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UCOP’s 2021 Employee Engagement Survey results

As announced in Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rachael Nava’s message on Nov. 8, the 2021 Employee Engagement Survey results are in. This article provides more detail regarding UCOP-specific results, trends and the timeline for communication and action planning.

Survey results and trends

UCOP Sustainable Engagement, the overall measure of UCOP engagement, increased approximately two points to a strong favorable score of 78% — the same level as the U.S. norm and slightly below the UC system’s 81% favorable. Overall, survey results for UCOP were stable or trending slightly upwards, with a few exceptions.

Our top scoring topics have been consistent for the last several surveys, and most even improved over the surveys from 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021. These include:

  1. Supervision (82%, up 6 points): Supervisors’ ability to treat employees with respect, informing their teams about issues that affect them and listening to diverse opinions before reaching conclusions contributed to a strong performance in this topic area.
  2. Image/Brand (81%, stable): Pride in the UC system and mission bolstered the score, while continuing focus is needed on improving employee opinion of our UCOP “location.”
  3. Sustainable Engagement (78%, up approximately 2 points): Strengths included flexible schedules, employee motivation to go above and beyond and association with UC.
  4. Working Relationships (77%, up 3 points): Cooperation between departments and between staff within the same department.

Areas needing improvement. Leadership, Career Development and Performance Management have shown improvement from past surveys, but still remain below desired levels and will require continued focus. One new category, Retention, also entered into the bottom four.

  1. Retention (53%): Measures whether employees are seriously considering leaving the UC system, with favorable being an answer of “no.” This score has declined from 59% in 2019.
  2. Leadership (54%): Focuses on leadership’s communication of long-term strategic direction and the level of contact between senior leadership and all employees. This score is a slight improvement from 53% in 2019.
  3. Career Development (58%): Focuses on the ability to achieve career objectives and having resources to manage one’s own career at UC. This score is an improvement from 56% in 2019.
  4. Performance Management (59%): Overall, the Performance Management category improved from 57% in 2019. Over two-thirds of employees surveyed feel that their contributions are recognized and their performance is evaluated fairly. The factor that lowers this score is employees feeling that UCOP could do a better job matching pay to performance. The score for matching pay to performance has declined 1 point (from 35% to 34% favorable) since 2019, but continues to pose a challenge due to a limited merit pool.

How UCOP is doing in many of these categories has also varied by the self-identified demographics of the survey respondents, including type of role, ethnicity or race, gender and tenure within the organization. Additional focus is needed where a result for a particular demographic is lower than the overall UCOP scores.

View the full 2021 Employee Engagement Survey results

Action planning

A workgroup including members from the Council of UC Staff Assemblies (CUCSA), OP Staff Assembly (OPSA), UCOP Operations and Human Resources and the Office of Workplace Inclusion and Belonging will work together to review results and develop action plans, focusing on the areas with the greatest opportunity for improvement. The workgroup will engage with division leaders as well as representatives from our identity- and interest-based staff associations and affinity groups.

They will seek to involve as many voices throughout the process as possible. Your ongoing input will be valuable as we work to create and implement action plans to address areas in which improvement is necessary.

Next steps

  • Virtual survey sessions to discuss the Engagement Survey Results in greater detail and provide an opportunity for questions. Look for details in Link.
  • Action plan development and communication along with opportunities for employee participation.
  • Ongoing communication linking our actions to survey results will be shared through Link and other communication vehicles.


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