It’s time for another survey – but please don’t be dissatisfied!

By Andy Fryer, UCEA's Head of Communications & Membership
19 April 2023

UCEA is somewhat unique. We are a sector organisation that is reliant on membership and their subscriptions, and therefore member satisfaction. We have 19 members of staff, evenly split between full and part timers, but all hardworking in a range of vital, autonomous roles. Of course, we all share a common goal in supporting our members.

We appreciate that we ask our members to complete a large number of surveys for a range of important reasons every year, for example our salary surveys and our annual sickness absence survey. I hope that the frequency of our surveys doesn’t impact on your satisfaction, not least as these are designed to assist members, but now it’s time for another. And this is arguably the most important of all to UCEA’s Board, staff and ultimately our members - the triennial (yes, or triannual) membership satisfaction survey.

Our purpose is to support our member organisations in delivering excellent and world-leading higher education and research by representing their interests as employers and facilitating their work in delivering effective employment and workforce strategies. This important survey seeks to gauge our members' satisfaction with the range and quality of the services we provide, to gather views on how well we deliver our aims and objectives and comment on how we might develop and improve our services and support. The survey is a vital opportunity to assess how UCEA’s subscribing organisations feel about the quality (and quantity) of our services and our representation of members’ interests. 

The last triennial survey was conducted just before the pandemic marched into our world. Alongside this and all its repercussions, it is amazing just how much the sector and society have been through since then. UCEA is acutely aware that the sector seeks new support in addressing new challenges. And while we receive precious informal feedback on a regular basis, the need to gather ‘formal' feedback relating to important areas of UCEA’s work that were just being proposed back in 2020 means we now ask new questions relating to strategic- and sector-driven priorities, from the future of pay bargaining and the Employee experience

Our survey has been designed to help us to understand what we need to emphasise to continue to provide the support our members need in these difficult times. Both Heads of Institution and HR Directors are asked to participate in the survey, setting out the future priorities they wish UCEA to address. But our colleagues and contacts across our 173 member organisations stretch far beyond these individuals. We count over 3000 individuals ‘on our books’ providing and receiving information across ‘HR’, policy, health and safety, research, pensions, clinical academics, communications and a whole lot more. We hope our Heads of Institution and HR Directors will be able to incorporate other colleagues’ feedback, directly or indirectly, but we hope you understand that we are unable to invite all of our valuable colleagues at member organisations to submit individual responses. 

As for our very busy Heads of Institution and HR Directors, we very much hope they can find time to complete the survey between now and 12 May. Responses will remain entirely confidential and anonymous as the survey is undertaken by an external research company. We will of course report publicly on the overall findings later this year. I might even write another blog about it – provided its positive enough! 

All membership feedback is carefully considered by staff and our Board and will be invaluable when planning and prioritising our future work, including contributing to our next Strategic Plan. This all serves that essential, common goal: membership satisfaction.