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University of Copenhagen cancels satisfaction surveys

Surveys measuring student and staff satisfaction at UCPH cancelled and postponed to save money. Not because of anticipated negative results, says HR head

Students and employees’ satisfaction with the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) administration, and employees’ physical and mental well-being will not be investigated until late 2016. This is after one survey has been cancelled and one postponed. The decision is due to the financial cutbacks UCPH is facing, says health and safety manager of HR, Ingrid Skovsmose Jensen, not because of the anticipated negative results.

Both surveys were originally meant to take place in March 2016, but when it became clear that the university would have to reduce its spending by up to DKK 300 million, and risked larger organisational changes at the same time, management decided to cancel and postpone the two surveys.

The choice to cancel the satisfaction survey was not caused by anticipated negative results, emphasises Ingrid Skovsmose Jensen. “Of course the cutbacks could influence how people respond. But they would also create reservations on our side as to how to follow up on the results. Both managers and employees would be able to look back at the results and say, ‘Well, that was just because the organisation was in a special situation where a lot of reductions were made.’ This could deter us from wanting to follow up on the results.”

Bad timing

Keeping the surveys in March would have added pressure to the administration, Ingrid Skovsmose Jensen says, and this would not have been appropriate at the same time as organisational changes and layoffs will be taking place. The Danish Working Environment Act requires that when larger organisational changes are implemented, a new survey is carried out to assess employees’ health and safety. This could have resulted in two very similar surveys in a year, had the first one not been postponed.

“We had been running the survey for two years and had reached the last reading before the initiative was to be evaluated. This is quite a big task, and in light of the amount of tasks we have this spring – including an analysis of the entire administration – it was one of the ones we could eliminate,” adds Mette Thomassen, deputy head of HR.

universitypost@adm.ku.dk

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