Employees satisfied with working at TU/e

Figures from the Employee Experience Survey (EES), which was sent by email to all employees in February, show that the average job satisfaction score at TU/e is 7.8 and that employees grade the university as an employer with a 7.6. The survey, which was filled out by 48 percent of employees, also shows that 1 in 10 employees have experienced unacceptable behavior over the past year. Only 40 percent of them reported this.

photo Black Salmon / Shutterstock

This first Employee Experience Survey (EES) establishes a so-called baseline measurement. The aim is to start carrying out this broad survey among employees every two or three years from now on. The response rate of 48 percent is just below the desired rate of 50 percent. This rate was higher among employees at the services than at the departments. Among the departments, Built Environment had the lowest response rate – 29 percent – and Mathematics and Computer Science had the highest rate: 59 percent. Almost all of the services had a response rate of over 70 percent, with Human Recourse Management and the Equipment and Prototype Center – 81 percent each – as clear winners.


The survey covered a wide range of topics, including important issues such as workload and social safety. Employees on both the academic staff (WP) and the support staff (OBP) consider the actual workload to be higher than the acceptable workload. On a scale of 1 to 10, actual workload is 7.3 among the academic staff (the higher the score, the higher the workload), whereas the acceptable workload is assessed with a score of 6.4. The scores among members of the support staff are 6.9 and 5.8 respectively. Too much work and/or too much responsibility was an oft-cited reason for this discrepancy. The differences were relatively small among the departments and services themselves.

Unacceptable behavior

12 percent of respondents said to have witnessed unacceptable behavior over the past year, and 10 percent had experienced this kind of behavior themselves. Exclusion based on race (43 percent), nationality (39 percent) and hierarchy/authority (36 percent) were mentioned most often. 26 percent of employees at Industrial Design claimed to have witnessed instances of unacceptable behavior, which is the highest percentage among departments. 

The group referred to in the survey as ‘Executive Board’ has the highest score among the services: 31 percent. Monique van der Hagen-de Boer, who supervised the survey in her capacity as project leader at HRM, says that this term does not refer to the three members of the Executive Board, but to the 9 department deans and 21 managing directors of the departments, services, TU/e innovation Space and the Student Sports Center. That high score of 31 percent could possibly be explained, Van der Hagen-de Boer says, by the fact that these thirty managers are often presented with complaints in their position of leadership. This high score is followed by the Communication Expertise Center, where 24 percent of empoloyees claim to have witnessed unacceptable behavior.

51 percent of employees who witnessed undesirable behavior called the guilty party to account when the instance occurred. 38 percent also spoke with the victim and 36 percent informed their managers. Only 40 percent of victims reported instances of unacceptable behavior or spoke about it with a manager.

Undesirable academic behavior was reported by an average of 2 percent of employees, and 3 percent indicated that they suspected this kind of behavior. The highest percentage of suspected undesirable academic behavior – 12 percent – was reported by employees of Eindhoven School of Education (ESoE). 45 percent of employees with such a suspicion said that they didn’t report this to a manager or discuss it with anyone.

Hybrid working

The survey also included questions about hybrid working, which was a reality for many employees throughout 2021 due to COVID-19. The conclusion is that generally speaking, most employees consider it an improvement compared to the pre-COVID situation. Members on the supports staff feel slightly more positive about this than members on the academic staff. They’re also satisfied with the information provision and the agreements that were made with their managers concerning this issue. In addition, employees are very positive about the degree of autonomy they have in carrying out their tasks (4.1 on a scale of 1 to 5).

Interestingly, almost half of respondents said that they continued to work during the past year despite the fact that they were ill. This doesn’t apply to the majority, 54 percent, but 26 percent continued to work for 1 to 2 days, 11 percent for 3 to 5 days, and 9 percent for more than 5 days.

Every department and service will receive their own EES report. A so-called discussion instruction EES had been developed with which the individual teams can discuss the results. The departments and services now need to work on improvements based on the insights of this EES. As a first step, an Action Plan will be drawn up.

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