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About the survey

The University of Oxford Staff Experience Survey is an important opportunity to give your views on what it's like to work here. The survey results, which are anonymous, help senior management understand what's working well and identify where improvements need to be made.

All NDCN staff on University contracts will have an opportunity to complete the survey between 25 April and 19 May 2023. You will receive a personalised link from People Insight, who are conducting the survey on the University's behalf.

What changed as a result of the last survey?

The survey was previously run in 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when 205 staff in NDCN took part. Below you can see some of the ways in which survey responses sparked senior management actions and initiatives.

Career Development and Mentoring

In 2021, 53% of staff in NDCN said that they were not clear about the training and development opportunities available to them.

Since then, Charlotte Stagg has been leading on the development of a Staff Development Programme across the three main Oxford Neuroscience Departments (NDCN, Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology). This programme is for professional services staff and early career researchers and will launch in September 2023.

In 2021, 67% of staff in NDCN said that they had not been mentored by someone other than their line manager since taking up their current role.

A number of our Professional Services staff have joined the PSS Mentoring scheme. The MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit (now a part of NDCN) has run a mentoring programme for a number of years: NDCN is planning to expand this to the wider Department. 

Managing and Being Managed

In 2021, 40% of staff in NDCN felt that they didn't receive regular and constructive feedback, while 24% of managers did not feel confident in managing staff performance.

Since then, NDCN's People & Culture Committee secured funding to develop an 'Inclusive Leadership Programme'. The 2022-23 pilot trained 15 senior academic staff across five NDCN divisions, including Head of Department Kevin Talbot. Participants received training in cultivating inclusive environments; delivering sensitive feedback; and principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Each participant received a personalised 360 review and undertook an 'inclusion project' with their group. The second round of the programme is under development, aiming to launch in early autumn.

Departmental Culture

In 2021, 42 per cent of staff in NDCN said that that they did not feel integrated into the Department.

Reinstating in-person events in which everyone can get involved is a priority post-pandemic. We run monthly seminars with lunch provided, and our Thomas Willis Day on 22 June is the perfect chance for everyone to get together. Several more initiatives are being planned.

In 2021, 62 per cent of staff in NDCN said that there had not been a positive cultural change in the Department over the last two years.

Now there is a new People and Culture Committee which is rolling out initiatives such as lab handbooks, which outline a research group's ethos and facilitate how a group communicates and operates.

In 2021, 23% of women in NDCN said that the Department was not committed to equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).

We have since formed an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, which meets regularly to plan EDI initiatives across NDCN. For example, we are developing best practice guidelines on diverse hiring and inclusive events, and promoting lab handbooks as a mechanism for improving equity within research groups. In parallel to this, Michele Hu has launched the Women in Clinical Neurosciences network.

Wellbeing and Workload

In 2021, only 33% of staff felt that their health and wellbeing were supported at work.

Since then, the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (part of NDCN) commissioned the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust to run interactive training focused on mental wellbeing in the workplace. This included training for all staff and students and a more in-depth session for line managers. NDCN plans to expand this pilot programme to other parts of the Department in the coming year.

In 2021, 33% of staff – and 44% of women researchers – felt that NDCN does not set clear expectations around behaviour.

The Department's new People and Culture Committee commissioned an external review of our values and culture with a series of focus groups, and is drafting a brand new Workplace Charter, to be written in consultation with staff across NDCN.

Communication and Transparency

In 2021, 35% of staff in NDCN did not rate communication in NDCN as open and effective.

In April of that year, the Department launched a new set of pages on its website giving clear information about policies and procedures across the whole range of Professional Services areas (finance, human resources and so on).

In 2021, 56% of staff in NDCN said that management and decision-making processes in the Department were not clear and transparent.

Now, we are starting to include summaries of NDCN committee and working group meetings in the Monday newsletter.

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