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March 13, 2007

Final Report Drafts and Charts

Charts Uploaded Here

Download file - Cultural Taskforce

Download file - Leadership Development Project

Download file - New Employee Orientation

Download file - Watson Whatt

Download file - Berkeley

Download file - Leadership Council

Download file - U Services

Download file - Cargill

Download file - University of Michigan

Download file - Merit Task Force

Download file - Pulse Survey

Structure of the final report

1. Title page
2. Table of contents
3. Executive summary and key recommendations
4. Charter/opportunity statement
5. Methodology
6. Sources (appendix for details of these)
7. Findings and analysis
8. Recommendations detailed
9. Appendix

Draft of final report

1. Title page

2. Table of contents

3. Executive summary and key recommendations

4. Charter/opportunity statement

5. Methodology

6. Sources (appendix for details of these)

7. Findings and analysis

Points to consider for #7 – Findings and analysis – some barriers to staff engagement:

1) Job insecurity – such as when individuals are laid off in one unit because of programmatic or budget changes rather than the University finding ways of better shifting talent from one area of the organization to another. This is something happening in Facilities Management due to structural changes, where individual supervisors and managers have very little job security during the change process.

2) Large pay disparities within the University (not to speak of comparing University positions to equivalents outside the University) – employees can easily obtain salary information about their colleagues doing similar work at different units, and it is obvious that that pay levels depends quite a bit on the department head posting a position.

8. Recommendations detailed

Key Recommendations – for #3 and #8 of draft.

(Once these are collected, we can present them in order of ease of implementation, starting with some that could be implemented quickly without much expense, and then on up to those that would require significant commitment from University leadership.)

1) (Mike/Janet) The University should establish an engagement group at the University to lead this effort, using Hewitt as an outside source for literature and for measurement of levels of engagement to guide the process. As examples: University of Michigan has an engagement unit within HR, as does Cargill, with a 5-person specialized team within HR. Janet points out that, as Hewitt Associates offers a wealth of information, the University won’t need to reinvent the wheel in establishing improvement programs. For long-term and significant improvement, senior leadership as well as all levels of managers and supervisors need to be on board, and there needs to be financial investment in staff engagement programmatic improvement.

2) (Mike) A level down in expense and commitment, so perhaps something that could be established earlier: The University should start an ongoing engagement committee or task group, inviting volunteer members from around the University to apply for this role, much as individuals as invited into the PEL program. Individuals selected would have release time from their positions (like PEL participants), would receive training and support for their involvement, and could become ambassadors and trainers for staff engagement improvements throughout the University, helping units establish their own leadership groups to sustain the effort. A committee like this will help cut across University silos.

3) (Mike) There needs to be a toolkit created, something on the order of the Cargill manual, to help individual managers improve their staff engagement levels in their units.

Asim notes that a training document/tool could be created through technology now being worked on in OIT where you can combine a recording of someone speaking along with a PowerPoint or anything else displayed on a laptop. This would be a low-cost alternative format to more expensive group training, as one option.

4) (Mike) The University should establish a website like that of Michigan’s Voices – not a static information website like the one now available for employees through HR, but one staffed by volunteers and interactive, representing a forum for employees’ real concerns and ideas. For this to work, there needs to be real staff buy-in to using and maintaining this website.

5) (Mike/Janet) The University should establish mandatory leadership training for supervisors/managers providing leadership skills (there is a three-day leadership class now available, but it costs $1,800 for University members, which discourages most people from going – instead, something like this should be made an expectation for new managers to take it and subsidized for them). This training should be made available as an option for all staff.

6) (Janet) Each unit should have a “360% evaluation? on a routine basis – this is an open process where all staff members are invited to share (anonymously? In some safe way?) what is working for them and what is not working. Communication is critical in having things improve. Once a baseline is established for goals, the bar should be raised each year (Cargill’s model).

7) (Janet, others) Supervisors and leaders should be encouraged to do the small things that make a difference for employees, such as Mike’s example from a website of a senior leader sending a letter to the family of an employee thanking them for the employees contributions. However, for this to be meaningful, the supervisor needs to have enough direct contact with the employee to be able to recognize that person’s contributions.

