Resources for Leaders

Identify Trends in Engagement Data

Learn more about how to compare year-over-year employee engagement results with a brief video.

Employee Engagement Resources for Managers

Supervisors, managers, and other leaders at the University can access online and in-person resources to support sharing employee engagement results, action planning, and taking action. Online resources include:

  • Communications Toolkit includes specific communication messages and samples to support sharing results, action plan refinement, and measuring and sharing progress. This document will be available for 2017 in June.
  • Manager Training for the Employee Engagement Survey Report is an on-demand manager training webinar to support sharing and understanding the data. This is available as a video or a PowerPoint presentation with notes.
  • Trend Data Interpretation Tutorial helps leaders specifically understand and better interpret the 2013 and 2014 trend data, when available.
  • Guide to Employee Engagement Action Planning is a document which includes principles and a framework to prioritize action based on the 2015 E2 Employee Engagement Survey data plus questions for reflection and discussion.

If you want to consult with someone on employee engagement best practices here at the University, three resources are available. Consultants in Leadership and Talent Development can answer questions, assist with action planning, and serve as a resource to faculty and staff in individual departments, colleges, and units. HR Leads and staff also are available to assist with data interpretation and action planning. 

A network of Employee Engagement Leads has been developed to support and enhance the capacity of their colleagues to better understand and take action on survey results. Contact your HR Lead or email ee2@umn.edu for names of Employee Engagement Lead(s) in your college or unit. For more information on working with Leadership and Talent Development consultants, contact your Employee Engagement Lead, HR staff, or email ee2@umn.edu.

Additional leadership development opportunities are available through Leadership and Talent Development for you and people who report to you. Leadership programs at a variety of levels focus on the common challenges and leadership competencies which support leaders overall and help to develop engagement.

Resources by Key Metric and Driver

The two key metrics for employee engagement—Commitment and Dedication plus Effective Environment—each have five drivers. Click on the driver, below, to learn more about it and key questions for leaders to consider and discuss with faculty and staff.

Commitment and Dedication Effective Environment

Clear and Promising Direction

Employees look for opportunities to contribute to something larger than themselves and to make a difference. Supporting faculty and staff in connecting their work to the goals of the department, college, campus, and university is critical to creating a high level of engagement. The University of Minnesota’s mission should be able to be tied to the work of every University employee. Campus, college, and unit goals should directly influence and connect to the work of its faculty and staff.

Top three self-reflection questions for leaders

  • Are unit/work group goals included in individual objectives for each employee?
  • How do faculty and staff contribute to the strategic planning and goal setting of our work group?
  • When strategy and goals are communicated to faculty and staff, how are the reasons behind the strategy and goals communicated?

 Top three discussion questions for faculty and staff input

  • How is your work linked directly to the college/unit goals and the goals of the University?
  • How do day-to-day behaviors within your work group support the group’s strategy and goals? Are there ways that day-to-day behaviors do not align with the group’s strategy and goals? 
  • Do faculty and staff understand why the unit/work group is focused on these particular strategies and goals? How can you tell?

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Commitment to Excellence

Delivering high-quality education and research is critical to the University’s success. Ensuring that employees are working together toward these common goals requires an environment that encourages and supports teamwork as well as promotes innovation and continuous improvement. Engaged faculty and staff want to contribute to the success of something greater than themselves through their work. 

Top three self-reflection questions for leaders

  • Have I established and documented quality standards in my work group? How do I hold individuals accountable?
  • Has increased workload had an impact on quality? If so, how can we meet our workload demands while still maintaining high levels of quality? What can be changed to ensure that the highest priority items are done in a high quality, timely manner?
  • How do I invite faculty and staff input on ways to maintain or improve quality and/or service focus? How do I invite employee ideas on ways to overcome quality barriers?

Top three discussion questions for faculty and staff input

  • What would enable your work group to better understand how to collaborate, be more effective, and share best practices with others impacted by your work? Have you seen other groups collaborate well and if so, what characteristics make them successful?
  • What impact, if any, has increased workload had on quality in your area? How can we meet our workload demands while still maintaining high levels of quality? What can be changed to ensure that highest priority items are done in a high quality, timely manner?
  • How do you make best use of best practices in your area?

