Survey says: Top 10 good things about working at UAB

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My say 492In 2017 UAB conducted a campuswide engagement survey to assess its strengths and weaknesses and identify tools, resources and programs needed to promote and sustain individual and institutional growth.

More than 2,800 faculty and staff shared their thoughts on their workplace experiences and key themes emerged in response to the 65 statements with which they were asked to agree or disagree. (The UAB Health System was conducting its own biennial survey, and its employees did not participate in this one.)

After the data was collected and analyzed, UAB’s survey partner, ModernThink, shared the results with senior leadership who then presented them in two public forums (available here and here). The analysis included “The Bottom 10” statements — areas in which UAB earned its lowest ratings — and ModernThink recommended steps to redress those weaknesses in three areas:
  • communication with and from senior leadership,
  • training for leaders/managers with clear paths for career growth, and
  • consistency in performance-management processes.

More changes are posted online in Tracking Progress: How you are shaping UAB’s future. If you know of others, email

During the past 18 months, institutional, school and unit leaders have been tasked to review systems and processes and identify opportunities and programs for improvement before the next engagement survey in 2019. Many of those are posted online in Tracking Progress: How you are shaping UAB’s future. If you know of others, email

“The survey results provided baseline data for areas in which we need to improve, some of which we already had begun to address,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Alesia Jones. “Our goal now is to continue to refine and innovate our approaches and processes and ensure that UAB faculty and staff have the information, systems and tools for success and that they feel supported, valued and equipped to perform their best work.”

The upside of self-assessment

Not surprisingly, responses tended to lean in one direction or the other based on differences in job categories and classifications, but the aggregate of survey responses revealed employees have pride in their work and that of the institution and generally enjoy good working relationships.
What, then, are “The Top 10” statements most people agreed were true about UAB?
  • I am given the responsibility and freedom to do my job.
  • My job makes good use of my skills and abilities.
  • I have a good relationship with my supervisor/ department chair.
  • My supervisor/ department chair supports my efforts to balance my work and personal life.
  • Overall, my department is a good place to work.
  • The institution takes reasonable steps to provide a safe and secure environment for the campus.
But wait — the survey results also were benchmarked against our peer institutions, and four of our Top 10 are areas in which UAB employees’ experiences were more highly ranked than their counterparts:
  • I understand how my job contributes to this institution.
  • This institution places sufficient emphasis on having diverse faculty, administration and staff.
  • This institutional actively contributes to the community.
  • I am proud to be a part of this institution.

“Our faculty and staff invest themselves in their work and take pride in UAB’s growth and reputation, and we will continue to invest in their success.”

For a purpose-driven institution that is committed to education, patient care, service and innovation, these statements are the basis for a strong start to the second half of its first century, Jones says.

“UAB is in the enviable position of building for the future from a position of strength in its workforce,” Jones said. “Our faculty and staff invest themselves in their work and take pride in UAB’s growth and reputation, and we will continue to invest in their success.”

Work ahead

New programs and initiatives to improve systems and processes and expand opportunities have been launched at the institutional level, and UAB is committed to conducting an engagement survey again in 2019 to measure and direct that progress, Jones said.

Everyone can play a part in building a better UAB. During the next few weeks, the UAB Reporter will review these initiatives in a series of articles and explore free resources, training opportunities and expert advice to help you improve your work experience, expand opportunities and promote equity.