Survey Update: Taking a Positive Focus Forward

Posted on Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Written by Sarah Joosse, Wellness@Work Coordinator

In October 2017, the University launched the Wellness@Work Survey, to identify and better understand factors within the workplace that affect the psychological health and safety of University of Guelph faculty and staff. Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the Wellness@Work Survey.  

What have we been up to?

Using the key recommendations from the survey report, we have been working away at enhancing our workplace culture.  We recognize that culture change takes time, but we are taking action to see positive changes across U of G. Below are a few examples of the ways we have started to take action based on the recommendations in the Wellness@Work Survey Report:

Communicate Results 

In April 2018, we invited all employees to a Wellness@Work Town Hall to share the survey results and provide an opportunity for questions and comments.  President Dr. Franco Vaccarino and Vice-President Don O'Leary were joined by Vancouver Psych Health + Safety to share the survey results and highlight key findings and recommendations for U of G. 

Meetings were held with the Senior Executive Team, Union Leaders and the University Leadership Team to discuss the survey results and next steps.  A mass email was sent to all employees with the results and Wellness@Work Champions distributed them through their networks.

Key findings from the survey results were shared in an infographic and the full survey reports and Town Hall recording are available online for employees. 

Review Possible Actions 

The University Leadership Team participated in a Change Readiness workshop. Each Associate Vice-President and Dean were invited to participate in a half-day workshop called "Positive Focus Forward" with their leadership teams.  These sessions have provided an opportunity for departments and units to work together to understand what their survey data means to their team and to develop high-impact, high priority actions that will help them move forward and make positive changes to create a more psychologically healthy and safe workplace.

Workshop participants were invited to identify key action areas through reflection and discussion to enhance wellness in their department or unit.  Many groups are now finalizing their action plans and having discussions with their Vice-President about the next steps that will be taken.  

A resource booklet was developed to help determine possible actions for each of the 13 psychosocial factors to support leaders to take action. 

Complete an Organizational Review 

Using Excellence Canada's Healthy Workplace Standard, the Wellness@Work Advisory Committee are completing a self-assessment of our strengths and opportunities across the University. This Standard, developed by Excellence Canada in association with health, mental health, and work safety professionals from across Canada, is based on research and the outcomes of successful organizations. The goal of the initiative is not to achieve Excellence Canada's benchmarks but to use the benchmarks as guidance to our own initiatives.

The organizational review criteria are determined by Excellence Canada in their Silver category for Healthy Workplace.  The Wellness@Work Advisory Committee have helped to draft the self-assessment and additional feedback and input is being solicited from campus community members through focus groups. 

Host Focus Groups

Employees were invited to participate in focus groups to discuss areas of strength and opportunities for action to further enhance our workplace wellness.This feedback is helping shape the self-assessment for Excellence Canada. 

Celebrate Strengths 

Of those who responded to the survey:

  • 91 per cent feel they have the opportunity to work safely
  • 85 per cent of respondents said the University supports their general health
  • 67 per cent feel the current benefits meet their health and wellness needs.

The Positive Focus Forward workshops were designed from a strengths-based approach to reflect on what's been working well.  

The newly launched Wellness@Work Grant Program has offered the opportunity for departments and units to receive seed funding to host their own health promoting program that is tailored to the needs of their staff and faculty.  For example, the Wellness Bikes grant program has offered employees connected with the OMAFRA-U of G Agri-Food Partnership office at One Stone Road the opportunity to efficiently get around campus while getting some physical activity.

The Wellness@Work Programming Committee has continued meeting monthly to plan ongoing wellness initiatives for employees. The first-ever Be Well, Be Safe Week was hosted with over 30 activities for faculty, staff and students during May 2018.  Over 200 people attended the kick-off event, with very positive feedback.  A very successful "Garden Gander" walking series led participants through unique landscapes and gardens on campus.

We are continuing to find ways to celebrate our strengths and recognize employees for contributions they are making to help create a healthier workplace.  We are looking forward to Healthy Workpalce Month in October, with dozens of free activities being offered to faculty and staff. 

Stay tuned for more updates as we move into the Fall!

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