8) (Mary Ellen) Related to the initiative going on now in University Services, each large word unit at the University should form a steering committee to assess levels of staff engagement and make proposals for improvement. These efforts need significant support from top leaders, including allowing the individual steering committee members to have enough time to do the research and planning, and then supporting recommendations and expecting and training managers to implement them. Once implemented, ongoing assessment and improvement of staff engagement needs to be part of each supervisor’s responsibility, and staff engagement improvement needs to be part of each supervisor’s job review.

9) (Mary Ellen) Another finding from University Services: the University should find a way of doing ongoing rolling “pulse-taking? staff engagement assessments – a quick short-question pop-up survey that people would answer periodically, so that there could be a benchmark and way of measuring improvement over time that could be tied to individual work units and used as part of organizational and supervisory evaluation.

9. Appendix

March 5, 2007

SE - Internal Sources

CDes Student Services Lead Staff (Kate Maple and her administrative staff) 4-30-07

1. What started you or your organization down the path to look at staff engagement issues?

Kate: experiencing management mistakes, she became strategic – looking at the staff for clues to improve.

2. How does your organization define staff engagement? How do you define it?

* Wanting to come to work – not just for the pay check.
* Wanting to continue to improve – creating a constant loop of what can be changed for the better
* Being around other people who do their jobs well – knowing they are committed at the same level of involvement and will follow through on their commitments
* Trusting others – sharing the same values: serving students, believing in the value of higher education and the value of working with students, making a positive difference – these values brought them to the job.

3. Why do you find staff engagement is important to your organization?

Relationships with people at work are rewarding – they don’t hang out after work, but function as a supportive family while at work – it makes it fun to come to work.

4. What does your organization do to engage staff?

* Kate has tea at her house
* Regular staff meetings – even though their staff is split between St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses
* Meetings every other week of the function lead team
* Meetings of other project teams (new student team, advising team)
* A daily e-mail report on what’s going on keeps people connected
* Staff development planning each year
* Effort to come to big decisions as a group – because expertise is spread out through the staff, and no-one can make decisions as an island, but needs to consult throughout the staff to make sure all the expertise out there is brought to bear on the decision.
* This relates to hiring practices: they hire for congruent talents to build a strong team
* No micromanagement from higher leadership: they are supported right up to the Dean level
*They have had adequate resources to do their work.
* They employ a family-friendly approach (flexibility related to caring for young children, aging parents, “emergency house cleaning?) – this connects to the trust that people will do their jobs and not take advantage of flexibility
* The shared work ethic is very strong – people are accountable to get things done
* They take time to have fun at work, enjoying the time together in meetings, etc.
* In the prior CHE, there were monthly birthday parties, seasonal parties such as Halloween, a celebration for Staff Appreciation Day.
Cross college (CHE) and cross administration, there was a general feeling that people play an equal part: staff, faculty – that everyone is in this together.

5. Who is responsible for increasing or improving staff engagement?

Everyone! But the tone is set by the Dean and central administration (legacy of CHE) – their former Dean set the tone by empowering people and showing respect (such as the P&A leave options)

The current Dean is taking the time to have breakfasts and lunches with small groups of employees over several months.

6. How is staff engagement worked into job descriptions?

Professional development has been a part of job descriptions for everyone. At the point of performance review, everyone is asked about professional development and goals. The prior college had a fund to help individuals take part in professional development activities. (Kate mentioned sending new staff members to _______ training).

7. How do you assess the level of staff engagement?

The measure is how satisfied the staff is. They haven’t done formal measurement, but Kate always asks – takes time at the outset of meetings, where possible, to have people check in – she checks in routinely with supervisees.

8. What rewards and recognition does your organization provide to motivate or acknowledge staff engagement? Are these effective motivators?

They had (CHE) an awards ceremony in the spring, recognizing all staff and faculty, at all different levels, connected to Commencement. (The newly merged college culture has a bigger chasm between staff and faculty than the prior college.)

9. In what ways has there been a connection in your organization between access to training and staff engagement? What sorts of training opportunities do staff seek out or desire?

