After months of gathering data, administrators said they have narrowed down the top four issues that faculty and staff have with GW.
University President Thomas LeBlanc said at a Faculty Senate meeting Friday that a Disney Institute culture assessment conducted last semester showed that employees are dissatisfied with four areas: inconsistent leadership, inefficient communication, poor service culture and lack of employee appreciation.
The findings come months after more than half of faculty and staff filled out a culture survey, which was followed by an additional 176 focus groups and interviews with employees.
“When you don’t ask people for an opinion for 50 years, you get a lot of comments,” LeBlanc said at the meeting.
The University’s culture leadership team, comprised of six administrators, will now develop a plan to tackle the issues described by the Disney Institute evaluation, he said.
LeBlanc said employees believe that leaders are often not held accountable for their behavior, creating confusion about what is expected of them.
“I think it’s very hard to be consistent about behaviors unless the University can be consistent about its expectations, and we haven’t had that effort, so we get what we get,” he said.
The assessment also found that employees were satisfied with the communication and support they received from their departments, but LeBlanc said communication across different departments and divisions was inconsistent. He pointed to the University’s closures on a Friday before a three-day weekend, when some offices would decide to stay open and some would close early, which created confusion.
“We’re too siloed, and when you’re siloed, that means you often have very vigorous communication within the silo and very poor communication across the silo,” he said.
Poor service culture
LeBlanc said the survey also reiterated student and employee sentiment that the University is not focused on serving its community.
“The students tell me, ‘We feel a very transactional relationship,'” he said. “‘We don’t get the impression in our interactions that the organization is here to serve us.'”
Lack of employee appreciation
The survey also found that employees did not feel appreciated enough by their supervisors. LeBlanc said some faculty are recognized by external organizations or institutions for their academic achievements, but many employees only have the opportunity to be appreciated by their employer.
“If we don’t recognize them, we’re not treating them right, they feel it, and they tell us they feel it,” LeBlanc said.
Cayla Harris and Alec Rich contributed reporting.
This article appeared in the January 14, 2019 issue of the Hatchet.