The University Record, September 19, 1994

Recommendations of the Work Environment Research Group

Leadership

Culture change training for leaders. Staff members holding leadership positions in the University should be exposed to the cultural aspects of quality improvement. The ability to change the institution’s culture toward a more mature quality approach will depend on how effectively it is initiated and articulated by leaders throughout the University.

Leadership commitment. Accountability must be maintained for commitment to quality improvement among the leadership of staff units throughout the University. Including measurable criteria of quality improvement in regular performance appraisals can be an important mechanism to foster change.

Face-to-face dissemination. Results of this study should be disseminated in face-to-face meetings with all members of the leadership of University units, and then with all respondents. Respondents should be asked for suggestions regarding the improvements implied by the results as well as the best ways to interpret the results.

Action planning and involvement. Feedback without action will likely increase employee dissatisfaction. Conducting such a survey raises expectations. Action teams and task forces should be formed to address key issues arising from the data.

Targets for change

Staff recognition, involvement and standards. One of the most notable weaknesses of the University lies in its inadequate recognition and reward for good service, good ideas and high-quality performance. Involving staff members in making and implementing decisions, and providing them with clear standards and measures of performance also are areas needing improvement.

Staff training and assessment. Whereas opportunities for work-related education and training are rated as satisfactory by staff members, training in advanced quality principles has neither occurred nor been integrated into the daily work of most staff members. Staff members should be trained in practical application of advanced quality principles, but they also should be held accountable for the results of this training.

Quality culture. Development of an advanced quality culture entails not only articulating quality values and designing quality processes and practices, but also requires personalizing quality. Quality values must be linked to the personal mindset and life-style of each staff member.

Staff support. It is crucial that special attention be paid to providing additional support to staff members by empowering them to make decisions and implement changes, involving them in team processes, ensuring that all are treated with dignity and respect, fully disclosing information and providing frequent feedback, engendering trust and loyalty through honesty and fairness, and providing additional non-monetary recognition and rewards.

Process improvement. The study’s findings make clear that the application in daily work of step-by-step problem-solving processes, efficiency-enhancing procedures, the elimination of bureaucratic roadblocks, and a focus on process more than structure are key to the enhancement of quality outcomes. Specific improvement efforts should be undertaken in designing and implementing quality-related processes throughout the University.

Recommendations for follow-up

Universitywide follow-up study. Administration of this survey should be done every two years or so as a regular part of each unit’s data gathering and improvement efforts.

Comparative data base. A sample of institutions comparable to the Uni-

versity should be surveyed in order to create a comparison data set.