In CHE: they sent one to two people to major national professional conferences, and especially encouraged attendance at local ones. Everyone when hired was sent to the Franklin Covey training. Staff have been encouraged to participate in the study abroad site visits experience through Learning Abroad Curriculum Integration project.

10. In what ways does your organization provide career support and mobility to staff? Is there a correlation between staff perception of mobility and engagement in your setting?

Within existing jobs, they encourage each other to explore new tasks (or swap out tasks that they don’t want to do). Especially when they have GTA or student workers, they support the person in growing professionally to go out to new jobs. There’s a lot of support for individual growth toward new opportunities, and support to grow in place in existing jobs – everyone’s jobs have changed, and they make conscious efforts to spread out the “distasteful? 20-25% of any job (though they find that what’s distasteful to one person might not be to another, so swapping tasks keeps people happy). They strongly support the use of tuition benefits. They actively work to help student hires develop professionally, not just do the tasks of the job.

11. Are there ways that communication in your organization fosters or impedes staff engagement?

It’s hard functioning across two campuses – holding frequent meetings helps – e-mails have become a problem for people to wade through, and it’s hard to get busy people on the phone. It’s harder and harder to control the flow of information, because different people want their information in different forms (some what information ahead of time, others don’t) – which makes it hard to get everyone on the same page when decision-making needs to happen.

There’s an information overload problem – too much detail, too many attachments – it’s hard to know who has read it all and who hasn’t. They try to find ways of matching communication to people’s preferred style, but really can’t do this for everyone.

12. In what ways is there a connection in your organization between support for work/life balance and the level of staff engagement.

It’s enormously important. (Already discussed above – flexibility combined with trust.)

13. Is there something else related to staff engagement in your setting that these questions didn’t touch on?

People need to have some control over their own work destiny and have some control over the conditions of their work. It empowers everyone to have input on these things.

14. What are some highlights you would tell someone who wanted to improve staff engagement?

ASK the employees – everyone who works there – honestly take the feedback, and not take it personally.

15. How does workplace staff engagement connect to staff connections/engagement/service to the wider University community and beyond?

(Mary) – when she worked at CCE, she didn’t feel attached to the wider U – but now is proud of representing her college and work unit in wider activities/groups. There needs to be support for people taking the time off to serve on U-wide committees, but getting people out there pays off: they have the opportunity to network and get to know people outside their work unit, they experience increased satisfaction, the service to students improves as people learn good approaches from other colleagues around campus, etc.

University Services Employee Engagement Project

For more than a year, the University Services unit has been in an active planning process to improve employee engagement. Last winter, this process was formalized when three leaders applied for and received a process improvement grant (this is the notice that Vic brought to us.)

University Services has 150 leaders (personnel in supervisory positions) and 2500 total employees, with an additional group of student employees bringing the total to 3000.

Headed by Kathy O’Brien, the unit is aligning their efforts with a larger system-wide revisioning process on the enterprise side (with parallels the academic strategic positioning effort). There have been changes already put in place affecting supervision and performance evaluation activities during this employee engagement development process which have already had results in lower levels of grievances, as one concrete measure.

At the end of May, the steering group, chaired by Linda Bjornberg (the individual we interviewed), will roll out the plan to the group of 150 unit leaders for their feedback. Included in the overarching employee engagement initiative are these teams:
* Services Values/Leader Behavior Congruence
* Work Environment & Employee Satisfaction
* Developing Human Capacity
* Performance Management

Each team is developing measures which will allow ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of changes as they are put into place and over time.

Each team has a charge and works independently, coordinating with others through the Steering Committee.

Here are the notes from our conversation with Linda, reflecting her responses to the questions of our survey:

= = = = = =

The process of the project getting set up was a bit bumpy, because it is quite ambitious and is being done on top of people’s jobs. One of the key planners (Lori Anne Williams?) left the unit after the process improvement grant was received. After some floundering, the group split into work teams with a steering committee keeping their efforts aligned. Linda has been keeping in touch with colleagues outside the University, looking at best practices elsewhere, and is thinking about attending a national Great Places to Work conference after attending a Twin Cities award breafast for area industry honorees. (She mentions Petters Worldwide, Ecumen, and Webber Shamvick – spelling?)

