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UPDATED: Central HR and gymnasts set high bar for survey

By Dave Jones on February 22, 2013 in University News

Efforts continue to get staff, faculty and students to take the Campus Community Survey, which, as of midweek had drawn a response rate of 27 percent — including nearly everyone in a major administrative unit on the Davis campus and almost the entire women's gymnastics team.

Let's start with central Human Resources, where good organization and rapport — and more than a dozen $10 gift cards — led to a 93 percent response rate among the unit’s 70 or so employees in just two weeks.

The prizes are in addition to campus prizes and systemwide prizes — all being awarded in random drawings. UC Davis has already given away two iPads and 70 gift cards — and there are more to be had. The winners so far; look for the third round of prize recipients on Monday (Feb. 25).

HR Associate Vice Chancellor Susan Gilbert provided a small budget for the incentives for her staff alone, and a committee of four employees quickly gathered the prizes and formulated a communication plan to encourage survey participation.

“Employee-led efforts are very important and not uncommon in HR,” said one of the organizers, Sandie Lewis, principal compensation analyst. “We do other employee-led activities throughout the year — we make time to have fun together!”

Gilbert commended the four people behind her unit’s huge survey response: Lewis; Sylvia Alves, HR assistant; Jon Hill, HR analyst III; and Pam Nardinelli, Staff Assembly coordinator.

The survey opened Jan. 31, and Gilbert’s hope was to have all of central HR’s responses in by Friday, Feb. 15, in advance of another survey in which her staff would be asked to participate: the HR strategic review (which began Tuesday, Feb. 19).

Central HR’s Campus Community Survey drive began with a cookie kickoff — and the response rate exceeded 50 percent in the first week. The reward? See’s candy at all three HR locations: the HR Administration Building, the Academic and Staff Assistance Program, and Staff Development and Professional Services.

The other half of the HR staff — or pretty much half — took the survey the second week.

Each respondent received a ticket — to put his or her name on the ticket stub, for the prize drawing, and the other half to be posted, if desired, at the employee's workstation. The tickets this indicated who had taken the survey and reminded others to do the same.

It was the honor system: Employees self-identified as having completed the survey.

(UC is not providing records of who takes or does not take the survey, except for the purposes of the campus and UC-wide prize drawings. And those names are stripped away from the survey responses — thus keeping the survey anonymous.)

At central HR, the payoff came Thursday (Feb. 21), with the presentation of 15 gift cards — for In-N-Out Burger, Jamba Juice and Starbucks — during an ice cream social.

“Talking up the survey was the most motivating factor,” Lewis said. “The incentives provided further motivation and made it fun.”

Gymnasts make survey into a team effort

Meanwhile, the Davis campus survey team is pushing for more participation by other employees, as well as faculty and students.

This week's events featured two Survey Nights in Student Community Center computer labs, with music inside, snacks outside and special guests from the Aggie athletics coaching staff.

John Lavallee, head gymnastics coach, showed up with 15 of his student-athletes — then sat down with them as they all completed the online survey.

"The university has asked us to lend a helping hand and that's just the way we do things around here," Lavallee said. "I said, 'If you are free and available please show up,' and they did. That's the kind of folks they are."

Paper surveys in English and Spanish

The survey team also has arranged survey-taking sessions for employees without access to computers. Instead, paper surveys are being made available in English and Spanish, in time blocks lasting at least an hour and starting as late as 10 p.m. to accommodate shift workers.

Here is the remaining schedule:

  • Friday, Feb. 22 — 1:30 and 5:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Feb. 25 — 1:30 and 5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 26 — 5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 27 — 1:30, 5:30 and 10 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 28 — 1:30 and 5:30 p.m.

Location: Facilities Training Room in the Facilities Services Building on Crocker Lane

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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,