Four Questions for the President

President Michael Hengartner on the employee survey.

Interview: David Werner; English translation by Philip Isler

Michael Hengartner, this summer UZH carried out an employee survey. What’s your reaction to the results?

Michael Hengartner: They are mostly very positive. The working environment was rated very highly, which I was particularly pleased about. The working culture at UZH is characterized by respect and appreciation for each other, which is the bedrock of successful collaboration. It is also clear from the survey that employees feel aligned with the values of our organization, and have a sense of connection with the university. The survey also shows, however, that there are areas which need work – for example leadership and management, academic career development and sustainability. And of course the space situation (buildings, offices, etc.) needs to be improved.

What happens with the results of the survey now?

The Executive Board of the University has already drawn conclusions from the survey and introduced initial measures at a university-wide level. The same process is also happening in the faculties, institutes, departments and offices of UZH. We’ve asked the individual organizational units to involve their employees in discussions about the results. For me, that is essential. We have to talk to one another to find out what we want to change and what should be kept. Our university is in good shape already. It is now up to us to make it even better.

UZH has new Strategic Principles. What is their purpose?

The Strategic Principles are a broad set of ideas about the direction in which UZH should develop in the foreseeable future. The more diverse the UZH family becomes, the more important it is to have such core principles on which we all agree. They make it easier for us to work together and help us reach good decisions that are consistent and compatible with decisions in other areas. Without such guiding principles, we would continually have to reevaluate our basic stance for each new decision.

Are the Strategic Principles also relevant for employees and students?

Absolutely. All UZH members are invited to take part in the future development of our university. The new Strategic Principles expressly stress that one of the characteristics of UZH is its participatory culture. But of course people can only join in and direct the discussion if they are well informed. Knowing what is in the Strategic Principles is therefore a minimum requirement for participation in university life.