Employee Morale Survey #2 Follow-Up

June 12, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for sharing your opinions in our second coronavirus Employee Morale Survey. Even more of you participated compared to our first survey, and we wanted to share the results of how you’re feeling. We want to acknowledge that it is, at a minimum, awkward to be communicating about a morale survey in light of the murder of George Floyd. The survey was conducted from May 29 to June 5, with about half of the responses coming in the first couple of days. It is not clear how much of the reaction to the killing is reflected in our data, but we believe it is important to share it with you.

The data does tell us that you continue to show resiliency and flexibility not just to each other, but with yourselves as we enter our fourth month of shelter-in-place.  And while restrictions have begun easing in some respects and we consider the best ways to increase in-person operations, please know that we have your concerns about COVID-19 transmission risk in mind guiding our planning. 

Your patience and understanding continue to strengthen our community as we move forward together through this time, and we know how tough it can be for those with dependents at home to look after. I (Eugene) have three children under the age of 6 and can empathize with all of you who are wondering what you are going to do and questioning if you can keep this up. We know that this is a massive challenge affecting up to half of our employees and we are actively working on solutions. 

We also want to give special thanks to those of you who continue to work in-person, keeping our on-site operations moving under the weight of the pandemic.

Summary of Survey Results

  • 62% identified your mood as “OK,” or “pretty good,” an increase of 6% from our first survey. 22% said you felt “bad” (4%), or, “not so great,” a decrease of 7%. 

  • For those of us who are able to work from home, slightly more (85%) said they had the equipment needed than in the first survey. This is positive, but still concerning that 15% of you still don’t have what you need to get your work done. Ergonomic chairs and desks (as recommended by an ergonomic assessment) top the list of needs.

  • 87% believe that your immediate supervisor cares about your well-being, while the number for UC Berkeley caring about your well-being rises slightly from the first survey to 82%.

  • If shelter-in-place orders are modified and we begin to bring limited numbers of employees to work on-site, 69% would prefer to continue working from home.

  • When shelter-in-place orders are completely lifted, 79% want to work from home 2 or more days per week as part of a regular ongoing schedule.

full report of the survey results is available on our People & Culture website.

Based on your feedback we have created:

  • A working group to examine solutions to the challenges posed by the lack of dependent care now and anticipated irregular school schedules in the Fall.

  • A beefed-up People & Culture COVID-19 resource page.

And we will continue to:

  • Limit meetings on Friday afternoons and limit the length of meetings.

  • Use virtual ergonomic assessments to make sure remote workers have access to necessary equipment, including chairs and desks, paid for by the University.

  • Provide direct training to managers to help them better support their employees and themselves, continuing with the next Managers’ Forum on June 29 at 9 a.m. Here are the resources from the prior training.

  • Provide career development to all staff through the Next Opportunity at Work (NOW) Conference, scheduled for July 30. More information and how to sign up can be found on the NOW Conference Website.

Thank you again for participating. We’ll follow-up with our next survey in July. As always, our goal is to make sure we are serving you in the best ways possible now and going forward. Your feedback helps us do our jobs better.

Thank you,

Eugene & Ben

Eugene Whitlock, Chief People & Culture Officer

Benjamin E. Hermalin, Vice Provost for the Faculty

People & Culture