A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE The Role of Strategic HRD in Establishing Employee Engagement Initiatives: A Case Study from Higher Education Submission from Brandon Sullivan, Kenneth Bartlett, and Sowath Rana University of Minnesota U.S.A Stream 4: Employee Engagement Submission Type: Full Paper th Submitted to the 16 International HRD Conference in Cork, Ireland 3rd – 5th June 2015 Brandon Sullivan, Ph.D. Director of Leadership and Talent Development, Office of Human Resources 319 15th Avenue SE, Suite 100 University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 55455 [email protected] Kenneth R. Bartlett, Ph.D. Professor of Human Resource Development Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development College of Education and Human Development University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 55455 [email protected] Sowath Rana Ph.D. Candidate Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development College of Education and Human Development University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 55455 [email protected] 1 A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 2 Abstract Purpose: The purpose of this paper was to examine the establishment of an organization-wide employee engagement initiative with a case study from higher education. Design/methodology/approach: We employed the case study methodology to examine the first two years of a multi-year effort to establish a strategic program to measure and enhance employee engagement at one of the largest, most comprehensive research universities in the United States. Findings: This study emphasized the important roles of the various key stakeholders within the institution: the university leadership, deans of the colleges, faculty, and staff. The findings suggested that designing and implementing such a large-scale initiative require support from all of these constituents. In addition, this paper explicated the process of designing a university-wide engagement survey, in which input from the various key stakeholders was taken seriously into consideration. Finally, the study elaborated on the significance of the survey results to all members of the institution and explored future actions to be taken based on these findings. Originality/Value: This paper offers valuable insights to researchers and practitioners on the establishment of a long-term employee engagement strategic initiative at a large institution. In addition, it focuses on the notion of employee engagement within a context that has been rarely examined in the literature: higher education. Keywords: Employee engagement, work engagement, higher education, organization development A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 3 The Role of Strategic HRD in Establishing Employee Engagement Initiatives: A Case Study from Higher Education Employee engagement has emerged as an increasingly important construct for the field of human resource development (HRD), with individual and organizational outcomes, such as job performance, financial performance, customer satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behavior linked to engagement (Harter, Schmidt, and Hayes, 2002; Macey and Schneider, 2008; Rich, LePine, and Crawford, 2010; Saks, 2006; Shuck and Reio, 2011; Wollard and Shuck, 2011). In addition, research has uncovered many HRD-related antecedents, mediators, and outcomes related to engagement, encouraging many organizations to adopt strategic actions designed to enhance levels of employee engagement. For instance, Shuck, Twyford, Reio, and Shuck (2014) found that employee participation in HRD practices is positively associated with cognitive, emotional, and behavioral engagement, and that engagement is inversely related to employee turnover intention. Shuck and Rocco (2014) proposed various strategies for developing employee engagement through utilizing organization development, workplace learning, and career development initiatives. Rurkkhum and Bartlett (2012) found support for the positive relationship between engagement and organizational citizenship behavior. These findings provide evidence to support the idea that employee engagement is a valued strategic issue for HRD. Problem Statement Despite recognition of employee engagement as an important issue, there remains a paucity of research to examine the ways in which employee engagement initiatives can be better informed by HRD theory and practice. In a recent analysis of the science-practice gap in employee engagement, Meyer (2013) concluded that, although there are many areas of A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 4 established research that support, guide, and inform engagement, there is a need to more directly connect academic findings and theories with organizations’ real-world engagement initiatives. This issue presents an opportunity for evidence-based HRD practice to bridge the gap between academic research and industry practice. In addition, existing research on engagement tends to focus on business organizations, whereas engagement in higher education settings has received far less attention from researchers and practitioners (Rothmann and Jordaan, 2006). This apparent lack of interest is puzzling, given that higher education institutions also face the forces of globalization and change that greatly influence many other business organizations. Higher education institutions are situated in a national political, regulative, and governance system, which significantly shapes their structural and organizational characteristics (Vaira, 2004). These institutions, therefore, are directly influenced by the forces of globalization and technology, and must transform their role, relationships, policies, priorities, and structures in order to adapt to these changes. Research from across the social sciences shows that the ability of