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Case studies:

Liverpool John Moores Uni: Renewing Trust in Employee Surveys

LJMU’s Headline Stats


engagement score


culture & values



A beacon for Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), a distinguished post-1992 institute located in the heart of Liverpool, is known for its commitment to academic excellence, community focus, and environmental sustainability. With over 28,000 students and 2,500 staff members, LJMU has established itself as a beacon of what a city and its educational institutions can achieve together.


“I couldn’t fault People Insight if I tried. The team have been massively helpful in guiding us through the system and getting out the information we really needed”

Andy Keegan – Head of Reward, Staff Engagement and Wellbeing

Facing challenges

Despite LJMU’s rich history of valuing employee input, they encountered a recurring challenge with their staff engagement surveys. In their previous employee surveys, whether conducted in-house or with external support, post-survey feedback was often very slow to be shared and translated into planned actions, sometimes not at all.

This lag in actioning feedback led to frustration among stakeholders and reduced the perceived effectiveness of the survey initiatives. As a knock-on effect, both participation and engagement for these surveys had been on a downward trajectory before the decision was made to pause this initiative for an extended period of time.

This hiatus provided a valuable moment of reflection, prompting LJMU to re-evaluate their survey strategy. It was clear that a fresh approach was needed to revitalise their employee engagement efforts and restore confidence in the survey process.

Selecting a new survey partner

In their pursuit to reintroduce annual engagement surveys with a more responsive approach, LJMU chose to partner with us here at People Insight. The decision was influenced by several factors; in particular, the intuitive platform design and robust benchmarking data proved highly appealing.

Drawing on our experience from working with over 50 HE institutes on employee engagement surveys, our team’s expertise and the reliability of our benchmarking data provided LJMU with valuable comparative insights.


“It’s very user-friendly. People who love data and detail will be able to drill down to a deeper level, but the platform still makes it easy to takeaway the key information in seconds”

Andy Keegan – Head of Reward, Staff Engagement and Wellbeing

Adapting to new practices

A Digital Approach

Before partnering with People Insight, LJMU’s surveys had been delivered in various formats. However, recognising the need for a more streamlined and efficient process, LJMU opted for an all-digital format for their 2023 survey. This shift was grounded in the confidence that today, all employees at LJMU possess the necessary technological resources to complete it in this manner.

Beyond convenience, this transition aligns with their environmental goals, marking a significant stride towards a paperless approach. LJMU strategically used this transition as an opportunity to engage staff and generate excitement about their active involvement in the survey process.

Incentivising Engagement

To add an extra touch of motivation and to further align the survey with the university’s environmental goals, LJMU took advantage of People Insight’s partnership with the Eden Reforestation Project.

For every response received, LJMU committed to planting a tree. In this survey alone, with over 1400 responses, LJMU contributed to the planting of over 1400 new mangrove trees in regions such as Nepal, Mozambique, and Madagascar. This initiative not only helps restore critical ecosystems but also empowers local communities by providing employment opportunities.

Achievements and vision

LJMU achieved an impressive staff engagement score of 76%, surpassing the HEI benchmark by 3%. Their excellence extended across key themes, with scores in Purpose, Culture & Values, and Health & Safety landing above HEI benchmarks, at 75%, 80%, and 80% respectively.

The survey also revealed areas with room for improvement, particularly in Leadership and Recognition & Reward. This constructive feedback provides a clear roadmap for focused actions in the near future.

This milestone survey has now become an integral component of LJMU’s already comprehensive people plan which extends through to 2030. Significantly, many of the key performance indicators within their strategy now directly correlate with questions and responses from the staff engagement survey.


“My favourite thing about the platform is that it gives you the ability to move quickly. I think everything’s at your fingertips to act quickly in terms of communication and then subsequent quick wins”

Andy Keegan – Head of Reward, Staff Engagement and Wellbeing

Sharing the progress

Upon receiving the survey results, LJMU brought in Kate Pritchard, Head of Consulting at People Insight, to provide an external perspective. Kate’s expertise contextualised the results within the broader landscape of universities and the 2023 working environment.

LJMU took deliberate steps to promptly share the results. They began by distributing headline figures to all stakeholders. Subsequently, more detailed information was provided to key dashboard users and the senior leadership gained access to view comments from any open-ended questions.

This approach has rekindled optimism at LJMU. The belief in the power of the People Insight partnership lies in our action-oriented methodology. By implementing targeted actions based on survey insights, LJMU aims to demonstrate the tangible impact of these initiatives.

As more staff engage, future survey data will become more robust, ensuring that planned actions are precisely aligned with the genuine needs and aspirations of their workforce.


What’s next?

Three key areas were marked for improvement – collaboration, learning and development, and leadership. Notably, within the leadership category, LJMU observed a significant number of respondents choosing not to provide an opinion.

This prompted reflection on the visibility and exposure of the leadership team – do employees have sufficient insight into the activities and involvement of their leaders? The People Insight platform’s ‘Action Centre’ feature will serve as the focal point for this exploration, ensuring comprehensive planning and monitoring.

Charting the Future Course

Looking ahead, LJMU envisions annual surveys as the foundational framework, supplemented by pulse surveys where needed. Collaborating with People Insight on workshops related to the three key areas identified will further develop the conversation. Cross-university working groups will be established to ensure that actions have a far-reaching impact across all areas of LJMU.

A big shout-out to Andy Keegan and the entire LJMU team for their dedication in rolling out this survey to their staff. We’re eagerly anticipating updates on the actions stemming from these insights! Kudos also to Jane, Anna, Kate, and Tunde from People Insight for their invaluable contributions in shaping this survey programme.


“This platform enables you to do exactly what you need – it was easy to share information with the relevant key stakeholders in a timely manner and identify some of those key actions to go forward”

Andy Keegan – Head of Reward, Staff Engagement and Wellbeing

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