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Confidence in Leaders

The success of your work group depends largely on the quality of its leaders throughout all levels of the organization. Leaders influence how faculty and staff perceive the unit/department as a whole and play a critical role in reinforcing strategies and goals. Effective leaders deliver key messages and share important information with employees in their group in a concise, relevant, and timely manner. Employees will have high levels of engagement when they understand the work group’s strategies and goals, and are confident that leaders are capable of achieving objectives. 

Top three self-reflection questions for leaders

  • How do I share important information I receive from leadership with employees? How do I hold leaders who report to me accountable for communicating important information to employees?
  • How do I demonstrate trust and respect for all team members?
  • How do I know I have the trust of my work group? How do I intentionally foster trust?

Top three discussion questions for faculty and staff input

  • How do faculty and staff receive information they need to perform well?
  • How do leaders demonstrate ethical behaviors?
  • How do leaders in your area cultivate trusting relationships with their work group?

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Development Opportunities

Development is often cited in engagement research as one of the top drivers of engagement. Employee development includes the ongoing learning and development of skills and knowledge, including job mastery and professional development, coupled with career planning activities. To remain motivated and productive, employees need to grow in their jobs—and eventually perhaps even grow beyond them. Given the changing nature of work, employees may need encouragement and support in reviewing and assessing their goals and the activities that support those goals. Leaders are in a position to provide valuable career coaching and feedback to help employees reach their career objectives. 

Top three self-reflection questions for leaders

  • Have I discussed the desire for career advancement and development with employees and the opportunities that exist for them?
  • How do I discuss, document, and implement development plans for employees in my area
  • How do I identify training opportunities that will allow employees to grow in their careers?

Top three discussion questions for faculty and staff input

  • Have you thought about your own career development? What steps are you taking to develop your skills and abilities?
  • What kinds of development opportunities exist for you and your work group to be more effective?
  • Do you have skills and abilities that are not being used that could contribute to the success of your area? 

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Respect and Recognition

Faculty and staff who feel respected in their workplace will show respect for their work and for the organization. The University invests in creating the conditions that make work meaningful and rewarding for employees. And employees, in return, respect their work environment, colleagues and the reputation of the University. Organizations that make a reciprocal commitment of respect will have faculty and staff who take a personal interest in organizational objectives. 

Top three self-reflection questions for leaders

  • How familiar am I with the University’s Equal Opportunity Policy? How do I ensure knowledge of and adherence to these policies and procedures?
  • How do I know that all employee groups feel valued? Does the work group overlook the needs of any specific group?
  • How do I model inclusive behavior toward people, ideas, and ways of working?

Top three discussion questions for faculty and staff input

  • Do you feel your contributions are important and valued?
  • Are the needs of any specific group or person overlooked? How?
  • Are faculty and staff treated with respect by leaders? Do employees treat each other in the workplace with respect?  

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Authority and Empowerment

Employees with appropriate autonomy and discretion to complete their work are better enabled to be more productive and effective. By managing how they work, employees are also more likely to find ways to fully use their skills and abilities leading to more input, innovation, and increased job satisfaction.

Top three self-reflection questions for leaders

  • How do I seek information from faculty and staff about what is going well and what can be improved in my area? How often do I do this? How do I implement the best ideas?
  • Examine the structure and accountabilities around different types of decisions. Do employees understand what decisions they can and cannot control? Do employees understand the rationale behind the delegation of decisions?
  • How do I promote and encourage innovation?

Top three discussion questions for faculty and staff input

  • How can faculty and staff best make suggestions regarding change in work processes?
  • How are decisions made in your work group? Does it vary by situation? Which decisions can be made independently and which need to go through channels?
  • What are some of the obstacles that prevent you or your work group from working as efficiently as possible for optimum results? What suggestions do you have for enabling innovative suggestions to be considered and implemented?Authority and Empowerment

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Collaboration

Good cooperation and teamwork helps units develop better ways to get work done and react faster to changing needs. Collaboration can also lead to better cross-unit work and to highlight the work of the University within an industry/discipline. Collaborative behavior is an important skill for leaders and work groups. One way successful organizations meet and exceed their goals is by optimizing cooperation across work groups that rely on each other, which in turn leads to:

  • Heightened levels of morale and pride among faculty and staff, resulting from greater involvement.
  • Increased efficiency by streamlining process steps and eliminating redundancies.
  • More efficient and effective communication both horizontally across work groups and vertically up and down the organization.
  • Better decision making through the sharing of internal best practices and experiences.
  • Higher levels of service satisfaction (i.e., student, staff, faculty, external contacts, the public, industry leaders, etc.).