an organization to solve difficult social, political, and economic problems and to successfully address challenges depends upon individual participation, motivation, and investment in working together toward common goals (Sullivan, Snyder, and Sullivan, 2007). Moreover, the development of human resources in higher educational institutions remain of utmost importance because of the need to maintain qualified teaching and non-teaching staff in order to provide quality education (Deligero and Laguador, 2014). A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 5 Purpose and Significance of the Study Framed in theory and research from organization development (OD), this paper examines the establishment of an organization-wide employee engagement initiative with a case study from higher education. The overarching research questions for this study are: 1. What evidence is there to suggest the suitable application of an employee engagement strategy to the context of higher education? 2. How does OD theory and research inform the development and implementation of an employee engagement strategy in the context of higher education? Our paper employed the case study methodology (Yin, 2014) to examine the first two years of a multi-year effort to establish a strategic program to measure and enhance employee engagement at one of the largest, most comprehensive research universities in the United States. The case study was selected as the most appropriate research approach to examine “how” a phenomenon occurs and focus on a real-life context (Yin, 2014). In addition, we relied on multiple sources of evidence (surveys, interviews, and reports) to support our findings. The significance of the study is two-fold. First, it offers valuable insights to researchers and practitioners on the establishment of a long-term employee engagement strategic initiative at a large institution. Second, it focuses on the notion of employee engagement within a context that has been rarely examined in the literature: higher education. In this paper, we begin by reviewing the theoretical and empirical connections between HRD and employee engagement. Next, we discuss evidence that common engagement practices are not yielding strong results and evaluate gaps in research on effective engagement practices. We propose that additional linkages between HRD and engagement can address these gaps and inform a more scientifically robust A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 6 and practical approach to enhancing engagement in real-world organizations. We then present a case study from one of the largest research universities in the United States to illustrate and test these ideas. Theoretical Background The concept of employee engagement began to appear in the organizational and business literature around two decades ago and started to gain prominence in HRD research within the last decade (Shuck and Rocco, 2014). Two theoretical frameworks serve as important conceptual foundations that undergird much of the existing research on engagement: Kahn’s (1990, 1992) theory of the psychological conditions of engagement and the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) model. First, Kahn (1990) defined engagement as the “harnessing of organization members’ selves to their work roles” (p.694). When engaged, employees “employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performance” (Kahn, 1990, p.694). Kahn’s (1990) framework emphasizes the interplay between a person’s individual, group, and organizational contexts, and postulates that one’s psychological experience strongly influences their attitudes and behaviors. In essence, Kahn (1990) identified three main psychological conditions – meaningfulness, safety, and availability – as essential to driving a person’s engagement level. The second approach, the JD-R model, postulates that job burnout and engagement are influenced by two specific sets of work conditions: job demands and job resources (Schaufeli, Bakker, and van Rhenen, 2009). Job demands are the “things that have to be done” and refer to the aspects of job that require “sustained physical and/or psychological effort” by the employees and therefore may lead to certain “physiological and/or psychological costs” (Schaufeli and Bakker, 2004, p.296). Job resources, on the other hand, refer to all aspects of the job that reduce A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 7 job demands and their associated costs, that are essential toward achieving work-related goals, and that can enhance an individual’s growth, learning, and development (Schaufeli and Bakker, 2004). Job resources may include things such as physical resources, performance feedback, supervisor and co-worker support, and supervisory coaching. Existing research has shown that engagement significantly predicts various important outcomes such as organizational citizenship behavior, discretionary effort, commitment, performance, and retention (Macey and Schneider, 2008; Saks, 2006; Rurkkhum and Bartlett, 2012; Wollard and Shuck, 2011). Given these documented benefits, the growth in the number and expenditure of employee engagement initiatives is noted as a key organizational trend (Alfes and Leloglu, 2014; Macey and Schneider, 2008; Shuck, Rocco, and Albornoz, 2011). Employee engagement surveys have become a common practice in the business world, with an array of validated, well-established instruments and measurement approaches. At the same time, however, there is skepticism evident among practitioners and business leaders in the effectiveness of current engagement practices. Examples of this skepticism can be seen in popular business publications such as Forbes (Bersin, 2014), Fast Company (Crowly, 2013), and Business Week (Ryan, 2012) as well as in recent HRD research (Sambrook, Jones, and Doloriert, 2014). Furthermore, despite a growing emphasis on