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Friends University

Using the College Employee Satisfaction Survey™ to engage campus employees


Friends University participates in the Higher Learning Commission’s Academic Quality Improvement Program. One of the university’s first quality improvement projects was to benchmark employee satisfaction and engagement using an employee survey.

Many institutions develop their own survey, using in-house expertise and resources. However, Friends’ front-end research on best practices showed this can become a costly endeavor, and take a great deal of research and development time. Instead, the university searched for a survey that could benchmark the university against peer and aspirant institutions, while also allowing for customizing some of the questions. The Ruffalo Noel Levitz instrument was also selected because the university has a successful history of working with other Ruffalo Noel Levitz instruments to collect valuable information about students.


  • An overall engagement and satisfaction rate of 4.06/5.0 indicated employees felt highly engaged and satisfied around the four dimensions of the survey:
    1) Campus Culture, 2) Work Environment, 3) Institutional Goals, and
    4) Involvement in Planning.
  • The university zeroed in on improving several areas of campus in which employees indicated they were not completely satisfied but which employees also rated high in importance.
  • Examples of new policies and procedures that have been put in place include a campuswide performance development evaluation process for staff that includes measurable activities and actions; improvements to professional development programming; and improvements in campuswide communication.
  • With baseline benchmarks in place, the university next plans to conduct a post-test to measure its progress.


“The College Employee Satisfaction Survey helped us pinpoint issues we can address and see how to prioritize them. In the places we identified concerns, we have been able to really dig in to find pieces where we can effect change.”
Stephanie Hargrave, Ph.D.
Director, Institutional Research and Assessment

“This survey has helped us open up a dialogue across campus. One of the results has been a university-wide cross-functional communication committee that has worked to standardize our policies and procedures.”
Kelley Williams
Associate Vice President, Administration & Finance

This case study is used with the permission of Friends University.

Learn about the survey used by Friends University »

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