Skip to content Skip to navigation

Cardinal at Work Demonstrates Positive Impact on Workplace Culture

Two females wearing Cardinal at Work caps outdoors

It’s hard to believe that Cardinal at Work (CaW), Stanford’s workplace identity, was launched just two years ago. Created to unify the employee experience, Cardinal at Work has already demonstrated its positive impact on our workplace culture according to recent survey results.


In February 2017, University Human Resources (UHR) launched a perception and communication preferences survey to understand your awareness of Cardinal at Work and the frequency with which you engage with Cardinal at Work communications and events.

All benefits-eligible employees received the survey, and more than 1,700 shared feedback. In April, nearly three dozen employees participated in follow up focus group sessions.

Employees Know and Understand Cardinal at Work

Generally, the awareness level of Cardinal at Work is high. Nearly 87% of survey respondents were aware of the Cardinal at Work identity. In fact, 65% of respondents heard or came across the phrase Cardinal at Work at least once or twice a month. Another 23% saw the Cardinal at Work identity three or more times in the same period.

Beyond mere awareness, all focus group participants were able to express the purpose of Cardinal at Work and understood the alignment with one’s experience as a Stanford employee and the offerings of employment-related benefits, services and programs.

Cardinal at Work logo

Cardinal at Work Evokes Positive Feelings

In terms of perception, 63% of respondents shared positive feelings and impressions of Cardinal at Work and another 30% expressed neutral feelings. Only 2% had negative feelings and 5% expressed confusion around the of the workplace identity.

Many focus group respondents attributed positive feelings around Cardinal at Work based on their in-depth onboarding experience with the Welcome Center, which launched in 2014. Those who did not participate in the Welcome Center experience shared interest in offering employees the opportunity to “re-onboard.”


Email Tops List as Preferred Communication Channel

Similar to other recent surveys conducted, email continues to be the preferred way to receive employee information. Specifically, respondents favored both the monthly Cardinal at Work Insider newsletter (58%) and digital postcards/emails (57%). The Cardinal at Work website was the second preferred communication (31%), and information from managers (6%) and social media such as Facebook (3%) were the least preferred channels.

Most focus group participants claimed to have opened the CaW Insider newsletter upon receipt and cited “Upcoming Events” as a favorite section. Because the events section was of most interest, participants suggested increasing the frequency of the CaW Insider to provide employees more just-in-time information and to spur event participation.


More Direct Communication Needed for People Managers

Of the 1,700 respondents, 30% self-identified as being a people manager. While 72% of survey respondents were aware of the Cardinal at Work website, a majority of people managers were not aware of the Manage & Lead resources available on the website. This finding indicates a need for more direct outreach and education to managers.

In terms of the Cardinal at Work website, some focus group participants expressed confusion with Axess as a separate website and shared an interest in seeing Axess functions integrated into the Cardinal at Work website.

Giving Tuesday volunteers pose with signs and donation bins against Cardinal at Work backdrop

Cardinal at Work Event Awareness Low, Interest High

Last year, Cardinal at Work-branded events included the 3rd annual Celebrating Staff Careers ceremony held in conjunction with the annual SpringFest, the Stanford 125 Trails Walk in July, and the newly launched Cardinal at Work Cares giveback campaign in November.  In general, respondents expressed low awareness of the events, but would be interested to attend more workplace events if their supervisors and other leaders encouraged participation.

On the other hand, focus group participants believe they were aware of the events, but were not clear that they were Cardinal at Work-sponsored.

When asked about new events, participants shared an interest in themed networking and happy hour events, or curated lunchtime walks to appreciate Stanford’s gardens, architecture and history. Generally, participants were not interested in returning to campus for a weekend event unless it was a high-value, signature event geared toward families.

Communication Planning for FY17

To enhance the Cardinal at Work experience, UHR will assess and modify its communications strategy to provide timely and relevant information. Look for a summary of proposed changes in a future Cardinal at Work Insider.

Want to help spread the Cardinal at Work spirit?

Be a Cardinal at Work Ambassador. More than 40 of your colleagues from across campus have signed up already, but we’re looking for more volunteers to support the CaW movement with local spirit leadership.

Manage & Lead, Connect