University Business January 2018 - 12

SPONSORED WEB SEMINAR DIGEST

Fostering Employee
Engagement and
Retention in Higher Ed
Strategies to keep faculty and employees engaged and reduce turnover

Keeping employees engaged while minimizing turnover is a crucial component of institutional success, but
unfortunately many colleges and universities are hampered by a culture of disengagement. Recent studies
have found that many faculty members and other employees feel they are not engaged with their work.
How can higher ed leaders address this common challenge by actively transforming disengagement into
engagement, keeping academic faculty and staff members on the job and helping them to support student
and institutional success?
In this web seminar, presenters examined some of the results of a recent survey from Cornerstone
OnDemand, which asked nearly 500 higher ed leaders about how their institutions are engaging their
workforce, and discussed some best practices for engaging and retaining an institution's employees.
Tom Tonkin: I'd like to start by providing a background
for this survey. The survey captured a lot of data. And I
could discuss the results for weeks. But I want to focus
on the challenge of lagging indicators versus leading
indicators, to give us some perspective on language as
we dive into the survey.
This concept has been revived by Chris McChesney,
author of The Four Disciplines of Execution-this idea
of trying to focus on the lagging indicator, meaning the
goal. In this case we're talking about employee engagement, which is, believe it or not, a lagging indicator,
meaning that whatever it is that you are going to do to
try to increase that employee engagement has already
happened.
What's more useful is to look at leading indicators
that are more predictive and influenceable. For example, improved compensation and benefits may be
something that can increase employee engagement in
the future. Looking at this entire data set with that lens
on, we will be able to see what we can turn into actionable items.
Our partners at Ellucian helped us put this survey together. We had 467 respondents across many different
institutions. We provided 15 closed-ended questions
and one open-ended question.

Kurt Ackman: I've had the privilege of working with colleges and universities for over 20 years. One common
theme in the survey is, "I love the experience of being
around the people on campus-our students. Being
able to be part of their development at the institution is
helping me feel engaged."
But, there are other definitions of engagement. You
might hear people say things like, "I just don't feel motivated or challenged in my current role, so I'm not engaged." Or, "I'm just not sure where my career is going
to go from here if I stay at the institution. What can I do
next?" We even saw, "I'm not even sure I'm necessarily appreciated in my role. Therefore, I don't feel very
engaged."
The importance of measuring engagement
Tonkin: If your definition of engagement is very vague,
it's difficult to be able to apply any kind of intervention
to increase engagement.
In the survey, first we asked about whether or not
you measure engagement. The answers were all over
the map. One very interesting response was, "We do
this through regular employee net promoter scores."
For those not familiar with net promoter scores, it's ba-

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business January 2018

University Business January 2018 - Cover1
University Business January 2018 - Cover2
University Business January 2018 - 1
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