2010 Pulse Survey


We are pleased to present the results from the recent “Taking the Pulse of SEAS” survey. Thanks once again for your participation.

The short survey was designed to gauge the progress the school is making in key areas since the prior internal SEAS staff survey (conducted in 2008) and the University-wide Great Places to Work Survey (conducted in 2009).

As the results of the prior surveys suggested that community members were concerned about internal communications, performance and career development, and community building, the pulse survey focused on these issues in particular.

A brief synopsis of the results is below. You can see the full survey results (an assessment of the quantitative data) by downloading the PDF.



82 members of the SEAS staff (not including research appointees) took the 15-question survey during June 2010. The response rate was 67%.

Key Findings Based Upon the Responses of Participating Staff

Internal communication efforts have been well received. Specifically, the majority of participants rated the internal e-letters, the Dean’s All-Hands Meetings, and periodic updates from administrators (about organizational changes/new hires) as a 1 or 2 (on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being excellent). Overall, 7 out the 12 internal communications efforts were ranked as a 1-2 by 50% of participants or more.

70% of participants reported being much more or more informed about what is happening at SEAS (relative to a year ago).

While 56% of participants reported that local leaders are doing a better job of communicating goals and priorities, they reported that they would like local leaders to do more to explain the reasons behind decisions and be more visible and accessible.

Over 50% of participants reported being more able to find appropriate information about policies and online tools versus a year ago.

The most preferred communication method is broadcast email (nearly 70% of participants ranked it as their first choice), followed by web, meetings, and then social networking.

33% of participants are /very /interested and 38% of participants are interested in having various administrators or offices host periodic discussions about issues specific to staff.

While nearly 60% of participants strongly agree or agree that they understand the purpose of the newly formed Joint Council, they majority are not sure of its specific activities and how to best use the council for helping with work-related issues.

A majority of participants are interested in HR training programs related to career development and improving computer/software skills. Nearly 60% of participants feel they have time to attend such activities.

Only 35% of participants view the performance management process (PDP) as a helpful tool to receive feedback.

92% of participants would be willing to take additional surveys about improving the working environment of SEAS.

We are pleased to present the results from the recent “Taking the Pulse of SEAS” survey. Thanks once again for your participation.

Action Items

Based upon the survey, plans are in place to …

Enhance the Intranet site (with a working group/staff surveys)

- Make the All Hands shorter and more staff inclusive

- Consider staff-specific team meetings

- Stick to a regular schedule to more promptly answer Q&A questions

- When possible, consolidate internal communications

- Conduct more specific, and periodic surveys

- Hold an "introduction meeting" to the Joint Council and develop a plan
to more effectively communicate the JC's purpose and activities

- Offer an alternative format for completing the PDP


Steve Marley
Director of Human Resources
Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Pierce Hall 223
29 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-495-4586
Fax: 617-496-2260