We are little more than halfway through our hybrid pilot and that means time for another survey!
The first part of this survey will have you assess Advancement’s hybrid working environment. The results will be compared to benchmarks established in May 2022.
The second part of this survey is the work-from-home check-in. The results will be compared to the benchmarks established in June 2020.
We know that “survey fatigue” is real, but we also know that anonymous surveys are still the best tool we have to help us understand your thoughts and feelings and craft solutions that take your experiences into account. We hope you’ll take a few minutes and share your insights with us.
Please note, the survey will take approximately five minutes and all responses will remain anonymous. We thank you for your feedback and participation.
Summerhill employee activity
It's been just over seven months since Summerhill officially opened for business on Apr. 11, and I wanted to give everyone a snapshot of the Office of Advancement activity on campus.
According to the booking tool, the average number of staff on any given day is eight (with a high of 25 the week of Homecoming) which is a desk occupancy of 14 per cent (eight staff, 55 desks). In terms of meeting rooms, 53 groups have booked time.
It is encouraging to see people using our spaces on-campus and we know there will be variable usage over time. We will continue to monitor over the coming months as this data will inform any permanent space decisions ALT will make at the end of the hybrid pilot.
Summerhill support and fall cleaning
Now that Summerhill is physically open for business, it’s become clear that we need more support in the building to respond to visitors and provide timely customer service. Recent examples, such as a lost Dean in the halls of Summerhill, missed connections with couriers, confusion around deliveries, and the physical state of the building have been taken into consideration when making the decision that beginning Monday, Nov. 21, the Alumni Services team will be onsite 100 per cent of the time.
As well, during a recent walkthrough of Summerhill, it's become clear that it is time for another purge and sort to organize the building before our in-person office days in December. A deep-clean of the kitchens, meeting rooms, hallways and offices is well underway.
National Philanthropy Day Awards
The Association of Fundraising Professionals Southeastern Ontario Chapter held its annual conference and National Philanthropy Day Awards yesterday. Queen's was proud to be the lead sponsor at the conference but perhaps more importantly, we are exceptionally proud that one of our own was recognized in this forum.
Among many incredible donor and corporate nominees, Emily Edwards was recognized as the 2022 Outstanding Fundraising Professional by the Chapter.
Emily's nomination spoke to her charisma, strategic thinking, and willingness to step-up and face challenges head on.
"She always sees people's strengths and helps them develop their skills so they can do their best work."
Congratulations, Emily. Your commitment, drive, and determination show through in all that you do, and this award is proof that you are well respected among your peers as an outstanding fundraiser.
Don’t forget to register for the year-end gathering
Plans are also underway for Advancement’s year-end gathering taking place on Thursday, Dec. 8. More information will be included in next week’s edition of ALTogether Now, including a detailed list of volunteer activities and how to sign-up.
In the meantime, please remember to use the RSVP tool to accept the calendar invitation. The deadline to accept is Wednesday, Nov. 23.
This is a friendly reminder that the next Advancement Leadership Team Q&A session will be at 11 am ET on Thursday, Nov. 24.
For those who are new to Queen’s Advancement, the rules for these open Q&A sessions are as follows: attendance is optional; anyone can ask any member of the ALT any question on any topic; and there will be no pre-set agendas so the Q&A session will last as long as attendees have questions (the optional Zoom meeting already in your calendar is booked for up to 45 minutes). Please come prepared with the questions you would like to personally pose to ALT.
We understand that some people may not be comfortable asking questions in front of a group. If you would prefer to submit your question(s) via an anonymous survey, we are happy to provide that option. Peggy Shanks will manage these anonymous questions, submitters will not be identified to Peggy through the survey, and she will ask the questions on your behalf at the ALT Q&A.
Please consider questions you would like the ALT to answer and either come prepared to ask them Thursday, Nov. 24 or submit them via the anonymous survey by 4 pm Tuesday, Nov. 22. Members of the ALT look forward to the discussion, and we will do our best to answer your questions.
Holiday coverage for 1-800 phone line
As in previous years, the Office of Advancement requires that the 1-800 phone line be answered during the university's holiday closing to serve alumni and friends who may call to make an end-of-year donation or have other questions.
Advancement staff are invited to volunteer for shifts during the closure. There are 12 half-day shifts available, mornings (8:30am-12:00pm) and afternoons (1:00pm-4:30pm).
Those staff members who volunteer will be given 1 full day of vacation (lieu) for each half-day shift they cover. To allow as many staff as possible to participate, we ask that you sign up for a maximum of two shifts.
