Nov 13 2018

Our Staff Survey is open until Friday 16 November, providing you with an opportunity to share your feedback on working at Royal Holloway. We recently caught up with Ellie Rayner, Head of Organisational Development, to find out why it's important to fill out the survey, what College-wide and departmental actions have taken place since the 2016 Staff Survey, and when and how the results will be shared.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role as Head of Organisational Development and Diversity?

I started my career as an HR generalist, and soon discovered that I had a passion for people and organisational development.  Organisations achieve things through the skills, talents, efforts and commitment of their people, and OD is about helping organisations and people to grow, develop, change and adapt to new circumstances.  I lead the Organisational Development and Diversity team based in HR, working on a whole range of initiatives aimed at enabling this to happen.

2. The Staff Survey is currently open until Friday 16 November. Can you tell us a bit more about why we have a Staff Survey and why it’s important?

This is the third time the College has run a Staff Survey - it’s happened every two years now since 2014.  Like the National Student Survey, it gives us a good understanding of what life is like for people at the College, this time from the perspective of staff.  The survey provides us with insight and an opportunity to understand what is working well and what might need to change.  There’s also space to add comments which enables people to tell us a little more about what’s important to them.  Themes that we identify from the survey can be explored further through workshops, where we talk more about what we can do to improve things.

3. Why should colleagues fill the survey in?

Because it provides a completely confidential way for colleagues to give the College some feedback on what it’s like to work here.  The more people who fill in the survey, the more reflective this information will be of a wide range of views.

4. What College-wide and departmental actions have been taken since the 2016 Staff Survey?

Lots of things!  Through the last survey, three clear priorities were identified for the College level action plan:  a clearer shared purpose and priorities, which in turn can inform resource management, greater understanding and collaboration between departments and better staff facilities.  The priority on shared purpose and priorities fed into engagement and initiatives around the mid-term strategy and the cascading of College priorities via the new Performance Development Review process.  The need for greater understanding and collaboration between departments has led to a new work-shadowing scheme and initiatives to try and extend the mentoring network (although we always need more mentors!)  The revised intranet has also helped with presenting information on different departments and what they do, and we have invited staff to attend the usual market place event that we run for new starters to come and meet representatives from different teams.  On staff facilities, the re-development of the old Founder’s East Reading Room as a staff and PGR student space is really welcome.  It’s also particularly pleasing to see the work that departments have done and there are some really good examples here of the initiatives that can be taken.  There is always more to do and I’m hoping that through the survey this time we’ll get some insight into what colleagues think about developments since the 2016 survey.

5. What plans have you got to share this year’s survey results?

Th Staff Survey results will be available in January, and department results from early February.  As in 2016, we will be running workshops with departments to assist in putting together action plans, and give more feedback to input into the College action plan.

6. What do you enjoy most about working within the HR Department?

The contact I get with so many people across the College who do such a wide variety of things.  I really enjoy working in a campus environment, coming into contact with academics and hearing about their research and teaching, and with our committed and dedicated professional services colleagues who work hard to ensure that the College operates effectively.  Being in a department where I get to support the development of the College and its people is really rewarding.

7. What do you enjoy doing outside of your work life?

Music – I play the piano most days and wish I played better.  I also sing in a local choir which I enjoy very much - led by a Royal Holloway music alumnus!

8. You may have seen our latest recruitment campaign, ‘Find your why’. We are interested to find out what Royal Holloway has helped you to discover about yourself…

That’s a big question!  Royal Holloway is a great place to explore and be creative in what interests and inspires you most.  For me this is people and organisational development, which I love, but I also get to learn more about the arts, science, history, politics and a whole host of other things through hearing about the research and teaching that happens at the College.  I’ve found that I really enjoy being in a place where such a variety of ideas and subjects are explored, contributing to our own knowledge and understanding, that of our students and wider society.