About Employee Engagement at the University of Minnesota

Go To:

The Three Most Important Things to Know About Employee Engagement

  1. A survey alone does not create positive change. Only involving leaders, faculty, and staff in responding to survey results can create positive change in the work environment.
  2. Share your results. Disengagement begins when people who take time to respond to a survey don't hear their results from their leaders.
  3. Take action. A few small, simple actions can have a large impact. Be certain to let faculty and staff know when actions were taken based on their survey feedback.

Back to top

Employee Engagement Survey Response Rates

Response rates for both faculty and staff increased for the 2015 Employee Engagement Survey which had a 67% overall response rate. Faculty responses increased from 53% in 2014 to 56% in 2015. Staff response rates also increased, rising from 68% in 2014 to 70% in 2015.

Bar graph showing the E2 survey participation rates for 2013, 2014, and 2015 for faculty and staff. Participation rates for both groups increased over three years, from 47% to 56% for faculty and from 60% to 70% for staff

Back to top

Action Planning Principles

Refining Action Plans: Leaders and units should concentrate on one to three areas that can be executed well. The five principles of action planning are:

  1. Understand results and underlying issues before moving on to action.
  2. Sharing results with faculty and staff is an important first step. 
  3. Involve faculty and staff in solution(s) where appropriate. Faculty and staff can help you understand the context for engagement scores as well as provide appropriate solutions. Keep it simple by concentrating on one to three issues that can be executed exceptionally well. Focus on issues within your control and spend time on those areas where you can have the most impact.
  4. The most effective action plans are clear and specific, linked to business objectives, limited to a manageable number of action priorities, focused on action areas where those accountable can have an impact, and are clear in assigning accountability.
  5. Provide regular updates on progress. When important work is done as a result of the survey, faculty and staff may not realize these actions were based on survey feedback, leaders may be perceived as having not taken action.

Back to top

Drivers, Key Metrics, and Employee Engagement

The university of minnesota engagement model showing drivers and key metrics.

Back to top

Commitment and Dedication

When employees are committed and dedicated to their work, they care not only about the quality of their own work but are also invested in the collective work of their group, unit, and university. This is a defining characteristic of employee engagement. Commitment and dedication refer to an individual’s level of personal motivation and conviction in their job.

Top three self-reflection questions for leaders:

  • How do I know if employees are committed and dedicated to their work?
  • What is motivating about our work? How do I motivate employees? Do I encourage others to motivate?
  • What does dedication look like in our unit and how do we reward it?

Top three questions for discussion with faculty and staff:

  • Can you think of some examples where employees’ commitment and dedication were positively acknowledged?
  • What motivates you to do your best work?
  • How can leaders effectively motivate employees in their work?

Back to top

Key Metric: Effective Environment

An effective work environment is one of two key components of employee engagement, along with commitment and dedication. Employees who are exerting their best efforts in their job will thrive and continue to give their best in a work environment that supports these efforts. Without an effective work environment, employees risk becoming frustrated. Research shows that frustrated employees typically do one of three things: 1) Find innovative ways around environmental barriers and become engaged; 2) Get tired of challenging environmental barriers and leave the organization; or, 3) Lower their expectations and become disengaged. Paying attention to environmental factors is something that usually lies within a unit’s span of control and can pay big dividends in engaging employees.

Top three self-reflection questions for leaders:

  • How does leadership know if employees are sufficiently challenged in their work? 
  • What departmental impacts result from employees not being sufficiently challenged in their work?
  • Am I aware of the most critical and most frustrating barriers to our employees getting work done? 

Top three questions for faculty and staff:

  • What could be changed to allow you to be sufficiently challenged in your work?
  • How do you discuss adequate job challenges with your supervisor?
  • What barriers do you encounter in trying to do your job efficiently? Which barriers are critical to your work and which are simply frustrating?

Back to top