Published: 08-11-2017 14:05 | Updated: 17-11-2017 10:21

Organisation in focus in this year’s employee survey

Vague organisation, poor knowledge of goals and strategies and disbalance between work and leisure time are some of the results from this year’s employee survey. In spite of this, many employees would recommend Karolinska Institutet (KI) as an employer and the majority are happy with their workplace.

Many of KI’s employees feel that the organisation is indistinct; only 55 per cent of the almost 4,300 who answered the questionnaire in 2017 say that it is clear who is responsible for what. And only 63 per cent say that they are familiar with and understand KI’s overarching goals and strategies.

“These are a few of the most alarming areas that were identified through this year’s survey. The organization has to be clearer and goals and strategies need to be better established,” says HR manager Mats Engelbrektson.

The labour organisation Saco-S, with about 2,500 members at KI, has just received the results and will now study them in more detail. Saco-S chair Torkel Falkenberg emphasises the importance of a clear organisation.

“Lack of clarity at management level creates a lack of clarity that permeates the entire organisation,” he says.

Torkel Falkenberg can nonetheless see positive trends for the future.

“Today we have a vice-chancellor who talks about sustainability goals and says that what we work with from day to day at KI also should benefit the whole world. That goal is not just about excellence, and it creates the feeling of being part of a global movement for a better world. And he also recalls that the sustainability goals include a sustainable working life. An organisation that is durable and takes advantage of employee skills - also over time,” Torkel Falkenberg says.

Vice-Chancellor Ole Petter Ottersen says that the employee survey constitutes a good foundation for strategic work.

“The results illustrate the importance of beginning work on a new strategy and overhauling our organisation. A clear strategy and fit-for-purpose organisation are necessary to create the best possible conditions for research and education at Karolinska Institutet,” he says.

Less chance to recuperate

Another area showing worse results this year is the workload. Workload, balance and recuperation show a negative trend.

Research assistants, researchers, senior lecturers and lecturers feel they have the worst balance. 38 per cent of all those who responded say that their sleep has been disturbed once or more a month due to thinking about their work.

“We see a trend towards a deterioration of the balance between work and leisure and the chance to recuperate. It is important that we support our managers in their responsibility to prioritise tasks together with their staff and take action early when we see signs of too high workloads and too little opportunity to recuperate," says Mats Engelbrektson.

Now the HR-department is going to study the results in more detail before deciding what more needs to be done.

The employee satisfaction index stabile

The employee satisfaction index is relatively unchanged (71 on a scale from 1 to 100) compared to the previous survey, which was conducted in 2014 (72). The index is a measure of commitment distributed over work climate, organisation, leadership and goals and strategies.

There are also positive outcomes in this year’s survey. One is the high eNPS figures, that is to say how many employees would recommend their workplace to a friend or acquaintance, which are higher this year.

“I am happy to see that what KI has gone through over the past three years has not affected us as negatively as one might think. We do not know why, but I choose to interpret it as a sign of optimism and faith in the future at KI. How strongly people recommend us, however, varies widely between departments,” Mats Engelbrektson goes on.

Zero-tolerance policy on discrimination

200 people (5 per cent) said that they have been subjected to discrimination, which is below the result (7) of other universities according to Quicksearch, the company that conducted the survey. This is an increase from 2014, but the comparison is not entirely accurate because the questions in the latest surveys are not identical.

“The mere fact that it occurs at all is an indication that something is amiss. Saco-S thinks KI should work proactively with the issue,” says Torkel Falkenberg.

“Any value above zero is unacceptable because KI has a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination. We will always continue to work to prevent and handle discrimination, victimisation, bullying and harassment. It is, however, very gratifying to see equal treatment in third place on the list of positive outcomes,” says Mats Engelbrektson.

The survey covers KI employees with a position that represents minimum 40 per cent of a full-time position and who have employed for at least six months, a restriction that has come in for some criticism.

“We chose to draw the line there to secure the response frequency but for the next survey we’re considering a sub-group for people with a lower full-time equivalency,” Mats Engelbrektson says.

Text: Karin Montgomery

About the employee survey

  • The survey, which is anonymous, was conducted during September and October this year.
  • The survey covered people with a position that represents minimum 40 per cent of a full-time position and who have employed for at least six months.
  • A total of 5,392 questionnaires were sent out and 4,297 people completed the survey, a response rate of 80 per cent (75 per cent in 2014).
  • The results will be posted at the departments from 31 October until 24 November.
  • Action plans are to have been drawn up by January 31 next year.