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Case Study: A university dives deep into 'otherness' at work

Jul 20, 2020 4:24:43 PM


A university used Platos to explore themes of 'Otherness', gender equity, diversity and culture in the workplace. They turned their staff's candid and freely-given stories into data for precise, "trustable" action. Read more.

The Problem

A number of successive annual culture review surveys had flagged issues among staff that posed challenges to the university’s commitment to providing a safe and productive workplace, with potential impacts on some staff's wellbeing.

It was one thing to know there was a problem for many, but — until Platos — there was no way the university’s management could know enough about what had to change to fulfill their duty of care and improve conditions, in particular, for staff minority groups.

The university, as a globally competitive brand, also had an eye to ensuring it was best in class to retain and attract top flight employees, creating a virtuous circle for their reputation for attracting students.

The issues the university needed to dive deeper to understand out of their culture review survey included:

  • Gender equity
  • Cultural and linguistic diversity, and
  • Workplace behaviour.

The Solution

As part of a Platos Subscription Package, all professional and academic staff were invited to a Platos forum to discuss these issues amongst themselves, and with an independent moderator. Many different points of view on very specific experiences raised in the discussion gave the university unprecedented access to the different voices on these issues.

Employee workplace culture focus questions and online forum dimensions

The Outcome

Over a week, more than 700+ staff participated in the conversations, telling stories both good and bad, and proposing specific solutions.

Among many issues raised were the lack of accountability when procedures intended to protect against gender and diversity breaches were disregarded; fear about what would happen if a complaint was made; and how these issues could be dealt with.

One of the most powerful outcomes from this forum was the fact that these stories were directly from the university’s people, and not hiding behind an expert report.

The AI analysis through Platos was able to tell the university which groups felt most strongly about which issues, which told them where the most urgent changes needed to be made.

The use of a pre-forum onboarding survey meant that mood, sentiment and specific issues raised could be matched to comparative groups, such as academic/professional, gender, faculty, and STEMM or non-STEMM without any risk of revealing identity.

Changes to policy guidelines, as well as greater and more proactive communication of university codes of practice meant that the university was able to reduce its risk of noncompliant behaviour in the workplace and ensure their culturally and linguistically diverse workforce members feel less excluded.

Platos turned people's stories into data for precise, “trustable” action

The University could sense their staff didn’t trust surveys to be anonymous, so the proven anonymity on Platos was a very powerful tool in bringing out their freely given, candid stories.

Topics: Case Studies
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