engagement in many U.S. organizations, data show that the engagement levels have remained largely static over the past decade (Gallup, 2013). Data from Europe has suggested that levels of engagement increased only slightly between 2009 and 2013, after dropping in 2010 and 2011 (Aon Hewitt, 2014). Framed in OD theory and research, this paper aims to provide an in-depth investigation of an organization-wide employee engagement intervention within a large research university. An OD intervention refers to a series of activities, actions, and events aimed at improving A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 8 organizational performance and effectiveness (Cummings and Worley, 2009). McLean (2006) contended that an organization-wide survey is in itself a vital OD intervention. Furthermore, incorporating aspects of core OD values and philosophy requires the incorporation of employee input and participation in survey design as well as in analyzing the data and providing feedback (McLean, 2006). If the organization fails to utilize the information it has obtained from the survey or fails to meet the expectations of the employees, employee morale is likely to decrease (McLean, 2006). Thus, this whole “survey-feedback-planning-implementation process” is a very important intervention for OD professionals (McLean, 2006, p.255). However, there are few studies that track the development and implementation process of employment engagement surveys in organizations Methodology The case study has been a common research method in many social science disciplines, including psychology, sociology, political science, education, and HRD (Yin, 2014). The case study is particularly effective for research that aims at understanding complex phenomena and generating new or novel ideas on topics or contexts that are relatively underexplored (Clarke, 2006; Yin, 2014). The case study methodology enables the researchers to focus on a “case” and obtain a “holistic and real-world perspective” (Yin, 2014, p.4). This approach, therefore, is considered to be very useful and appropriate in this instance, as the aim of this research is to enhance our understanding of an employee engagement initiative at a large research university. One of the major strengths of case study data collection is the opportunity to utilize different sources of evidence (Yin, 2014). Moreover, case studies using multiple sources of evidence tend to be rated more favorably in terms of overall quality and rigor than those that use single sources of evidence (Yin, 2014). Data collection for this study was undertaken through a A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 9 triangulation of multiple sources of evidence (Yin, 2014), specifically a university-wide engagement survey, interviews and conversations with academic leaders, staff, and faculty, as well as reports at the departmental and university levels. Structured interviews were conducted with a variety of key stakeholders, including several senior academic and administrative leaders. These interviews focused on understanding how faculty and staff experience engagement, identifying factors that enhance engagement, and describing common barriers or obstacles to engagement. Based on these interviews as well as a review of the scientific research on engagement and organizational effectiveness, a 33-item engagement survey was developed. The survey, which included faculty and staff versions, consisted of 33 items and two open-ended questions measuring employee engagement and a number of factors shown to influence engagement (e.g., respect, recognition, open communication, perceptions of leadership). Finally, reports were created and shared with departments and units that had at least 10 faculty or staff responses. These reports included unitspecific results along with benchmarks comparing responses to each item with the broader unit (e.g., a department’s report would include the college-level benchmark) as well the campus and total university. Context of Organization Development Initiative The context of this engagement initiative is a comprehensive research university, which employs more than 25,000 people across five system-campuses. One of the campuses is one of the largest and most comprehensive research universities in the United States and includes 18 colleges and professional schools. Nearly 4,000 faculty and 19,000 staff work at this campus, which has more than 30,000 undergraduates and nearly 17,000 graduate and professional A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 10 students.. The employee engagement initiative was developed and implemented for faculty and staff across all five system-campuses. Discussion Our discussion is divided into four sections: (a) the organizational context for the engagement initiative, (b) the process of designing an engagement survey for higher education, (c) the survey reports, and (d) the next steps and action plans based on the results of the initiative. Organizational Context for Engagement The employee engagement initiative was part of a broader set of priorities determined by the senior leadership of the University and supported by the Board of Regents. These broader priorities were determined, in part, to address significant changes and challenges facing higher education. These challenges include greater global competition for top talent, shifts in enrollment trends, long-term declines in state and federal funding, greater competition for grants, and a need for more interdisciplinary research collaboration. To address the challenges facing the University, the broader priorities included the creation and implementation of a new strategic plan for the largest campus. This plan outlined a direction and action-steps for advancing the University’s academic mission over a ten-year period. Included in this plan were many action-steps that placed a heavy