About employee engagement

In October 2015, 1,347 participants responded to UAF’s recent employee engagement survey. The survey was a collaborative effort between Human Resources and Marketing and Communications and was conducted by DecisionWise consultants.

Nearly 50 percent of employees responded across all divisions, for a representative sample of our employees. This is important feedback that UAF leadership will use to improve the university.

Employee engagement is different from job satisfaction. The benefits of engagement are well-documented. Engaged employees have less absenteeism and fewer complaints, and they are more than twice as likely to stay with their current organization. Engaged employees are more innovative and committed. They also tend to be better stewards of organizational resources. Engaged employees are critical to the success of UAF.

If you have a question or an idea to help improve UAF’s employee engagement, we’d like to hear from you.

Submit your question/idea

What we learned

In October 2015, UAF conducted an employee engagement survey to understand and increase levels of engagement and to help make UAF a better place to work. The survey was divided into the following frames of reference:

My job

My team

My supervisor(s)

My organization

Specific survey items that measure levels of engagement were grouped to create an engagement index. 

UAF results show 21 percent of employees as Fully Engaged. More than 50 percent are Key Contributors — employees committed to the organization and who work hard to meet expectations. Twenty-two percent of employees fall into the Opportunity Group, and just 4 percent of employees who responded are considered Fully Disengaged.

The drivers of engagement, according to DecisionWise consultants, are those that key in on meaning, autonomy, growth, impact and connection.

Of the key strengths of UAF, connection to co-workers and job satisfaction scored the highest for positive perceptions and open-ended comments. People care about the organization and the people they work with.

Supervisors have good relationships with their employees. This is a real win for UAF and for the people who work here. Many of you have committed time to improving effectiveness by attending supervisor training, and those results can be found throughout the organization. The bullets below are proof of that commitment.

  • Supervisors have good relationships with their employees
  • People care about others
  • People treat each other with respect
  • People enjoy the work they do
  • People find meaning and purpose in their jobs
  • There is freedom to perform one’s work

Conversely, bureaucracy, communication and confidence in leadership are consistent themes that employees indicate are areas of concern.

  • People are not aware of what is going on
  • Communication between departments
  • Changes are not communicated effectively
  • Employees don’t feel they have a voice
  • UAF is slow to adapt to changes
  • Bureaucracy is a barrier to positive work
  • Confidence in leadership at the university
  • The strategy and vision are not actively shared
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If you have questions about the report, please contact Carla Browning at cjbrowning@alaska.edu.

Next steps

UAF leadership has identified engagement as a priority. We will explore identified areas of concern and work with employees to make improvements to communications and to our processes. Fortunately, engagement strategies can be implemented at little or no cost.

Themes such as culture and values, accountability, trust, and employee growth and recognition are all important to employee engagement.

Vice chancellors as well as deans and directors will have access to data from the survey to analyze their own areas and create action plans.

Every employee has a role in employee engagement and can do a lot on their own to create or continue positive changes. 

The MAGIC self-assessment from DecisionWise is a great tool for opening a discussion on the topic.

Additional resources and articles

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