Updates from the projects underway to address feedback from the 2021 Staff Experience Survey
In 2021, 8,597 people (59% of staff) shared their experience of working at Oxford University through the Staff Experience Survey. The results informed action plans to improve staff experience at Institutional, Divisional and Departmental levels and continue to provide insight as new projects are developed. The themes identified for improving employee satisfaction were:
A sense of being valued
Workload (particularly acute among Associate Professors)
The University has committed to improving professional development and employment conditions for research staff through the Concordat Action Plan to support the Career Development of Researchers.
The Action Plan was co-created by fixed-term researchers, academic line managers and professional service colleagues from across the University. Designed to raise the profile of researcher development, it outlines the steps Oxford is taking to support researchers as part of the wider Research Culture project.
The Researcher Hub was created to support all researchers on fixed-term research or teaching contracts at Oxford. Our activities will also benefit academic managers, Principal Investigators and professional service colleagues in their work with fixed-term researchers.
Working in collaboration with researchers and wider colleagues, the Hub team has created the Researcher’s Trailmap. to help researchers find and access key opportunities across the University.
The staff wellbeing programme launched in October 2022. In collaboration with Divisions and Departments, this holistic programme of resources, services and events is supporting staff across the six domains of wellbeing: health, work, values and principles, social growth, personal growth, and financial wellbeing.
In June, our first pan-University wellbeing event: Thriving at Oxford 2023, will spotlight areas of wellbeing, celebrate work taking place across the University and act as a catalyst for new wellbeing initiatives and continued collaboration.
When she took on the role of Vice-Chancellor in January, Professor Irene Tracey commissioned a pay and conditions review as a step to improve life for the Oxford community. The review is now in development and due to report back in Michaelmas term this year. The Vice-Chancellor will then work with others to see what can be implemented in the short, medium and long term. More information on this, and the other work underway to try to improve the lives of everyone at Oxford will be shared at the Open Forum on People, Pay and Conditions on 22 May.
Additional payments to staff
Two additional payments were made to staff in 2022; a ‘thank you payment’ of up to £1,000 in their July 2022 salary and an ‘exceptional non-consolidated payment’ of 2% or £800 (whichever was higher) in their December 2022 salary.
Louise Richardson said, “I very much hope that you will see this exceptional payment, in addition to the adoption of the Oxford Living Wage, and the decisions during the pandemic to provide extra holidays and to top up furlough payments, as evidence of the value the University Council places in everyone who works here.”
Introduction of the Vice-Chancellor's Professional Services Awards
Introduced in 2022/23, the Vice-Chancellor’s Professional Services Awards recognise the extraordinary contribution that colleagues in administrative, professional and support roles make to the University, and to furthering Oxford’s academic mission.
The awards celebrate colleagues whose work exemplifies the principles of Professional Services Together - people, collaboration and quality. Professional Services Together is the University’s framework for spreading best practice across our professional services.
Following work by the Race Equality Task Force, in 2021 the University’s Race Equality Strategy was approved by Council. The strategy sets out objectives to accelerate racial equality and to promote an inclusive community. The first action delivered was the recruitment and appointment of the University’s first Chief Diversity Officer (CDO).
Professor Tim Soutphommasane joined the university in January 2023. In his role as CDO, he will be responsible for coordinating delivery of the strategy, as well as overseeing work on equality, diversity and inclusion across the university.
In 2021, Personnel Committee approved recommendations for improving the University’s response to bullying and harassment, strengthening reporting mechanisms and building a harassment free culture. The recommendations informed the Research concordat and Institutional Athena Swan Silver Award submission.
Two new roles within the EDU will implement the recommendations and continue to provide support and training to the University’s network of 437 Harassment Advisors. A central online reporting tool for staff and students will be launch planned in Autumn 2023.