emphasis on new or more effective HRD practices. Specific areas of focus included building more consistent leadership skills, making leadership roles more appealing to faculty, and creating an organizational culture focused on efficiency, accountability, and innovation. Additional areas of focus included setting clearer expectations for performance, providing more meaningful feedback, more support faculty and staff development, more effective recognition and incentives, A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 11 and promoting greater interdisciplinary scholarship. Many of these action-steps describe HRD practices that are strongly related to employee engagement. Although engagement within the context of higher education has received limited attention from scholars and practitioner, there is some evidence in the existing body of literature in support of its relevance and significance. Rothmann and Jordaan (2006), for instance, investigated work engagement of academics in various South African higher education institutions and found that job resources (such as organizational support and growth opportunities) significantly predicted engagement. Van den Berg, Bakker, and Ten Cate (2013) examined the engagement levels of teaching faculty at a Dutch University Medical Centre and found that the faculty felt a higher engagement with patient care than with research and education. Barkhuizen, Mogwere, and Schutte (2014) found positive relationships between work engagement and talent management practices among support staff in a higher education institution. Along similar lines, Bland, Weber-Main, Lund, and Finstad (2005) studied the characteristics of top research-productive academic departments and identified several factors that are also important HRD practices related to engagement. For example, top departments were found to have clear and well-articulated goals, strong mentoring, and feedback systems whereby leaders and faculty members can exchange ideas and make collective decisions, and effective rewards and recognition (Bland et al, 2005). Together, this research and the current organizational context address the first research question and support the relevance of employee engagement, and its correlates, to understanding and enhancing organizational effectiveness within a higher education institution. A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 12 Despite such good alignment between the needs of the University and the science and practice of employee engagement, a significant challenge was designing an approach to the measurement and application of engagement that fit within the context of higher education more generally, and this University in particular. To illustrate this challenge, the University had conducted five bi-annual job satisfaction surveys in the decade before launching the engagement initiative. These job satisfaction surveys were sent to all faculty and staff, and measured many factors related to engagement. However, the average response rate to these five surveys was only 39% and there was little evidence that the data had resulted in meaningful action to increase engagement or address workplace issues raised by faculty or staff. A successful employee engagement initiative would require much broader participation and would need to lead to meaningful action at the local and institutional-levels. Designing an Engagement Survey for Higher Education To design an engagement initiative that would be seen by faculty and staff as relevant, useful, and supportive, a number of steps were taken to incorporate the organizational context into the survey content, the reports, and the surrounding discussions and process. First, a group of faculty representing a diverse range of academic disciplines was convened to provide input into the design of the engagement survey. Importantly, the faculty advisory group included faculty with expertise in work and the work environment. Second, a series of structured interviews with academic and administrative leaders was conducted to gather the perspectives of deans, vice-presidents, and other leaders. The goal of gathering input from these groups was not to define engagement or to identify the drivers of engagement, as these are best left to ongoing scientific research. Instead, the purpose of gathering input from these groups was to determine how faculty and staff at the A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 13 University describe and experience engagement and the drivers of engagement in their day-today work experiences. For example, research has shown that the behaviors of a leader will affect an employee’s level of engagement (e.g., Breevaart, Bakker, Heetland, Demerouti, Olsen, and Espevik, 2014). Many traditional engagement surveys contain items that refer to a “manager” or “supervisor”. For example, the Gallup engagement survey contains the item “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.” (Harter et al., 2002). It was clear from the discussions with the faculty advisory group, however, that these types of items that refer to a “supervisor” would not be seen as relevant, although the underlying constructs may still apply. In addition, because one of the goals was to create a focused and brief survey, input from these groups was used to identify which engagement drivers are most important for faculty and staff at the University. A third purpose of these discussions was to begin a process of educating faculty, staff, and leaders about the science and practice of engagement so that they would have a conceptual framework for understanding and using the results of the survey. A summary of the research on engagement was shared with the faculty advisory group and key stakeholders, followed by a series of discussions focused on how engagement is experienced by faculty and staff in their departments and colleges. Survey