UCSF to Conduct 2019 Staff Engagement Survey

By Lisa Cisneros

As part of ongoing efforts to make UC San Francisco a great place to work, UCSF will conduct the annual engagement survey of all staff from April 30 to May 24.

Campus and UCSF Health staff members are encouraged to share candid feedback by completing the short, confidential survey, administered by Gallup. UCSF’s goal is to exceed last year’s 70 percent participation rate. To make it as easy as possible to complete, the survey’s digital platform is compatible with smartphones as well as desktop computers.

“Our goal is to ensure that UCSF provides a supportive and inclusive work environment where everyone has the opportunity to do their best work,” said Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS. “I urge all staff to make their voice heard by sharing their opinions about working at UCSF.

Tara Valcarcel participates in a breakout group about the 2018 UCSF Staff Engagement survey

Tara Valcarcel, MSN, PNP, a pediatric nurse practitioner at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, participates in a breakout group about the 2018 UCSF Staff Engagement survey. UCSF is preparing for the 2019 survey. Photo by Susan Merrell


Managers and work teams use results to create action plans designed to build upon their strengths and to overcome challenges. At the UCSF-wide level, we look for trends and patterns to better understand the differences in perceptions among our staff employees and to identify opportunities for improvement across our institution.”

UCSF is working to respond to the results of the 2018 staff survey, which found that overall engagement – as measured by Gallup’s Grand Mean, a composite score of engagement indicators – appears to be leveling off after showing steady progress since 2011. The 2018 Grand Mean was 3.94, based on a five-point scale, which put UCSF at the 54th percentile of organizations surveyed by Gallup.

UCSF’s Learning and Organization Development partnered with Gallup to share the 2018 survey results in town hall meetings, conduct focus groups, analyze feedback, and develop an organization-wide action plan.

As in years past, the 2018 survey showed UCSF’s greatest strength is that staff feel a strong connection to UCSF’s overarching mission and appreciate the quality work demonstrated by their colleagues.

The survey and focus groups also found that the UCSF environment is perceived as diverse, yet it does not foster inclusion to the same degree for all staff groups.

“These findings demonstrate that UCSF has more work to do to build a sense of inclusion and belonging among all staff,” said Jeff Chiu, vice president of Human Resources for UCSF Health. “We have recommended a UCSF-wide action plan to address these findings, which the Chancellor’s Cabinet has endorsed.”

Completing the Survey

Gallup will email UCSF staff members an invitation with a personalized link to the confidential and secure survey. The survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

Gallup will keep all responses completely confidential. Feedback will be reported anonymously without reference to anyone’s identity. Once the results have been reported and analyzed, UCSF will inform staff about the findings and managers will be asked to take the next steps, along with their teams, to draft and implement action plans.


Taking New Actions in 2019

The UCSF institution-wide action plan seeks to enhance engagement among all staff populations by:

  • Developing a roadmap that allows employees to leverage their strengths, benefit from organizational resources and get direction to pursue different professional development paths;
  • Creating a comprehensive competency model to equip managers with the tools and training to serve as advocates for their teams;
  • Developing new targeted learning programs that continue to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the campus;
  • Reinforcing these activities through ongoing communication and cultivating even stronger partnerships that engage Human Resources, the Office of Diversity and Outreach, registered campus organizations that support specific employee populations, and the entire UCSF community.

Learning and Organization Development has already begun to implement the action plan, starting with developing a roadmap.

Staff Engagement Milestones (2018-Present)  April to May 2018: Staff engagement ambassador orientation and Gallup Survey September 2018: Staff engagement town hall survey results October 2018: Managers engagement workshop "Care Talk" December 2018: Staff Engagement Focus Groups – Span of control, diversity and inclusion January 2019: Staff engagement ambassadors' summit January 2019: Staff engagement follow-up town hall action plan April-May 2019: Staff engagement ambassador orientation and gallup survey

Also in response to the 2018 staff survey findings, UCSF has added several new questions to the 2019 survey that focus on getting a better sense of staff feelings of belonging or inclusion in the workplace. Answers to these questions will be used to measure progress on the organization-wide action plan and will provide an even deeper understanding of variations in staff engagement. Ultimately, the responses may inform how UCSF can build a more inclusive work environment.

Engaging Ambassadors

In an effort to garner the highest survey participation, UCSF again is enlisting the efforts of ambassadors across the campus and UCSF Health. Each year, the ambassadors encourage their co-works to complete the survey and provide important information to help them understand why their engagement matters and how their responses are used. They also monitor participation rates throughout the survey period to ensure that as many voices as possible are heard. This year, there are more than 500 ambassadors from UCSF and UCSF Health departments.

“Our Learning and Organization Development team extends appreciation to this outstanding group for going above and beyond in their efforts to increase staff engagement,” said Nancy Duranteau, UCSF’s Chief Learning Officer and director of Learning and Organization Development. “In addition to their daily contributions to their team’s engagement, this year they came together to share and learn best practices from each other at the Ambassador Summit and Orientations.”

Keila Galvan, executive assistant from the Office of Population Health and Accountable Care, shared that during the year her team participated in three StrengthsFinder sessions and in each session explored further how they work best together as a whole group. “I learned what I need from my manager and colleagues to be more engaged,” she said.

Sharing Survey Findings

After the survey period closes, managers will receive their results and can begin sharing the findings with their teams in June.

Learning and Organization Development will host an organization-wide town hall in July for Gallup and UCSF leaders to convene and share UCSF-wide results.

“Engagement is never done, rather it’s a continuous process, “Duranteau said. “We will share the findings widely to celebrate our strengths, identify new opportunities, and chart our progress based on what we learned last year. We remain committed to taking actions to make UCSF the best place to work.”

Duranteau emphasized that since staff represent the largest population at UCSF, it is imperative to hear from as many people as possible to more accurately respond to issues that impact engagement. “We look forward to an ongoing dialogue and partnership that supports and engages the whole UCSF community to collectively fulfill our mission.”