About Employee Engagement at the University of Minnesota

At the University of Minnesota, Employee Engagement is measured by two key metrics: Commitment and Dedication and Effective Environment. This is a unique approach. Measuring both key metrics allows us to identify the opportunities where we can make the most impact on engagement. This is important to understand when benchmarking against other organizations because most measure only commitment and dedication. Employees are able to thrive and continue to give their best in a work environment that supports their efforts, and University leaders have data on how best to address environmental factors.

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Resources for Supervisors

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Navigating Your Report Data

Find links to the online data portal as well as videos and printable guides to help leaders access, download, and understand their survey results.

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Learn About Employee Engagement

This online training module on employee engagement fundamentals is part of the Supervisory Development Course. Learn about the employee engagement cycle, steps to take during each cycle, and the resources to help you do it.

Drivers, Key Metrics, and Employee Engagement

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

Commitment and Dedication

Commitment and dedication refers to an individual’s level of personal motivation and conviction in their job. 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.

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?

Effective Environment

Employees who are exerting their best efforts in their job will thrive and continue to give their best in a work environment that supports their 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 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?

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Our Employee Engagement Survey Process

  • We have surveyed faculty and staff four times since 2013.
  • In 2017, the survey was sent to 19,832 faculty and staff on all campuses.
  • The survey has 36 questions that provide data to leaders regarding the workplace experience.
  • Benefits-eligible employees* share feedback via an online survey.
  • Faculty and staff receive very similar surveys.
  • Data are gathered by a vendor partner to ensure confidentiality.
  • 2017 survey results were shared in January 2018 with supervisors, managers, directors, and senior leaders if five or more of their direct reports responded to the survey.

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Three 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. Results must be shared. 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 big impact. Let faculty and staff know when action is taken based on their survey feedback.

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