2021 Employee Satisfaction Survey reveals subpar work environment
College Hall (left) and Cook Hall (right), found at New College's bay front.

2021 Employee Satisfaction Survey reveals subpar work environment

The 2021 Employee Satisfaction Survey Report recently came out with a shocking Net Promoter score of -35.7, but what does this score really mean? 

“Originally developed as a measure of customer satisfaction, the employee NPS is a measurement of an employee’s willingness to recommend their place of employment to a friend or relative.” As indicated in the survey report.

The NPS is represented by an absolute number lying between -100 and +100, and is based on how employees rank their place of work on a 10 point scale. The score of -35.7 indicates that the majority of employees would not recommend New College of Florida as a place of employment. Although this score can not indicate what is causing employee dissatisfaction, it certainly can alert the presence of an issue – something the entirety of the New College Community should be aware of. 

 The report, which was primarily authored by the Interim Dean of Diversity Dr. Queen Zabriskie, outlines exactly what employees believe New College is doing well on, what needs to be improved and suggestions on how to improve such issues.

The first piece of specific data provided is a chart of how many new hires and terminations there were by fiscal/academic year through 2018-2020, with the additional context of whether said new hires and terminations were voluntary or involuntary and whether the people being hired or terminated were female or under a minority status. The data provided shows that through the past three years, there has been a massive turnover rate in terms of both the number of people leaving the college and the number joining. However, the number of terminations and new hires has slightly decreased from 2018 to 2020, which could reflect an improvement in the satisfaction of employees. 

The quantitative section of the survey, which was the primary statistic used to calculate the NPS, stated that “participants evaluated 13 statements about workplace satisfaction on a five-point Likert scale with the choices of strongly disagree (1), disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4) or strongly agree (5).” 

The statements with the highest average rankings were “My work is important and aligned with the College’s strategic goals (4.15),” and “I am treated fairly by my supervisor (4.18).” On the opposite end of the spectrum, many employees disagreed with the statements “I am compensated fairly for the work I do (2.69),” and  “NCF provides career growth opportunities (2.66).” While employees did indicate an overall general satisfaction with the benefits they received, there is an overlying discontent over pay and promotion opportunities. An obvious solution to this would be to increase pay for New College employees, which is directly mentioned in the review. 

However, the most telling section of the review is the open-ended response section—where participants could give direct feedback on different topics relating to the previous questions. Some of the main themes that are mentioned within the responses are a lack of communication between supervisors and employees, a lack of respect amongst peers and discrimination based on identity. 

In an interview, Zabriskie was able to address some concerns highlighted in these sections and give insight on what the administration is doing to help make NCF a better work environment. One of the main complaints brought up was a lack of clear communication between supervisors and staff, including no way for the majority of employees to give any sort of feedback to their supervisors—while employees themselves are supposed to receive evaluations from higher-ups regularly.

“There was no system of accountability, no way in which people could develop their skills and take responsibility for how their actions are impacting those in a lower position in the organization’s hierarchy,” Zabriskie said.

The administration has tasked Associate Vice President for Administration Kristie Harris to create a system in which employees can anonymously submit feedback on supervisors and their work environment regularly, with the hope that having more open communication will allow for a fluid workplace. 

Additionally, having a system like this in place would allow for employees to provide regular feedback on bullying, discrimination and other general struggles present in the working environment. Having a feedback system like this which is anonymous also allows employees to not fear repercussions at the cost of their job stability—which is another issue complained about in the responses. 

Furthermore, a subcommittee has also been established to tackle promoting and maintaining anti-bullying/harassment and discrimination policies for both employees and students. This includes effectively communicating these policies to the community and providing resources where they can reach out for help if they experience any form of harassment. 

“One of the things that we’ve been talking about is developing and addressing the communication issues which are at our institution, which goes well beyond the current administration,” Zabriskie noted. “So one of the things that has happened this year with President Okker is, we have an expanded presidents’ consul meeting at least once a month when leaders from the faculty staff and students are able to be in direct conversation with the presidents’ consul.” 

Providing the review of the survey for all students, faculty and staff to view has also been an important step in this process to open up communication.

The second employee satisfaction survey for 2022 has already been sent out to employees, and administration hopes to continue such a practice in order to maintain awareness on how the work environment is. Hopefully in the 2022 survey, the campus will see improvements in employee satisfaction and have a better idea of how to continue working.

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