1. She’ll send their definition of employee engagement – the Great Places to Work definition is the “alignment of maximum job satisfaction with maximum job contribution.? Contribution includes not just doing things well, but doing the RIGHT things well.

2. Their example (she can send us team brainstorming materials) – the military sends people into battle, where there are lots of decisions needing to be made all the time that have critical impact – these need to be in line with the objectives of why they’re there. Employees need to have their attitudes in line to be the best ambassadors of their workplace.

Their top 3 goals: performance management: clarifying expectations – getting things in alignment – constantly doing the education piece.

A challenge is to communicate expectations and provide feedback to supervisees. They are experimenting with a “survey monkey? related to training they did with staff on this last January in facilities management, and find out how well it’s working. Then they need to find out how to engage the rest of the organization.

Who’s responsible? Everybody.

Job descriptions need work: this is moving forward, not retrofitting to the past.

Assessment: they are working on it.

Rewards and recognition: they are working on it.

Access to training: staff can’t be engaged if they don’t have the skills for the job.

Career pathing: she was on a joint civil-service & U work group on engagement, and came up with a worksheet on job expectations and what skill building needs to happen to move forward in job categories.

This goes beyond training to an individual development plan: experience, education, training, and feedback – which creates a creative loop.

It can’t be a program, but needs to be embedded throughout everything you do, so that people come to work excited to be there.

Career support and mobility: career pathing hasn’t been put in place through the organization yet – they started in Facilities Management, where there are expectations of training plus evidence of proficiency and three levels of advancement. They are working on doing something like this in Engineering. They (central HR) work with the unit to determine what’s needed at each level. Linda said that this effort has improved engagement. They used to carry 50-some grievances, which are now down in the 20’s – they have a very different relationship now with the Teamsters. They have been coaching supervisers in how to coach.

She said that typically in the past 80% of superviser/HR attention has been placed on the 30% of disengaged employees (on a spectrum where 17% are fully engaged) – the effort needs to shift away from these to the middle 53%.

Community building: she wrote this into one of her charges. The Pulse survey showed that only 18% identify with the U – this surprised her. She feels people DO identify with the U. There always seems to be good news coverage in the paper about the U and people take pride in it. She feels that the way we align each individual’s role with the U’s initiatives will improve this over time. She has a work team working on this.

Beyond the U services: there are no current plans to export this initiative to other U of M units right now – perhaps after their own people have a chance to respond and get on board. However, down the line, there needs to be a measure U-wide of some sort and expectations of written feedback on performance for everyone.

Next year, they have a goal of developing some web-based technology to keep track of this process (compliance with performance evaluation expectations), and they will be able to track and see trends by superviser. They can do feedback audits and quality audits (including grievances and customer complaints). They found, for example, that there were 30% of customer complaints in one audit related to a single supervisory area. They can use turnover information and exit interview data. They need tools to make decisions.

One of the work teams is looking at other units –U of M enterprise-wide practices.

There are also models of assessment elsewhere – such as Gallop’s Q12 survey from the 1990’s. This brief 6-question survey could pop up on employees computers and could take a pulse of employee engagement at any time.

They are looking at corporate models: a colleague of hers at Comcast has a process based on employee surveys

What are the benefits from attending to staff engagement in building community – both in the unit and the wider U?

(New wording of question)

Best Buy went from an annual to a continual pulse Q12 model. Using a standard like this allows the unit to benchmark against other work places.

Another best practice model: the Studer Group in Sarasota Florida – during a 2-day training, one of the suggestions was that, more than money at the end of the year or an increase in salaray, getting personal recognition makes a big impact – when a staff member was especially productive, the CEO worte a handwritten letter sent to employees homes telling the family about how valued the work of the individual was.

SE - External Sources


Here is what I found out from my meeting with Richard Ploetz, VP Global Business Solutions HR, on Thursday, 17 May. It was very interesting.

