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University purpose: Building a culture of collegiality & engagement – across & beyond ANU

Analysis of performance against purpose

The VOICE survey is the primary tool for determining the level of staff engagement at the University. In 2018 the University sought to include a broader range of staff in this exercise, expanding the survey to allow casual and sessional staff views to also be captured. A response rate of 30 per cent was achieved, which is higher than expected and better than industry standards (range 12–20 per cent). The engagement scores were also better than expected and are positive compared to the sector.

Overall, for permanent and fixed-term staff the engagement results are positive, especially in the areas of organisational mission and direction, employee engagement, job satisfaction, research, teamwork and organisational commitment. Many of these are above higher education sector standards.

Areas identified as requiring improvement concerned University processes (policies and procedures), cross-unit cooperation and technology, which are issues that impact engagement across all of the higher education sector.

ANU is working towards a more inclusive approach to engagement between staff and students. The decision to limit the student growth of the University to enhance the university experience is a critical part of this strategy.

Performance criterion

Improved collegiality as indicated by the ‘participation cluster’ results in the VOICE survey

Criterion source

ANU Strategic Plan 2019–2022, Key Performance Indicator 10, p.25

Result against performance criterion

Achieved

Analysis of performance

The most recent VOICE survey was run in 2018, and a new survey will be undertaken in 2020. The results, when compared with 2011, represent a wide-spread improvement.

Since 2014, ANU has improved in all areas across the participation cluster, except teaching (which went backward, but not at a statistically significant level), and since 2016 there has been an improvement or maintenance in all indicators, except for workload.

Overall these results are a positive and strong endorsement on culture from the staff of the University.

Improved collegiality as indicated by the ‘participation cluster’ results in the VOICE survey

Performance criterion

Increased number of engaged alumni year-on-year

Criterion source

ANU Strategic Plan 2019–2022, Key Performance Indicator 11, p.25

Result against performance criterion

Partially achieved

Analysis of performance

With the rise of social media and a global workforce, the way the University engages with its alumni continues to adapt to meet that challenge. While the performance figures presented above are accurate, the current methodology for measuring performance is flawed in design and fails to capture a wider range of engagement levels. The current rolling 12-month alumni metrics are skewed by the annual mass upload of new graduate data every December. This causes an ‘artificial’ peak at the beginning of the yearly cycle, inevitably resulting in a steady decline for the year ahead that does not accurately reflect that year’s performance.

In order to provide a more strategic and meaningful reflection of engagement performance, from 2020 the University will shift to a revised methodology, starting each year’s measures from zero. This minor change will mean that future measures for alumni engagement are both cumulative and comparable year on year. In line with this, the University is seeking to review the alumni engagement program and metrics during 2020 to determine a better definition of engagement that reflects modern communication methods and engagement strategies.

The University’s alumni program provides former students with a rewarding and influential experience to positively impact their level of engagement and involvement with the University. Despite the negative trend in the KPI calculation itself the University has had a positive year of ongoing connection to its Australian and global communities through:

  • 51 events held across 14 countries and engaging more than 2,500 ANU alumni
  • the Inaugural Alumni Weekend, with 618 attendees
  • more than 15,300 engaged alumni across dedicated alumni social media channels
  • the launch of ANU Women’s Alumni Network (256 members)
  • more than 250 targeted e-communications sent to over 60,000 recipients
  • Alumni Awards announcements via social media channels, which attracted more than 90,000 views.

Increased number of engaged alumni year-on-year