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Employee engagement in Higher
   Education




Professor Geoff White
29 March 2012
Why should HE managers be
interested in engagement?
• Employee engagement is seen as key to
  improved business performance and employee
  wellbeing.
• CIPD research has repeatedly shown the links
  between the way people are
  managed, employee attitudes and business
  performance.
• When employers deliver on their commitments to
  employees they reinforce employees’ sense of
  fairness and trust in the organisation.
• Line managers are key to the link between
  employee performance and ‘discretionary
  behaviour’ by employees.
Why should HE managers be
interested in engagement?
A poorly engaged workforce tends to:
• Have lower performance levels
• Pay lower attention to quality issues
• Be less innovative
• Have higher levels of absenteeism
• Has higher labour turnover
• Be less likely to recommend their workplace (or
  its products) to others
2009 McLeod Review


The McLeod Review of employee engagement –
  conducted for the UK government in 2009 –
  recommended:
• The government should work to raise awareness
  of the benefits of engagement and the
  techniques to achieve these.
• A senior sponsor group should be set up to
  boost understanding.
• The government and its agencies should work
  together to ensure that support is tailored to the
  needs of different sectors.
What do we mean by employee
engagement?
What do we mean by employee
engagement?
• ‘A combination of commitment to the
  organisation and its values and a willingness to
  help out colleagues (organisational citizenship).
• It goes beyond job satisfaction and is not simply
  about motivation.
• Engagement is something an employee has to
  offer; it cannot be required as part of the
  employment contract’.
  CIPD
What does research show?

• CIPD engaged a research team led by Kingston
  University to measure and analyse levels of
  engagement.
• Three main measures – social, affective and
  intellectual engagement.
• Social engagement is actively seeking
  opportunities to discuss work with colleagues.
• Affective engagement is feeling positive about
  doing a good job
• Intellectual engagement is thinking hard about
  the job and how it could be done better.
CIPD Research Findings
The research measured these factors in terms of both degree
   (how engaged was the employee?) and frequency (how
   often was the employee engaged?).
Degree of engagement
• 8% strongly engaged
• 70% moderately engaged
• 1% very weakly engaged
• 21% neither engaged nor disengaged
Frequency of engagement
• 18% engaged on a daily basis
• 59% engaged ‘once a week’
• 22% engaged ‘a few times a year’
• 1% report never being engaged
CIPD Research Findings


• Scores for social engagement were lowest
• Scores for affective engagement were highest
• Scores for intellectual engagement were
  intermediate.

Why do we think this might be the case?
More CIPD research findings
• Women more likely to be engaged than men
• Older workers are more engaged than younger
• New recruits more engaged than long stayers
• Managers are more engaged than other staff
• Those on flexible contracts more engaged than
  those who are not.
• Public sector workers show higher levels of
  social and intellectual engagement while private
  sector workers are more engaged affectively.
• Question: What are employees engaging with
  and what are implications for the organisation?
What are employees engaged
with?
•   Tasks, work or the job
•   Colleagues and work teams
•   Line managers
•   Their profession
•   The organisation
•   Clients and customers
•   Their families and friends
Sectors with the most engaged
and disengaged employees
Engaged employees
• HR consulting and training (46%)
• Energy/utilities (40%)
• Legal and business services (34%)
• Association/not for profit (34%)
Disengaged employees
• Academia and HE (23%)
• High technology (24%)
• Chemicals (24%)
• Retail (24%)
• Government (25%)
Blessing White (2008)
Drivers of engagement
• Opportunities to feed your views upwards
• Feeling well informed about what is happening in the
  organisation
• Believing that your manager is committed to the
  organisation.
• Involvement in decision making
• Freedom to voice ideas, to which managers listen
• Feeling enabled to perform well
• Having opportunities to develop your job or role
• Feeling the organisation cares about your health and
  wellbeing
• Matching people to the right jobs.
Measuring engagement: some
possible measures
•   Absence rates               •   Goal achievement
•   Industrial climate (ETs?)   •   Market segmentation
•   Participation rates         •   Output
•   H&S figures                 •   Quality
•   Return on investment        •   Cost-effectiveness
•   Profit                      •   Response rates
•   Turnover                    •   Cost savings
•   Customer satisfaction       •   Sustainability
Assessment tools


•   The engagement survey
•   The employee survey
•   The manager’s interview
•   Customer surveys
Manager strategies for
engaging employees
• Allowing workers to feed their views (employee
  voice) up the organisation.
• Keeping employees informed about what is
  going on in the organisation.
• Employees need to see that their managers are
  engaged with the organisation’s values and
  objectives in order to feel engaged.
• Having fair and just management processes for
  dealing with performance issues.
Strategies for engagement:
CIPD research findings
• ‘Meaningfulness’ is the most important driver of
  engagement for all employee groups.
• Two-thirds of employees found meaning in their
  work.
• Senior management vision and communication
  are key drivers whereas senior management
  effectiveness is negatively related to
  engagement.
• Positive perceptions of one’s line manager are
  strongly linked with engagement.
Conclusions? What can you do to be
effective in engaging employees?


