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Staff survey: lockdown

Welcome to the homepage of the Staff Survey 2020.

Launched on Thursday 18 June, this was a shorter survey than intended as it focused on the coronavirus 'lockdown' situation and asked about your experience of this and its impact on you as an employee of the University of Reading. The survey closed on Monday 6 July. View the University's overall results and a more detailed breakdown. A list of frequently asked questions can be found below.

Why are we using an external provider to run a survey when we need to cut costs?

This survey forms part of an existing agreement with Capita to run three surveys over 3 years. This allows us to set a benchmark and then measure progress over time. Given the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on our operations, and the ongoing financial challenges it presents, the University Executive Board decided to use this final survey to gain insights from colleagues about how we can support them better as we plan our phased return to campus. The survey will also provide very useful information about flexible ways of working to inform the wider strategic review of the University's operations as part of our Post-COVID-19 Response Programme.

Who can take part in the survey?

The survey is open to all staff of the University, except for:

  • Staff seconded in from other organisations
  • Casual staff
  • KTP Associates
  • Sessional and others paid via a Fees form
  • SUMS Staff
  • Campus Jobs workers

The survey is open to:

  • Staff on international campuses (except NUIST)
  • Sessional staff paid via the payroll
  • Staff on maternity and other forms of long term leave
  • Staff who have been furloughed under the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

If you joined the University on or after 18th May you will not be sent a login for the survey as the questions are focused on the University response to the lockdown starting in March.

Is participation in the survey compulsory?

While the survey is voluntary, we would like as many people as possible to complete it so that we can be sure the results are representative. The more people that tell us what they think, the easier it is for us to identify what we need to do in response.

How open can I be with my feedback?

As open as you want to be. We are interested in hearing from you and would like your feedback, good or bad. Your contribution will remain completely confidential, as the survey is being managed by an independent specialist provider. They will only provide aggregated results to ensure that no one can be identified in the results. No one at the University will have access to the data until it has been anonymised and aggregated by Capita, so that individuals cannot be identified, and they won't see any completed questionnaires.

Who is the independent specialist provider?

Capita Surveys & Research is a leading survey provider that has worked with 60 other universities to undertake an employee survey. Capita also conducted our previous surveys in 2017 and 2018. Capita understands your need for confidentiality and the survey will be conducted in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Market Research Society's Code of Conduct. The results of the survey will be provided to the University in an aggregated format to ensure that no one can be identified in the results. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Capita's Freephone number 0800 587 3115 (+44 0800 587 3115, if you are outside the UK). All calls are in the strictest of confidence. No calls are recorded.

What will the survey ask?

The questionnaire has been designed to gather your views on communication and support from the University during the 'lockdown' period. It provides an opportunity for you to voice your opinion and influence changes that are relevant to you.

When will the survey be available?

On Thursday 18th June, you will receive an email from Capita Surveys & Research ( inviting you to participate in the survey. This email will contain a link to the survey site. It is okay to click this link as our IT team have tested it and it does not pose a threat to our systems.

When you first click the link, you will be asked to complete a logon. This is your own personal logon and allows you to start the survey and then go back to it at any time without having to start again from the beginning.

If you have not completed the survey, you will receive automatic reminders from Capita.

The survey closes on Monday 6th July.

Do I have to complete the survey during work time?

Managers have been asked to ensure that you have time to complete the survey during your normal working hours, but you can complete it outside these if you prefer. If you receive an email invitation with a link to the online survey, you can forward this to a different email address and access the link from that email account.

Why do you need to know where I work?

At the end of the questionnaire, you are asked which organisational unit you are based in. This information is used to better understand the views and needs of different schools/functions not to identify individual responses. The University will not be given specific results for teams with fewer than ten respondents to maintain confidentiality and anonymity of respondents.

What if I have more than one job at the University?

If you have more than one job with the University you may have a question about which job to focus on when answering the questions. You should complete the questionnaire based on the role that you spend the most time in based on your contractual hours. If your time is split equally between two jobs, then for the team/ line manager questions choose the area you would most like to feedback on. If you would like to feedback on both areas, please contact Capita (the contact details are on the survey) to discuss.

What if I am seconded to another job?

If you are seconded to another role within the University, to any campus: Answer the survey questions based on whichever role and team you feel is most appropriate. For example, if you are only in week one of the secondment, answer based on your previous role. If you are seconded into the University from another organisation - we are sorry but you will be unable to participate in the survey.

Why does the survey ask me for personal details such as gender, age, ethnic background, and disability?

We are committed to providing a working environment in which all staff are treated equally and with dignity and respect. We ask you to provide this information to help us understand if there are any differences in staff experiences that are related to factors such as gender or ethnic group. We will not be able to access individuals' responses and the personal details you provide will in no way lead to you being identified. You do not have to provide this information, but we encourage you to do so as the data will help to identify any general issues, which need to be addressed or investigated further for a group of staff. If you have any another question about the survey, please contact Capita on their Freephone number 0800 587 3115 (+44 0800 587 3115, if you are outside the UK). All calls are in the strictest of confidence. No calls are recorded.

When will we find out about the results?

The survey results will be collated by Capita for the University following the closing date of Monday 6th July. We will aim to publish the University level results in late July/ early August 2020.

How will the information from the survey be used?

This will help us to understand colleagues' experiences, and what they found most difficult and most encouraging or positive during this time. It will also provide critical insights to guide our phased return to campus and how we can continue to support staff through the next academic year. The findings will also help inform the work being led by Mark Fellowes as part of our Post-COVID-19 Response Programme.