Vice President for Human Resources' Message Regarding Employee Survey Results

July 15, 2021

On July 15, Vice President for Human Resources Lianne Sullivan-Crowley emailed all staff with the results of the Staff Engagement Survey, which showed a strong sense of connection and community:

Thank you to the benefits-eligible Princeton University and Princeton Plasma Physics Lab employees who took the time to participate in our Staff Engagement Survey in the spring. The questions on the survey were designed to explore how employees and their colleagues experience Princeton, their department, and the workplace overall.

The survey was open from March 22 through April 12, 2021 and asked questions related to engagement, COVID-19, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, safety, employee benefits, and employee treatment. With a high response rate of more than 65 percent, employees showed us just how engaged they are in their career here and our community. Now it is time to share with you the survey results, which give us a good idea of where we have been as we lived through the darkest days of the pandemic, and where we are going as we come back together.

Areas to Celebrate

Overall, the most striking survey result is that your connection with the University, and your communication with managers and colleagues, remained unbreakable through these past months. This is a testament to just how united and strong the Princeton University community is, and gives a solid foundation on which to return to our workplaces this fall as many join the colleagues who have been working on-site. Here are highlights of the positive results:

  • 90 percent of respondents said Princeton has done a good job of responding to the pandemic.
  • 98 percent gave high marks to their communication with colleagues.
  • 88 percent said the person they report to supports their efforts to achieve work-life balance.
  • 89 percent said the person they report to considers the effects of the pandemic on job deliverables and performance.
  • 93 percent said there are people at Princeton who appreciate them.

Areas to Improve

At the same time, within any dynamic community, there is always room to explore interests and make improvements. Most (74 percent of respondents) said their workload is manageable, while at the same time the survey indicates that many employees continue to think about pandemic safety, and those who have been working remotely are focused on how best to balance work and personal life again when making the shift back to the office. These are natural considerations and adjustments and should be expected as we make transitions and welcome the new academic year.

With respect to diversity and inclusion, one out of 9 survey respondents (11 percent) said they had experienced an unwelcome remark in the past year, and 14 percent said they had witnessed an unwelcome remark directed at another person. I assure you that we hear you. These results tell us that we need to continue to focus on the employee experience, ensuring that all members of our community feel included and respected regardless of their role or other aspects of their identity. The findings emphasize the importance of us all continuing to work together to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

While further discussion is needed, we encourage all units to consider the results of this survey as we prepare for the fall semester and engage in our work throughout the coming year. Survey responses will be taken into account along with the work of our University Return to Work Committee, which has been speaking with employees at all levels about the return to on-site work for many. 

Next Steps

In the coming weeks, each Vice President will receive access to the survey results for their area. The results are reported in a manner that does not identify individuals. We encourage unit leaders to review the findings and share the results. As you reflect on the survey results, remember that we all play a part in creating an inclusive and equitable culture and community. Please consider what you and your department can do to maintain and build on the positive experiences that make Princeton a great place to work.