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Survey shows engagement trending up

By Life@TheU

Survey shows engagement trending up

By Life@TheU
Employees feel accepted, connected, and motivated by their work at the U, yet seek to be more valued and aligned with future plans, Quantum survey shows.

Nearly three in four UM employees who responded to an engagement survey fielded this past fall said they feel connected to their work, their teams, and to the University, and two-thirds—on par with the national benchmark for Higher Education/Health Care institutions—responded favorably to the full range of questions regarding work engagement, according to the findings of the Quantum Workplace Engagement Survey, conducted October 1-12.

The total favorable perception improved compared to a 2016 engagement survey of the U, and progress was made relative to 12 customized questions related to advancing a culture of belonging at the U.

“It’s inspiring to reaffirm that so many faculty and staff are motivated by and engaged in the work they do, that they feel accepted by their colleagues, and are proud to work at the U. Administrative excellence is a key platform of the Roadmap to Our New Century, and employee engagement  is essential for us to advance a culture of belonging,” said President Julio Frenk.

“While the findings are encouraging, we are not satisfied,” the President said. “We need to work harder to ensure that all employees feel valued so they are empowered to add value. Our continued efforts are essential and integral to being a top comprehensive research university.”

“We recognize the progress made and are pleased by the overall results, and find no major surprises,” said Jeffrey Duerk, executive vice president for Academic Affairs and provost. “Fortunately, the survey also pinpoints areas that we plan to address such as increased opportunities for professional development, career mobility, and helping employees’ better see how they fit into, and how they can impact, the University’s future. 

“We’ve had an almost entirely new leadership team step in over the past couple of years—it takes time for that team to gel and, as importantly, for the University stakeholders to see and feel the impact of that cohesion,” Duerk said, adding that leadership has noted the survey recommendation for leaders to demonstrate more visibility.

This 2018 survey was conducted by Quantum Workplace, an independent research-based consultant. Quantum defines engagement as “the sense of mental and emotional connection that workers feel towards their work, teams, and the overall organization” and suggests strategic recommendations based on the survey findings.

The survey revealed two areas—“my opinions seem to count at work” and “I know how I fit into UM’s future plans”—that fall significantly short of the benchmarks for comparable institutions. Both areas are considered key drivers of engagement.

“The University has identified engagement as a major influencer in our Roadmap to Our New Century aspirations and priorities, and we’re paying close attention to what the survey reveals,” said Jacqueline Travisano, executive vice president for Business and Finance, and chief operating officer.

Leaders will soon be invited to a webinar to help access the findings for their respective departments and will be encouraged to share those findings with their work teams, Travisano explained. 

“The idea is to make progress and to further engagement, not to overwhelm anyone or add undo responsibility or tasks on anyone’s plate,” she said. “Most importantly, we want everyone to know that we will continue to focus on helping faculty and staff feel valued.”

Edward Abraham, executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of UHealth, said that the survey offers the opportunity to advance the intent and the goals of UHealth’s 5 to Thrive initiative. 

“Here we have further impetus to show our employees that we care, that we care about them and what their experience is like at the U,” Abraham said. “For us to reach our destiny as a preeminent academic medical center, it’s imperative that employees see that they are a part of the transformation and that we’re listening to them. It’s really a team effort.”