• Involve employees in decisions affecting their
  work.
• Be prepared to listen to employee voice and act
  upon it
• Communicate key organisational messages
• Provide a motivational model – show enthusiasm
  for own work
• Think about job design and new methods of
  working to engage colleagues
• Offer help with job development opportunities

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421 - Employee Engagement

  • 1. Employee engagement in Higher Education Professor Geoff White 29 March 2012
  • 2. Why should HE managers be interested in engagement? • Employee engagement is seen as key to improved business performance and employee wellbeing. • CIPD research has repeatedly shown the links between the way people are managed, employee attitudes and business performance. • When employers deliver on their commitments to employees they reinforce employees’ sense of fairness and trust in the organisation. • Line managers are key to the link between employee performance and ‘discretionary behaviour’ by employees.
  • 3. Why should HE managers be interested in engagement? A poorly engaged workforce tends to: • Have lower performance levels • Pay lower attention to quality issues • Be less innovative • Have higher levels of absenteeism • Has higher labour turnover • Be less likely to recommend their workplace (or its products) to others
  • 4. 2009 McLeod Review The McLeod Review of employee engagement – conducted for the UK government in 2009 – recommended: • The government should work to raise awareness of the benefits of engagement and the techniques to achieve these. • A senior sponsor group should be set up to boost understanding. • The government and its agencies should work together to ensure that support is tailored to the needs of different sectors.
  • 5. What do we mean by employee engagement?
  • 6. What do we mean by employee engagement? • ‘A combination of commitment to the organisation and its values and a willingness to help out colleagues (organisational citizenship). • It goes beyond job satisfaction and is not simply about motivation. • Engagement is something an employee has to offer; it cannot be required as part of the employment contract’. CIPD
  • 7. What does research show? • CIPD engaged a research team led by Kingston University to measure and analyse levels of engagement. • Three main measures – social, affective and intellectual engagement. • Social engagement is actively seeking opportunities to discuss work with colleagues. • Affective engagement is feeling positive about doing a good job • Intellectual engagement is thinking hard about the job and how it could be done better.
  • 8. CIPD Research Findings The research measured these factors in terms of both degree (how engaged was the employee?) and frequency (how often was the employee engaged?). Degree of engagement • 8% strongly engaged • 70% moderately engaged • 1% very weakly engaged • 21% neither engaged nor disengaged Frequency of engagement • 18% engaged on a daily basis • 59% engaged ‘once a week’ • 22% engaged ‘a few times a year’ • 1% report never being engaged
  • 9. CIPD Research Findings • Scores for social engagement were lowest • Scores for affective engagement were highest • Scores for intellectual engagement were intermediate. Why do we think this might be the case?
  • 10. More CIPD research findings • Women more likely to be engaged than men • Older workers are more engaged than younger • New recruits more engaged than long stayers • Managers are more engaged than other staff • Those on flexible contracts more engaged than those who are not. • Public sector workers show higher levels of social and intellectual engagement while private sector workers are more engaged affectively. • Question: What are employees engaging with and what are implications for the organisation?
  • 11. What are employees engaged with? • Tasks, work or the job • Colleagues and work teams • Line managers • Their profession • The organisation • Clients and customers • Their families and friends
  • 12. Sectors with the most engaged and disengaged employees Engaged employees • HR consulting and training (46%) • Energy/utilities (40%) • Legal and business services (34%) • Association/not for profit (34%) Disengaged employees • Academia and HE (23%) • High technology (24%) • Chemicals (24%) • Retail (24%) • Government (25%) Blessing White (2008)
  • 13. Drivers of engagement • Opportunities to feed your views upwards • Feeling well informed about what is happening in the organisation • Believing that your manager is committed to the organisation. • Involvement in decision making • Freedom to voice ideas, to which managers listen • Feeling enabled to perform well • Having opportunities to develop your job or role • Feeling the organisation cares about your health and wellbeing • Matching people to the right jobs.
  • 14. Measuring engagement: some possible measures • Absence rates • Goal achievement • Industrial climate (ETs?) • Market segmentation • Participation rates • Output • H&S figures • Quality • Return on investment • Cost-effectiveness • Profit • Response rates • Turnover • Cost savings • Customer satisfaction • Sustainability
  • 15. Assessment tools • The engagement survey • The employee survey • The manager’s interview • Customer surveys
  • 16. Manager strategies for engaging employees • Allowing workers to feed their views (employee voice) up the organisation. • Keeping employees informed about what is going on in the organisation. • Employees need to see that their managers are engaged with the organisation’s values and objectives in order to feel engaged. • Having fair and just management processes for dealing with performance issues.
  • 17. Strategies for engagement: CIPD research findings • ‘Meaningfulness’ is the most important driver of engagement for all employee groups. • Two-thirds of employees found meaning in their work. • Senior management vision and communication are key drivers whereas senior management effectiveness is negatively related to engagement. • Positive perceptions of one’s line manager are strongly linked with engagement.
  • 18. Conclusions? What can you do to be effective in engaging employees? • Involve employees in decisions affecting their work. • Be prepared to listen to employee voice and act upon it • Communicate key organisational messages • Provide a motivational model – show enthusiasm for own work • Think about job design and new methods of working to engage colleagues • Offer help with job development opportunities