UNC System Employee Engagement Survey

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions About Taking the Survey

  • When can I take the survey & how long will it take?
    The survey will launch on February 4, 2020. There will be a two-week window for employees to respond. Survey deadline is February 25, 2020. The survey takes on average about 20-25 minutes to complete.
  • How do I access the survey?
    Once the survey is launched, you will receive an email from ModernThink (surveys@modernthink.net) with the subject line "2020 UNC System Employee Engagement Survey" in your UNCW Outlook inbox. Click the link in the email to take the survey.  
  • Where can I take the survey?
    You can take the survey either on work time or off work time using a laptop or mobile device. ( Note: If you decide to complete the survey outside your regular work schedule, then you will not be paid for that time). 
  • What's on the survey?
    The survey has about 90 questions across four components: belief statements, benefits statements, demographics questions, and open-ended questions. Topics include:

    • Work Environment Questions: These relate to key dimensions of employee engagement, including job satisfaction, institutional pride, communication, and fairness. Examples: “My job makes good use of my skills and abilities,” “People in my department work well together,” and “I understand how my job contributes to this institution's mission.”
    • Benefits Questions: These relate to satisfaction with a variety of benefits programs provided by the State/University.
    • Open-Ended Questions: There are two open-ended questions for write-in responses.
    • Demographics Questions: These are for reporting purposes, such as race, gender, years of service, salary range, etc.
  • Will the survey be electronic or on paper?
    The survey will be administered online and available in English and Spanish.
  • Can the survey be done on a mobile device?
    Yes. The survey is mobile-friendly and can be completed on a PC/laptop, tablet, or smart phone.
  • What do I do if I accidentally deleted my email with the survey link?
    Call the ModernThink help line at 888.684.4658 or email surveys@modernthink.net to get your survey access link resent to your email.

General Questions About the Survey

  • What types of questions will be asked?
    The belief statements address key dimensions of employee engagement, including job satisfaction, institutional pride, communication, and fairness. Examples of belief statements are “My job makes good use of my skills and abilities,” “People in my department work well together,” and “I understand how my job contributes to this institution's mission.” Respondents will answer how strongly they agree or disagree on a five-point scale, or they can select ‘not applicable.’ The benefits questions gauge employee satisfaction on a five-point satisfaction scale with a variety of benefits programs provided by the State/University. The demographics questions provide employee self-identification, such as race, gender, years of service, salary range, organizational unit, etc.
  • Who is participating in this? Do I have to participate?
    The survey is being sent to all permanent full-time (75% time or more) faculty and staff employed as of December 2019.

    Participation is voluntary. You should not feel pressured to participate, but since this is a great chance for faculty and staff to be heard, we encourage your participation.

    We are aiming for at least 50% participation system-wide but would like to see the number much higher than that. In 2018 when the survey was initially administered, we met the 50% mark. It is important that the university hears from as many faculty and staff as we can in order to get the most complete feedback.
  • Why are we doing this?
    The UNC System wants to measure workplace engagement. Studies have shown that the more engaged an employee is at their workplace, the more satisfied the employee is and the more productive the work unit is.

    The UNC System has limited useful system-wide information about how faculty and staff feel about their workplace. The engagement survey collects data from both faculty and staff and will help the University identify areas of strength at each institution and areas that need improvement.

    Some UNC institutions have done similar surveys in the past, but this is the first survey to be issued system-wide. It provides a common data set for the entire UNC System.

Questions About Survey Data and Reporting

  • How is confidentiality guaranteed?
    Confidentiality of individual responses is critical to the success of this program. Only the administrator of the survey (ModernThink) will have direct access to individual responses, and the data are stored on ModernThink’s servers, not the University’s. Direct supervisors and university leadership will not have access to individual responses. The University will receive a variety of summary reports.

    The UNC System will supply certain initial information to ModernThink for survey distribution and reporting purposes, including each employee’s email address, organizational unit, employee type (EHRA/SHRA), and job category.

    Reporting will be available only if there are at least five responses in a defined demographic group. For example, for a report specifically on African-American female faculty, we would receive a report only if at least five respondents completed the survey that fit the full demographic profile (i.e., African-American, female, and faculty).

    Note: The full narrative comments you submit in the two open-ended questions will be shared with management. Consider how you phrase your responses so your remarks are not too identifiable.

    ModernThink provides a helpline (888.684.4658) for participants to call if they have questions about confidentiality, and you can review a confidentiality statement online.
  • Will the survey results be published?
    Yes. UNC System Office will publish aggregated survey results for the UNC System as a whole and for each constituent institution in standard reports provided by ModernThink. UNC System or constituent institution data may also be used by ModernThink anonymously as a benchmark for other institutions.
  • What benchmarks are being used for comparison?
    UNC System Office is providing six standard benchmarking groups for comparison with UNC institutions. The benchmarks include data from institutions that have participated in ModernThink’s sponsored surveys.
    • The Great Colleges "Honor Roll"(highest rated institutions participating in that program)
    • Carnegie classification
    • Public institutions
    • Enrollment size
    • Region (south)
    • Single aggregate of all UNC institutions
  • What happened as a result of the 2018 survey and what should we expect to happen following future surveys?
    UNC System
    • System-wide topline data were shared with the UNC Board of Governors and posted publicly on the UNC System website.
    • Data points were used as a comparator for human resource metrics such as turnover data to see if trends could be determined.
    • The results were used to support key policy changes, including the adoption of paid parental leave.

    UNCW Campus
    On campus, the engagement survey results led to the development and/or improvement of the following programs and resources:
    • Talent Development Signature Programs:
      • Voice of Inclusion
      • New Supervisor
      • Crucial Conversations
      • Rising Leader
      • The Great Workplace
      • Giving Flight for New Employees
      • Peer Coaching
      • Career Development
      • Healthy Hawks Workplace
      • COmmunity Outreach
    • Resources:
      • Employee Guidebook (Launching Summer 2020)
      • Canvas Course for New Employees (SHRA/EHRA non-faculty: Launching Summer 2020)
    • Training:
      • Implicit Bias Workshop for Search Committees
      • Harassment Prevention Workshop (revamp)
      • LEAD module: Navigating and Communicating with Human Resources (revamp)
      • The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups
      • New Full Cycle Performance training for employees and supervisors
    • Other:
      • Healthy Hawks Workplace (Launching January 2020)
      • Recognition Program Brainstorming Focus Group (Launching Spring 2020)
      • UNC System Employee Engagement Survey Focus Groups (Launching Summer 2020)

    Learn More about 2018 Results

    What to expect following future surveys
    • In most cases, progress from this program will be incremental and not occur all at once, or may not be visible to all employees as it happens. This means it may take time to address certain issues or take time for faculty and staff to see the positive effects of any actions taken.
    • Some faculty and staff concerns (e.g., better salaries/raises, better benefits, etc.) may be outside the control of your direct supervisor or the University.
    • Some suggestions from faculty and staff for certain changes may be cost prohibitive or may require legislative action by the NC General Assembly.
    • However, having data that identify these concerns and suggestions puts the University in a better position to prioritize ways to address them and to bring these issues to those who have the authority to make any necessary changes.