kane, a former council leader who helped administer the survey, said those comments, concerns and questions will be forwarded to the executive vice president and provost once any specific identifiers are deleted.