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Professional and Scientific Council

2011 UNI P&S Benefits Survey -- Executive Summary

February 28, 2011
Prepared by Melanie Abbas on behalf of the 
Salary and Fringe Benefits Committee of the P&S Council


The Salary and Fringe Benefits committee of the P&S Council performs surveys to UNI staff every couple years to gather information from P&S staff on their perceptions and needs in regards to the benefits UNI provides them. This survey is also used to determine new or changed benefits that the P&S council could pursue on behalf of their constituents.

Employee Benefits Survey

This year the survey was provided in two pieces, one to all P&S staff that are considered voting members and another which included P&S annual staff members. This survey was divided into multiple sections. The first was to determine the importance and satisfaction of those benefits already provided to UNI P&S staff members. The benefits were divided into health-related, financial, and other benefits. The second set of questions asked about overall benefits satisfaction and understanding of those benefits. The third set of questions related to the budget reductions that were conducted in the 2009-2010 fiscal year and if the participants felt they had a say in what occurred. The survey was ended with 2 questions related to items they would like to see the P&S council investigate further and any other general benefits related comments they would like to share.

Summary of Results

The survey was completed by 252 of the 631 eligible participants resulting in approximately 40% return.

The health-related benefits provided by the university are considered important or very important by the majority of all the employees. Overall, the employees were satisfied with those benefits, with the only areas showing over 10% dissatisfaction in the Dental and Vision plans.

Questions regarding university-provided financial benefits show that wages and retirement plans were of highest importance; with least importance on flex spending and tuition grant programs. Satisfaction with these benefits shows significant differences between the voting P&S members and the P&S Annual appointment staff. The voting members showed 27.5% dissatisfaction with wages compared to 9.1% for Annuals. The only other item showing dissatisfaction above 10% was in professional development.

The other benefits were also rated high in importance, with the least importance in sick leave conversion for the voting members and personal days in the annuals. Since personal days are included in vacation balances, it is possible that the annuals were not aware of the definition since 95.4% rated the vacation days as important or very important. Again the annuals were more satisfied with all of these benefits. In general, there was nothing notable in dissatisfaction levels.

The next section for overall satisfaction mimicked the responses from the individual questions. There were two questions in particular of interest showing that 27.9% would be interested in more health insurance options and 42.6% would like additional dental plan options. In additional, less than 5% responded that UNI’s benefits were worse than other employers.

The next questions which refers to the budget reductions from 2009-2010 showed obvious dissatisfaction with the actions taken at UNI. Although over 72% of the respondents participated in the budget survey of 2009, only 41% felt that the UNI administration listened to their suggestions. In regards to the on campus budget meetings, Annuals responded with a 45.5% that their opinions were heard whereas only 21.8% of the voting members answered similarly.

The final questions on what is of importance for the P&S Council to investigate for benefits showed the top three items for both groups were Flexible Work Schedules, Tuition assistance for family members, and Staff Wellness Programs. Also, some themes showed in the open ended questions. Items that appeared most notably included low wages, dental benefits, vision benefits, tuition assistance programs, and various leave time comments. All the responses to the open ended question were used to generate a word-weighted graphic, with highest use showing as larger words.

Recommendations from Results

The main areas that the Salary and Fringe Benefits Committee should investigate in conjunction with the UNI Benefits staff from this survey are:

  1. Dental Plan options for higher coverage
  2. Vision Plan options for higher coverage
  3. Health Plan options (e.g. higher deductible for lower premium amount)
  4. Tuition Assistance for Employee Family Members