Medtronic does not have a staff engagement program per se. Mr. Ploetz identified staff enagement by referencing Medtronic's mission statement, which seems to be their staff engagement lightening rod. He said the company has strived to create a culture for their 37, 000 employees where they know the mission, are driven by it and see their work as a means to the mission. Mr. Ploetz had, along with his business cards, a Medtronic "mission statement" card (I have one I will bring on Wednesday, 23 May). Their philosophy is to keep it simple, strong and consistent. This statement helps them to attract, motivate and retain employees.

They have a Medallion Ceremony where the top executives (such as founder Earl Bakken) speak to new employees about Medtronics, its mission, expectations of employees in acheiving its mission, etc. They then present each new employee with a medallion with the mission statement on it (it is a hefty piece, a palm-sized coin that sits on an eisel). This medallion is only given to employees and they are expected to keep it on their desk as a reminder of what the mission is and the part they play in acheiving it.

They have a program called "Mission in Motion" that encourage employees to get involve, whether with the Medtronic community or the employee's "external" community (Medtronic will make donations to organizations their employees are involved with).
They conduct an employee attitude survey every 2 years (and achieve an 88-95% response rate from all employees). The survey is used by the unit/department/division/company. Managers and supervisors meet to discuss the results (as opposed to just handing them out to be read, if at all).

As to training, they have a Senior Leaders Program (which includes their spouses), Global Leader and Medtronic Manager training. They also have training courses for any employee to take also. Medtronic trains leaders in the Medtronic's expectations of their leaders.

All employees are encouraged (and leaders, managers, supervisors are expected) to design a career development program for themselves. It would include internal development goals, career goals and job empowerment. They strive to create a holistic culture to teach, delegate, empower their employees, encouraging them to participate in putting the "Mission in Motion."

Interestingly, Mr. Ploetz gave me a brief tour as he led me out. I commented on how beautiful the building was and he made an off-the-cuff comment about how they give tours, there is one guard who really knows the history of the company and his tours are quite interesting. The tours are for people internal as well as external -- and we were just talking about having University tours for staff! Quite serendipitous!

SE - Peer Institutions

Peer institutions and Staff Engagement

Berkeley – Laureen
Michigan – Mike – got some information (see e-mail)
Penn State – Mary Ellen
Ohio State & Purdue – Laura
Texas & Washington – Janet
Illinois & UCLA - Asim

University of Illinois - Asim

The University of Illinois does not have any major specific activities on staff engagement. They have individual programs supporting different kinds of public engagements as well as committees in a variety of areas. After contacting all three campuses' HR offices as well as the university level HR office the conclusion is that no specific program, office, or organized activities are undertaken at U Illinois on staff engagement.

University of Michigan - Mike

(from Mke's inquiry about Michigan): Mr. Allen,
Two years ago, we started a program called Voices of the Staff. It has been an amazing journey in staff engagement, and well received by all staff. Here is our website:


If you need more info after looking at our website, let me know.
Go Blue!

Diane J. Vasquez
Manager, HR Operations
Human Resources & Affirmative Action
University of Michigan

06 Feb 2007 LLRM
Notes from UC Berkeley websites
The UC-Berkeley site has lots of info when searched on staff engagement. The Office of Human Resources has the most info, and includes a strategy odcument from April 2004 that was presented to the Chancellor and Cabinet on "staff climate at Berkeley." The presentation includes a chart with the goal: To create an environment where the best people can do their best work" and shows the goals, context and actions related to
develop Staff and
develop supervisors.
More info on the hr website: http://hrweb.berkeley.edu/about/initiatives.htm
Berkeley also has a website just for a Staff Infrastructure Steering Committee. The Staff Infrastructure Steering Committee has a series of 'integrated projects' designed to transform the staff working environment at Berkeley and to help the campus recruit and retain an engaged, diverse and high-performing work force.
The Steering committee works with campus leaders, managers, staff and staff representatives. More info on specific projects is included at the site: http://sisc.berkeley.edu.
Berekely's Business and Administrative Services made a presentation to the American Council on Educations' Annual Conference in March 2004 with the title "Using the Balanced Scorecard (Kaplan) as a Vehicle for Cultural Transformation."

