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November 22, 2017

Staff Matters

Staff Engagement and Climate Survey FAQs

At the end of this month, Pitt will conduct its first Staff Engagement and Climate Survey. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Office of Human Resources’ Employee and Labor Relations are planning and administering the survey, which is open to staff members at all five of Pitt’s campuses, including the regional campuses. The survey launches Nov. 27 and ends on Dec. 8.

The purpose of the survey is to assess the current state of Pitt’s employment culture from the eyes of staff members. Some aspects of the environment that affect the work culture include morale, trust, leadership, diversity and inclusion, teamwork, rewards, recognition, benefits and compensation and conflict resolution. This survey will provide the University with a baseline measurement, supported by data, of how Pitt’s staff members view their working environment.

The following are questions and answers that may be helpful in explaining the reasons and process for the survey.


Why am I being asked to take this survey?

At the University of Pittsburgh, it’s people who help fulfill our mission and achieve our strategic goals.  When you read Pitt’s strategic plan, “The Plan for Pitt,” the critical role that staff members play on all of our campuses is clear. Here are a few goals from the strategic plan for which staff will be essential to the University’s success:

We aspire to be a university that strengthens our communities — from the Pitt community, to our region and the world around us — by expanding engagements, supporting collaborations, and embracing a global perspective.

 We aspire to be a university community that embodies diversity and inclusion as core values that enrich learning, scholarship, and the communities we serve.

We aspire to be a university that supports success through a foundation of strong internal culture, a robust capacity to partner, outstanding infrastructure, and effective operations.

As we strive to fulfill our mission and strategic goals, we need to acquire knowledge of the staff experience so that we may assess our strengths and weaknesses.

Your feedback on this survey will help us understand what is going well and where we have opportunities for improvement. Please share your honest feedback so that we have the best information possible. Survey results will be used to identify ways to enhance the overall climate of the work experience at the University.

What is Qualtrics?

Qualtrics is a global enterprise survey technology provider hired by the University to conduct the survey. Qualtrics provides its technology to more than 8,000 organizations, including many institutions of higher education, in order to create and distribute surveys. Using Qualtrics’ software will enable Pitt leadership to identify engagement drivers and create strategic action plans to improve engagement and climate.

Can all staff take the surveys?

All full- and part-time staff are asked to participate. Students and student workers are not included, as they participate in other surveys geared towards their experiences. Faculty are not included, as they participate in the COACHE survey.

How long will it take to complete the survey?

The survey contains 35-40 statements and several open-ended questions. It should take about 20 minutes to complete.

How do I access the survey?

You can take the survey at work or at home on any desktop or mobile device. The survey can be accessed by clicking on the link sent in the email invitation. If you have any problems accessing the survey, please email

Who will see my survey responses?

Neither your supervisor nor any other University employee will ever see your individual survey responses. Survey responses are combined with all other survey responses from your responsibility center and only reported back in an aggregate grouped format. Your responses are 100 percent confidential.

Will the University know who I am when I’m responding?

One of the most important reasons that Pitt contracted with a third-party provider like Qualtrics was to protect confidentiality so that staff would feel comfortable providing honest responses.

Qualtrics uses unique links for each staff member taking the survey. This means that Qualtrics pre-codes some demographic information into your survey response so that you do not have to answer those questions yourself. This saves you time and gives Pitt accurate and consistent data so that we can analyze the results. Neither Qualtrics nor the University does this to isolate individual responses.

Survey response information will never be reported out in groups of fewer than 10 respondents. For example, if you are the only 25-year-old female on a team, we will never show age and gender information that could isolate your responses from others. We would only show that information if there were more than 10 people on a particular team who fit into these demographics.

Why can’t I forward the survey link?

The survey link is unique to you to ensure that only one survey is completed per staff member. The unique link is also used by Qualtrics to obtain the demographic information necessary for reporting trends. As the confidentiality of your responses is critical, Qualtrics will not report your individual demographic data. Group demographic data will only be reported when there are 10 or more respondents in a particular group.

Once I start the survey, can I access it again if I need to take a break while completing the survey?

Your answers will be stored each time you select the forward arrow button at the bottom of a survey page. If you are interrupted while completing the survey, you can come back to the survey and pick up where you left off.

Am I required to answer all of the survey questions?

You are not required to answer all of the questions on the survey. If a question does not apply to you, you can skip ahead to the next question. There are, however, some questions that will require an answer if you answer the prior questions in a certain way.

What if I have problems accessing the Qualtrics survey site?

For technical questions or problems with the survey site, please contact Qualtrics via the Qualtrics support form or by calling 1-800-340-9194 (available 24/7). You may also send an email to

How will I find out about survey results?

The University will publish survey results. Your responsibility center may hold feedback sessions to share the results for the University and your area. Additionally, the Offices of Diversity and Inclusion and Human Resources may hold town halls to discuss the results and the University’s action plans.

Who can I contact with additional questions about the survey?

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions regarding the survey and/or the survey process, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion or the Office of Human Resources, Employee and Labor Relations. You may also learn more by visiting the Staff Engagement and Climate Survey website.


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