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2020 Staff Engagement Survey FAQ

Why is Vanderbilt doing a Staff Engagement Survey?

We strive for Vanderbilt to be a place where everyone can thrive and be successful. We do our best work when we listen to each other, embrace different perspectives, and take action to uphold our principles of trust, transparency and teamwork. The survey is a confidential way to collect feedback in order to recognize what we are doing well and where we need to make improvements. The goal of the survey is to create a stronger workplace.

Who is eligible to take the survey?

All part-time and full-time benefits-eligible staff who work at Vanderbilt University.

Will faculty also be surveyed?

Faculty will participate in the national COACHE (Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education) survey beginning the week of Feb. 10. The COACHE survey identifies areas of success and challenges facing faculty and is more relevant to their academic, scholarly and clinical experience. The COACHE survey and Staff Engagement Survey both will be conducted this spring, and both will serve to support the university’s overall commitment to listening to its community to inform future action. 

How do I take the survey?

  •  Staff members will receive instructions in an email from (our survey vendor) on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The subject line will include  Vanderbilt Staff Engagement Survey.
  • The confidential survey is taken online, and paper versions will not be available. We will offer computer labs for employees who do not have computer access. The labs will be held in the Baker Building 10th Floor Training Room at the following times:
    • Tuesday, Feb. 11: 7–11 a.m.
    • Wednesday, Feb. 19: 4–7 p.m.
  • The survey will close on Friday, Feb. 21.

I deleted the email from Gallup. Can I still take the survey?

Yes. In many cases, staff will receive a reminder email or invitation. Also, you may contact Gallup Client Support by emailing

What does the survey measure?

Staff engagement isn’t the same as happiness or morale; rather, an engaged staff member is involved in and enthusiastic about their work. They are in a role that uses their talents; they know the scope of their job; and they are always looking for new and different ways to achieve the outcomes of their role. The survey is focused on items aimed at measuring the individual needs of staff and the degree to which Vanderbilt is providing clarity, support, encouragement and development for all.

Many of the survey questions ask about the person I report to. How do I know who this person is?

Respond based on the person who does your performance review and who regularly assigns and oversees your work.

I work in a very small department. Will my supervisor be able to figure out how I responded? 

No. Gallup administers the entire survey independently of Vanderbilt. The university only receives the aggregated results. If you are in a small department, your answers will be combined with other responses to ensure confidentiality. Please note they will see anonymous responses to the open-ended questions. If an insufficient number of staff participate in the survey in any given workgroup, the report will show results for larger, relevant groups in the organization. No one at Vanderbilt will have access to data that identifies specific staff responses.

What if I changed jobs during the past year? Which job should I reference when I take the survey?

 Your answers should reflect the position you are in at the time you take the survey.

What happens after the survey concludes?

  • We will compare Vanderbilt’s results to other premier higher education institutions and top organizations in the nation.
  • Vanderbilt leadership will use the survey’s findings to identify priorities for providing the support, resources and information staff need to carry out the work and mission of the university.
  • Managers will use the results to create action plans with their teams to address areas of concern, such as culture, relationships with supervisors, training and education opportunities, pay and benefits, communication, and work environment.
  • There will be opportunities to provide more feedback through focus groups facilitated by Gallup.

How will leaders and managers use the survey results?

  • Leaders who supervise staff will receive results so they can identify areas for improvement. Leaders and team members will then work together to create action plans.
  • If a leader doesn’t receive results, they can use results from their larger unit to open the door for meaningful discussions about issues that matter to the team.

Is the survey voluntary?

Yes. That said, the university strongly encourages all staff to participate in the survey and to answer questions openly and honestly. Completing the survey means that you are sharing your experiences, voicing your opinions and, as a result, actively participating in building a better workplace.

Will the survey be available in languages other than English?

Yes. You may take the survey in English, Spanish, French or Arabic. The initial invitation from Gallup to participate in the survey will be in English, but once starting the survey, you may select your language preference from among the four choices. In addition, worksheets that help with translating the survey will be available for Bosnian/Serbo-Croatian, Swahili and Kurdish speakers. For more information about the translation worksheets, please contact for assistance. 

What if I did not receive a Gallup invitation email to take the survey?

Only partial and full benefits eligible staff members are eligible to take this survey. If your assignment category falls into one of these categories, please make sure to check your Focused/Other and Junk folders in Outlook. If you still did not receive an email, please contact us at