Coverage will take place in Summerhill 109. A training video will be provided in advance and a hard-copy manual will be left at the assigned workstation for reference purposes, including a supply of pre-printed gift forms.
Dates requiring morning and afternoon phone coverage are as follows:
• Monday, December 26 = morning and afternoon, 1 person per shift
• Tuesday, December 27 = morning and afternoon, 1 person per shift
• Wednesday, December 28 = morning and afternoon, 1 person per shift
• Thursday, December 29 = morning and afternoon, 1 person per shift
• Friday, December 30 = morning and afternoon, 1 person per shift
• Monday, January 2 = morning and afternoon, 1 person per shift
Please note that a member of ALT will be available to provide "on-call" support during each shift should assistance be needed.
If you are interested in supporting this important service to our alumni and friends, please contact Amy Offord. Shifts will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis – kindly respond to Amy by Friday, Dec. 2.
Advancing your voice
We received the following question through the Advancing Your Voice web form:
(Form question) Please provide details related to your comments, questions, suggestions, concerns:
What is being done to retain staff? It seems every day we see on QUIRC that someone is leaving, usually from the central team.
What is your desired outcome?
For ALT to recognize that something isn't working and that it isn't normal for people to be constantly unhappy, leaving, and looking for new opportunities outside of advancement.
If you have identified a concern, please detail any solutions you have for improvement, resolution or to reach your desired outcome:
Perhaps, remote first isn’t the solution for a cohesive team. It seems really disconnected and no one knows what is going on.
According to KCI, turnover rates in higher-education advancement teams were between 15-20 per cent as the workforce evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic between 2020-22. In the last two fiscal years, the Office of Advancement's turnover rate has been 23-26 per cent. Since the beginning of this fiscal year in May 2022, the turnover rate of advancement professionals across the university has been 17 per cent.
While confidentiality prevents a full disclosure of the background to individual departures, we can confirm that the departure of every staff member is assessed for rationale, and exit interviews are conducted to understand if something needs to change. ALT also monitors staff turnover rates and reviews a variety of HR metrics on a quarterly basis. Based on that aggregate data, we can share that our turnover rate in the past two years has been influenced by changes in the pandemic-era workforce, as well as internal reorganizations.
ALT will continue to review trends in staff turnover rates to ascertain if there are other root causes influencing this. In the meantime, efforts to retain staff include all the changes coming out of Building a Better Workplace (BBW) in 2021. For anyone new to Advancement since then, BBW was an opportunity for Queen’s advancement staff to dream about their ideal workplace. Relevant changes from BBW include the development of the first Hybrid-work Pilot at Queen’s to provide flexibility for employees to choose when and where to work, and several initiatives to increase staff recognition such as the development of Staff Recognition and Service Practices announced in December 2021.
While building a cohesive team is undoubtedly different in a remote-first environment, most Queen’s advancement staff still support this work arrangement. As per the Hybrid Work Assessment Survey in June, 82 per cent of respondents expressed overall satisfaction with our hybrid working environment. Another survey will be conducted to assess staff perceptions now that this pilot has been underway for more than six months, and all this input will be taken into consideration in the new year when we consider the future of Hybrid Work for the Office of Advancement at Queen’s.
The Employee Spotlight celebrates the arrival of our new and existing staff by profiling responses they share through a fun and informal survey that will help us get to know them better. Be sure to review these profiles and use these fun facts and tidbits to find commonalities, embrace differences, and spark a conversation.
This week, we talk to Patricia Falzon, our Executive Director, Principal Gifts. Learn which fictional family she wants to be a part of and why.
Jobs with Advancement
We need your recruitment help. Know great talent that would be a good addition to our team? If so, please promote the vacancies below with your networks and let’s find some amazing new team members.
Applications (including a cover letter and résumé) must be submitted through CareerQ. For additional information on this posting, please reach out to either Carla Ferreira Rodrigues or the hiring manager for the position you are interested in.
|Position||Competition number||Closing date||Grade||Type|
|Specialist, Communications & Digital Engagement||J1122-0216||November 27, 2022||8||Term|
|Officer, Stewardship & Events||J0922-1513||November 27, 2022||8||Term|
|Development Officer||J1122-0132||November 28, 2022||8||Permanent (Continuing)|
|Social Media & Communication Specialist||J1122-0234||December 4, 2022||8||Permanent (Continuing)|