Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the UNC System Employee Engagement Survey?

  • The UNC System Employee Engagement Survey is sponsored by the UNC System. It is a regularly scheduled survey on workplace satisfaction that took place in 2018 and 2020 as part of the UNC System Strategic Plan.
  • Due to the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNC System Office has chosen to create a shorter survey for 2022 that will focus on three specific areas: a set of baseline trend data from past surveys, diversity and inclusion statements, and statements specific to institutional actions taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The survey, which will be administered to all permanent faculty and staff, will provide insights into faculty and staff engagement trends at the institutions across the system.
  • The survey is being administered through an outside vendor, ModernThink. ModernThink is the only entity that can access or view raw survey data and individual responses.

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.
  • This is one of the only ways the UNC System can obtain useful systemwide quantitative information about how faculty and staff feel about their workplace. The engagement survey collects data from both faculty and staff and will help the system 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 systemwide. It provides a common dataset for the entire UNC System.

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 January 2022. The survey is available online.
  • Participation is voluntary. You should not feel pressured to participate, but since this is a great chance for faculty and staff voices to be heard, we encourage your participation.
  • We are aiming for at least 50% participation systemwide but would like to see the number much higher than that. In 2018 when the survey was initially administered, we met the 50% mark; in 2020, we reached 52% participation. It is important that the UNC System hears from as many faculty and staff as we can in order to get the most complete feedback.

When is this happening and how long will it take?

  • The survey will launch on March 28 and run two weeks through April 11.
  • The survey takes on average about 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
  • At NC State, the survey will be available in English, Spanish and French.
  • You will receive an email invitation directly from ModernThink that has a unique login and password for you. Login information cannot be shared with others.
  • Faculty and staff 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?

  • Work Environment Questions: As previously noted, the 2022 survey will focus on three specific areas: a set of baseline trend data from past surveys, diversity and inclusion statements, and statements specific to institutional actions taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 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.

What happened as a result of previous surveys and what should we expect to happen in the future?

  • Systemwide topline data were shared with the UNC Board of Governors and posted publicly on the UNC System website.
  • Data points were used to compare human resource metrics such as turnover data to see if trends could be determined.
  • The results were used to support key policy and program changes, such as the introduction of paid parental leave, the pilot of the Cornerstone system to support professional development, and the launch of the Executive Leadership Institute.
  • 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 UNC System.
  • 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 system 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.

What about confidentiality?

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 UNC System’s or the university’s. The system 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 including results specifically from 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.

Where can I get more information?

  • ModernThink provides a helpline (888.684.4658) for participants to call if they have questions about confidentiality or about how to complete the survey.
  • Additional information on the program is available on the UNC System website.