items were designed to reflect the common themes and language from these discussions. Items for faculty were finalized only after the faculty members in this group agreed that they described engagement, or drivers of engagement, in terms that would make sense to faculty and were deemed important to faculty success. The result of the survey development process was a 33-item employee engagement survey, which was administered to all faculty and staff across the University system in October of 2013 and again in October of 2014. The survey was designed to measure engagement, the A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 14 extent to which the work environment supports productivity and effectiveness, and a number of factors that can affect engagement. The constructs and definitions are listed in Table 1. Table 1. Constructs measured by the University employee engagement survey Construct Measured Definition Engagement Commitment, motivation, and pride for the work and the organization Effectiveness of the work environment Conditions that allow for individuals to be effective in their jobs and remove barriers to productivity Engagement drivers Connection to unit strategy and goals Support and encouragement for high-quality teaching, research, and service Open communications and trust in leaders Support for individual professional and career development Recognition and respect for individuals and their contributions Autonomy and encouragement for innovation Clear performance expectations and regular feedback Cooperation and sharing of ideas within and across departments Skills, information and resources needed to do the job well Equitable workload and support for improving work processes A pivotal component in translating survey data into meaningful action is the degree to which survey content and results are contextualized by the organization. This is deceptively difficult to accomplish, but lack of context may be behind the common failure of surveys to lead to meaningful action. In designing the survey itself, emphasis was placed on gathering input from faculty, staff, and leaders so survey items could be tailored to reflect the context within which faculty and staff operate. The increased response rates for the engagement surveys compared to the previous job satisfaction surveys suggest this was at least somewhat effective. A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 15 As this initiative enters its second year, context is also playing a critical role in determining the likelihood of action. For example, two colleges saw big declines in engagement among their associate faculty. The deans of both colleges were able to see these results with the context of recent changes in expectations and the external funding environment for associate faculty. The survey data pointed to a need for more coaching and mentoring, skill building, and goal alignment for their associates. Survey Reports In the first year of the new employee engagement survey, participation rose from an average of 39% on five previous annual job satisfaction surveys to 57%. In the second year, participation rose again to 64%. Although the response rate alone does not necessarily mean much, the large increase in participation does suggest that our approach was effective in engaging faculty and staff in the survey process itself. The 2013 and 2014 surveys showed high levels of engagement for faculty and staff, as measured by commitment and dedication, pride in working for the University, and willingness to exert discretionary effort. Looking at the drivers of engagement, there were strong scores for individual empowerment and respect. Faculty reported good development opportunities as well as interesting and challenging work. Staff reported improvements in training, support for innovation, recognition, and respect. However, faculty and staff also reported frustration related to inefficient work processes, unequal distribution of workload, as well as challenges to collaboration and inter-disciplinary scholarship. There were also increased concerns about department-level goals and strategies and how individual faculty and staff can align their efforts with these goals and strategies. In sum, engagement levels were high for faculty and staff, with some engagement drivers rated quite high and others rated much lower. A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 16 Much of the expected value of the employee engagement survey was in providing relevant and useful information to departments and colleges. To support local communication and action, survey reports were created and distributed to department and college leaders along with the expectation that these reports be discussed with faculty and staff and that a small number of focus areas be selected for an action plan. Because of the size, complexity, and decentralized nature of the University, it proved very challenging to ensure that leaders at all levels received their reports and understood how the reports were intended to be used. In year 1, the primary strategy was for engagement consultants to meet with the leadership teams of the approximately 40 colleges, campuses, and administrative units at the University. During these meetings, a brief summary of engagement research was presented along with a description of how the University survey was developed. Then, the unit-level results were shared and discussed, followed by a conversation about next steps for sharing the results with faculty and staff and identifying areas for local action. A key challenge in helping leaders take action based on engagement reports, was avoiding a focus on the data as evaluative or punitive in nature. When faced with information seen as evaluative and indicating a gap between goals and performance, people experience negative affect, which facilitates a focus on systematically analyzing