Exec. Summaries of Reports and Readings

Pulse Survey - Asim

• People are happy with working for the U, giving it a 4 out of 5. The exception here is the issue of promotion and upward mobility.
• When it comes to pay structure, it is a happy medium with a 3 out of 5. While people are happy with the benefits provided, they are not satisfied with the pay increases given. The pay level is again in the middle somewhere.
• Job security is perhaps a 3.5 out of 5, so a little better than just average. Interestingly, people show no desire to quit or plan on leaving the U.
• People are fairly satisfied with both departmental and suppervisor support - in both cases a 3.5-4 out of 5.
• When it comes to work life balance, people are still quite happy about it - 4 out of 5. Please note that in certain areas of this, for example child care, the answers might be balanced out by people with kids vs. people without kids or different family situations.
• The full survey, incl. graphs, can be viewed at http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/er/pulse/2006staff/index.html

New Employee Orientation Redesign: TLP Sep 2006 - Laureen

The report was put together by a Transformational Leadership Team in 2006 to evaluate and provide recommendations on a proposed onboarding program for new employees. The intent of the new employee orientation program (NEO) is to assist in employee retention and development by providing information necessary to their success, productivity and sense of community during their first years. The Opportunity Statement outlining the report and the onboarding program outlines:
Achieve Strategic Goals
Improve Retention
Improve Employee Productivity, Engagement, Morale and Sucess
Meet Employee and University Needs and
REduce Redundancies and Achieve Delivery of Cionsistent, Accurate Information.

The team first looked at the results of the exlsting New Employee Orientation Survey data and came up with a long list of problems with new employee orientation. They next looked at retention at the University and estimated the cost of employee turnover. The team then held focus group research, dividing employees into the groups of Bargaining Unit, Civil Service, Adacemic Faculty, and Academic P&A and asked each group questions on their experience with the orientation program, what was wrong, right, and what they would recommend in the future. The report contains lots of anecdotal quotes.
The team also looked at best practices at 3M, Cargill and Medtronic and at the U of Washington, U of Wisconsin and U of California-Berkeley.
The report makes 38 recommendations on how to improve onboarding at the University.

In looking for connections with Staff Engagement, I found the "cultural barriers" identified on pages 67 and 68 relevant. The report listed obstacles to achieving success for employee orientation which could also be barriers to ongoing staff engagement. These barriers are:
inclusion and community,
career progression, and
supervisory accountability.
On pages 46 - 49, one of the recommendations is to have a wide variety of activities, oppiortunities and materials for employees, including
Learning and Training Opportunities,
Career Progression and Consultation,
Performance and Expectations, and
Opportunities on Campus.
Finally, one of the recommendations "outside the scope" of the NEO report includes ideas to further the University's strategic goals with employees on pages 58 - 61, which include
Create an Employee Violunteer Program,
Create an Employee Mentor Program, and
Create an Employee Recognition Program.

University Services Employee Engagement Project - Mary Ellen

From web site (brought by Vic)

University Services Employee Engagement Project - University Services ($50,000)
University Services' 2500+ employees work in nearly every building on the Twin Cities campus. The University Service Employee Engagement Project will develop a program for those employees that will enhance their engagement and service focus. The engagement tools that are developed (surveys, focus group plans, and activities) will be shared with other University units so that successes can be replicated.
This project was selected for its important focus on the people and culture components of the University's strategic plan. Additionally, the tools and learning that will be generated will be of significant value across the University system.


1) "Driving Performance and Retention Through Employee Engagement" - Laura
2) PULSE Survey - Asim, Mike
3) U of M Work/Life Initiative 2003 Focus Group Summary - Mary Ellen
4) Merit Task Force - Focus Group Feedback - Mike
5) Compensation Study - P&A Classification - Mary Ellen - when available
6) Culture Task Force - Janet
7) Last year's PEL project - Leadership/management - Janet
9) Strategic positioning reports - faculty culture, others - Mary Ellen
9) University Services Employee Engagement Project - Mary Ellen
11) New Employee Orientation Redesign - Laureen
(same thing?) New Employee Orientation Report by Transformational Leadership Team 2006 - Laureen