October 2018

Take Action to Increase Engagement

Over the past few years, we've invited you to participate in the Employee Engagement Survey in October and we've had strong participation. The survey is now conducted biennially so that leaders, faculty, and staff have more time to use past survey data to take action.

This month we're focusing on action planning to boost employee engagement within your team. Even if you're a supervisor who did not receive data from your team, there are steps you can take to improve employee engagement.


feature insight

How to Make the Most of Your One on Ones

Let's cut to the chase: one of the most important things you can do to build engagement within your workgroup is to regularly meet one on one with your employees.

A recent study found that employees who meet one on one with their supervisor are four times less likely to be disengaged. Because employee engagement is about giving employees the opportunity to have a voice, regular one-on-one conversations allow your employees time to provide input and set challenging goals. It also gives you the opportunity to provide thoughtful feedback and support their performance through coaching.

Make the most of your time

A supervisor’s support for their team members is positively correlated with employee engagement, so a transactional meeting covering a list of to-dos is not enough to build engagement. Meaningful interactions help to build healthy relationships based on mutual respect and appreciation. Use regular meeting time to:

  1. Clarify roles. Clear expectations and feedback are a key employee engagement driver. Talk with your employees about their responsibilities and priorities and how their work contributes to the team’s success, your college or unit’s success, and the University’s success overall.
  2. Review goals. Work with your employee to set meaningful goals that not only align with your college or unit’s priorities but also offer stretch goals or enough challenge to support development. Because we work in a state of constant change, use your one-on-one time to review these goals and adjust them if necessary to align with the current priorities.
  3. Discuss progress and offer support. Talk with your employee not only about what they’re achieving, but how they’re achieving it. Giving feedback can be intimidating and for some, unnatural. To help, checkout the Feedback and Coaching module in the Supervisory Development Course.
  4. Decide next steps. Agree on next steps for your employee’s development, their work, and your next one on one. Next steps should include action items for both you and your employee.

You can also use this template during your meeting to structure your conversation.

How often should we meet?

The ideal frequency of your one on one is between once a week and once a month, but may vary depending upon the person, their work, and the practices or expectations for supervisors in your unit. Nevertheless, make it a practice to check-in with your team members every day, even if it’s just to say hello.

Resources for Supervisors

  • Thoughtful and meaningful time with the people whose work you oversee is one of the most important things you can do as a supervisor. The Quick Guide to Ongoing Check-Ins and the Quick Guide to Coaching will help guide your conversation.
  • Creating engagement happens every day and everyone can find ways to make work experiences more fulfilling. Take some time to look at the Employee Engagement module in the Supervisory Development Course and also review the Quick Guide to Employee Engagement.
  • It’s common for teams to experience frustration because of inequitable distribution of workload. If this is the case with your work team, use your one-on-one time to ask questions and find ways to address the problem. Clarifying roles and responsibilities is always a good first step.
  • Daily interaction with your team will build trust and increase employee engagement. Take time each day to greet your employees and colleagues. Remember to acknowledge their accomplishments and thank them for their efforts. Take a look at this Quick Guide for Building Trust for more tips.

Which component of employee engagement do you find most challenging to address?


ask the experts

LTD consultants have expertise in leadership development, engagement, and supervisory development. If you have questions about employee engagement, send us an email. We’ll do our best to respond and may even feature it in the next newsletter.

Our department didn’t get results from the Employee Engagement survey last year, but we still want to take action. This has happened twice to us and it has made it hard for our department to take employee engagement seriously.

The threshold to get results for the 2017 survey was decreased from 10 to five responses which doubled the number of managers/supervisors who could potentially receive results. If your unit didn’t get results, consider having feedback conversations with the team or informal surveys where you ask them some of the same questions from the survey. The survey only tells you so much—you still need to have conversations to really find out more.


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