Top three self-reflection questions for leaders

  • How do I involve all impacted parties and stakeholders in changes and decision making?
  • How do I assign and coordinate roles to encourage collaboration?
  • How do I promote the benefits of working collaboratively with other groups?

Top three discussion questions for faculty and staff input

  • How are you and your colleagues encouraged to collaborate within your group and across groups?
  • How can our work unit communicate more effectively with other departments?
  • How do employees know how they should collaborate with others in the context of their day-to-day jobs?Authority and Empowerment

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Authority and Empowerment

Authority and Empowerment
Authority and Empowerment

Clear Expectations and Feedback 

Communicating expectations and giving feedback are two of the most important parts of a leader’s job. All employees need ongoing feedback on expectations and performance in order to continuously deliver high quality services. Leaders who do this successfully improve the chances of high productivity and quality work for individuals, work groups, departments, colleges/units, and the University overall. Clarity regarding goals and priorities enables excellent performance by allowing employees to focus their efforts on essential tasks. Likewise, by continually “raising the bar,” ongoing monitoring and feedback regarding performance helps ensure that faculty and staff capabilities are optimally developed and used. 

Top three self-reflection questions for leaders

  • How do faculty and staff in my area understand what work is expected of them and what results are expected?
  • How do I identify and address poor performance? Is it timely?
  • How do I identify and reward excellent performance?

Top three discussion questions for faculty and staff input

  • How do you know what is expected of you in your job?
  • How do you know how well you are performing? Do you know what differentiates poor from excellent performance?
  • How do you ask leaders for feedback and guidance on job performance, especially when you encounter challenges?

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Support and Resources

Engaged employees who have the knowledge and resources to perform optimally are likely to meet the performance expectations and perform optimally. Commitment and discretionary effort offered by engaged employees can easily be squandered if leaders are not careful to provide them with the workplace support they need to be successful in their responsibilities.

Employees can only perform at optimal levels if they have the necessary information, training, and resources (e.g., tools, technology, equipment, and supplies) required to do their jobs effectively. Employees require on-going training and development to effectively handle the changing nature of job expectations and work environments.

Well-trained employees are more likely to have and use higher levels of skill in their jobs. They are also more likely to demonstrate enthusiasm and positive attitudes towards their work, and exhibit higher levels of commitment to the organization. In assessing the training and development needs within your area, take into consideration the skills employees need to help the organization achieve its objectives.

Top three self-reflection questions for leaders

  • How do I provide access to tools and resources (including information) in a timely manner and to those who need them?
  • How do I ensure staffing levels are adequate to accomplish key tasks–without risking employee burnout over time? How do I support resiliency for employees in today’s changing work environment?
  • What skills are critical to the success of the work group both now and into the future? Do faculty and staff lack any of these critical skills? If yes, what resources are available to address needs?

Top three discussion questions for faculty and staff input

  • How can the work environment be improved to support better productivity?
  • How do you communicate training and resource needs to leaders?
  • What training/development would help you better perform your work?

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Work, Structure, and Process 

We continue to be challenged to do more work with fewer resources. Operating efficiency not only ensures a productive workforce, but that our work environments run effectively, increase motivation and decrease frustration among faculty and staff. Employees closest to the work being performed often have the best ideas on how to improve work performance. Universities are increasingly competing for resources as well as faculty and staff effort and cannot afford to lose productivity due to inefficient processes. Tapping into employee feedback will have a positive impact on operating efficiencies, service, and employee satisfaction.

Top three self-reflection questions for leaders

  • How well do I manage the current workload? How do I know?
  • Do I over-assign work to top performers and under-assign work to lower performers? How do I invite faculty and staff input on work assignment practices?
  • How are work procedures defined and documented?

Top three discussion questions for faculty and staff input

  • How well is the current workload managed?
  • How are work procedures defined and documented?
  • How do you provide input on how to organize work and workflow for efficiency and effectiveness?

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