information, scrutinizing details, and looking for discrepancies (Schwarz and Bless, 1991). However, positive affect, rather than negative affect, is a precondition for work engagement (Kazen, Kaschel, and Kuhl, 2008). It is positive affect that allows people to think creatively, holistically, and to become absorbed in work (Frederickson, 2001). In fact, recent evidence suggests that work engagement may be highest when people move from negative affect to positive affect (Bledow, Schmitt, Frese, and Kuhnel, 2011). In the first two years of the engagement initiative, there seems to be a A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 17 strong tendency among academic leaders to interpret engagement reports as evaluative rather than developmental. As a result, a key focus of the engagement efforts is helping leaders move from the initial focus on the evaluative nature of the data, which promotes behaviors that may be a barrier to engagement, to seeing the potential for connecting engagement data with other information and considering ways of using it developmentally. Next Steps and Action Plans [please feel free to revise this heading] The next steps in the engagement initiative include the identification and implementation of action steps at the departmental, collegiate, and institutional levels. Due to the decentralized nature of the University, priorities for action are determined largely at the local level, based on the specific goals, challenges, and interests of faculty and staff within a given department or college. Guidance was provided through a recommended process for determining areas of focus and formulating specific action steps. Finally, the next engagement survey will provide information about the effectiveness of ongoing action steps. Overall, the employee engagement initiative is a long-term, multi-year effort aimed at creating a more regular cycle of feedback and action at all levels of the institution. A number of specific tools and resources are being provided to support action. First, an engagement leads program was implemented to bring together representatives from each college and unit. The purpose of this program is to provide education and training on employee engagement and the survey process as well as to facilitate discussion and sharing of best practices across colleges and units. Another tool provided to all faculty and staff is a comprehensive online toolkit, which includes information about the survey as well as specific tools for gathering more information about key themes and formulating an action plan to address them. Also, consulting was available A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 18 to academic and administrative leaders to assist in interpreting survey data, conducting focus groups and listening sessions to gather more detailed information, and creating action plans. In some cases, the engagement survey illuminated the need for leadership assessment and development. In such cases 360-degree feedback surveys, leadership training programs, and individual leadership coaching was provided as part of addressing the engagement survey results. Finally, some institution-wide themes were relevant for groups already addressing broad issues. In these cases, survey data and consulting support was provided. For example, a campus climate workgroup was in the process of assessing and enhancing the climate on the Twin Cities campus. Engagement data proved relevant for this work and was shared to inform climate efforts. Conclusion and Implications for Research and Practice Employee engagement has become an important construct for scholars and practitioners in many fields, including HRD, management, organizational psychology. Given the proposed benefits of engagement, it is not surprising that organizations are rigorously examining ways in which to enhance the level of engagement among their employees. Existing research on the topic, however, tends to focus on business firms, whereas engagement in the context of higher education has been largely neglected. This study sought to address this gap in the literature and examined the establishment of a university-wide engagement initiative at one of the largest public universities in the US. Findings from this study may benefit engagement researchers and practitioners in a number of ways. In particular, this study emphasized the important roles of the various key stakeholders within the institution: the university leadership, deans of the colleges, faculty, and staff. Our findings suggested that designing and implementing such a large-scale initiative require support from all of these constituents. In addition, this paper explicated the process of A CASE STUDY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE 19 designing a university-wide engagement survey, in which input from the various key stakeholders was taken seriously into consideration. Finally, the study elaborated on the significance of the survey results to all members of the institution and explored future actions to be taken based on these findings. Future research could empirically examine the relationships among engagement and various important factors and outcomes such as institutional culture and collegial relationships, faculty and staff satisfaction, work-life balance, and organizational commitment, as well as student academic achievement. In addition, given that engagement may be perceived differently by different groups of people, future research should investigate the engagement construct at a more context-specific level – for example, among different departments or colleges, and among faculty or staff members in different job categories. Finally, the current body of literature would also benefit from more longitudinal studies or case studies on similar engagement initiatives in cross-cultural contexts. 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