What is Employee Engagement?
How Does Mason Measure Employee Engagement?
Resources for Supervisors
What is Employee Engagement?
At Mason, we believe that employees thrive in a strengths-based culture where well-being is centered and led by leaders who are committed to modeling and encouraging engagement in their teams. Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel connected to their job and the positive impact their role has on the organization, are committed to advancing the goals and objectives of their unit, and put effort into their work both as individuals and as members of teams to thrive both personally and professionally.
This Gallup article, "What is Employee Engagement and How do I Improve It?”, is a great resource for further reading.
Measuring and assessing faculty and staff engagement is a crucial step in continuous improvement. Below are some of the key reasons we dedicate time to measuring engagement:
Understand, create space for, and engage in better inclusion and belonging practices
A diverse and inclusive work environment allows, encourages, and creates a space for people to grow professionally and personally.
When everyone is consciously included and belongs, people feel more connected to their work, their role, and each other, which expands and deepens the impact and meaning of their work.
Create sustainably high performance
Understanding and meeting employees’ needs creates higher engagement and higher performance both individually and among teams.
Employees who are engaged and who feel connected to their work and role at Mason are able to create more innovative solutions for themselves, their teams, and Mason.
Support a flexible and hybrid work environment
Diverse workplace environments address individual needs, with individuals working in hybrid, flexible work, and remote work settings, while advancing institutional priorities and strategic initiatives. Teams are encouraged to seek resources on how to:
- Maximize efficiency and utilization of digital workplace tools and resources
- Manage the balance of work and life through mobile technology
- Flex to different place, space, and workstyle needs
- Lead collaborative, cross-functional teams
- Manage through disruptions
Identify areas to celebrate
To understand employee engagement, identifying areas of success is just as important as identifying areas of growth. The Mason community is encouraged to utilize the various Reward and Recognition tools, resources, and programs available through Human Resources, as a means to celebrate employees.
The Spring 2022 Gallup Faculty and Staff Experience Survey feedback guides our efforts to increase engagement and ensure Mason remains a workplace that values, supports, and develops its employees.
Employee engagement action planning takes place throughout multiple levels of the Mason community. HR's Faculty and Staff Engagement team works with leaders and teams to review results and develop unit-level strategies and action steps to implement meaningful change.
Supervisors are encouraged to contact email@example.com with questions about accessing and interpreting survey results and creating faculty and staff engagement action plans.
How Does Mason Measure Employee Engagement?
The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education is a national, research-based initiative designed specifically to understand the job satisfaction of instructional/ research faculty. Mason has an ongoing partnership with COACHE to administer the Faculty Satisfaction Survey.
Gallup’s article "Faculty Engagement Linked to Better Student Experience" highlights the importance of faculty assessment and directed action planning to further engage faculty.
The Faculty Evaluation of Administrators is sponsored by Mason's Faculty Senate. It allows faculty to share their feedback on the performance of the President, the Provost, and deans.
The Faculty and Staff Experience Survey feedback guides efforts to increase engagement and ensure Mason remains a workplace that values, supports, and develops its employees. Supervisors may access 2022 Faculty and Staff Experience survey results on the Gallup platform. Supervisors are encouraged to meet with the Faculty and Staff Engagement team to learn how to utilize the resources and information available in the Gallup Access portal.
Resources for Supervisors
Mason's Faculty & Staff Engagement and Organizational Development & Learning teams offer a variety of workshops, cohort programs, and custom trainings to support leadership and/or career development, performance management, and more. View the training and professional development pages to find programs that best suit your needs.
Faculty and staff engagement begins with the first day of employment and can be positively affected by the employee’s supervisor. The Supervisor Checklist for Onboarding New Employees provides supervisors with a list of suggested activities and interactions that should take place before the employee arrives, on their first day, and within the first 30 days.
Employee engagement is an ongoing, daily, monthly, and yearly process that continues through all phases of an employee’s lifecycle. Consider using the following engagement strategies on a daily basis:
- Develop relationships beyond the transactional.
- Take the time to promote a relationship and teambuilding culture.
- Support faculty and staff well-being.
- Promote collaboration.
- Confirm that expectations are clear.
- Acknowledge the progress of onsite and remote employees, providing recognition and praise.
- Support career and professional development.
- Provide clear, consistent and regular communication.
- Use a variety of communication methods to meet the needs of all employees, including Microsoft Teams and Zoom, emails, 1:1 meetings, etc.
- During meetings, allow for discussion, feedback, relationship and collaboration. Move beyond one-way meetings and allow for two-way communication.
- Organize work based on Gallup StrengthsFinder results. Have all individuals take the StrengthsFinder assessment, then discuss results with the entire team. Identify areas where strengths overlap and/or complement each other. Mason’s Organizational Learning and Development team (firstname.lastname@example.org) is available to assist and facilitate Strength's conversations, with leaders and teams.
- Encourage peer feedback.
According to Gallup, managers and their employees having meaningful, authentic, genuine, and focused discussions for only 15-30 minutes per week have a significant impact on employee engagement. The following outlines a 30-minute meaningful conversation, providing a balanced relationship and task-oriented approach to employee check-ins:
- Well-being (5 minutes): Take the time to check-in with the employee, focusing on them as a whole person. Be present, listen intently, and be aware of non-verbal cues.
Driving questions: How are you? How is life?
- Successes (10 min): Recognize and appreciate the employee’s successes. Discover their workplace appreciation language and regularly praise in those ways. Focus on an employee’s strengths.
Driving questions: What’s going well? What successes have you had?
- Challenges (10 min): Minimize focus on employee weaknesses. Avoid trying to solve the problem immediately or jumping to conclusions on the challenge.
Driving questions: What challenges are you experiencing? How can I help?
- Priorities (5 min): Listen to employee priorities and jointly determine final priorities which will positively impact the unit.
Driving questions: What upcoming tasks/priorities do you have? What resources and/or clarity do you need to be successful?
Every employee is unique. By identifying your employees’ strengths, you can align work tasks that complement strengths and individualize well-being, feedback, and performance conversations.
Mason partners with Gallup to foster a Strengths-based culture on our campuses. Supervisors are encouraged to have each employee complete their Strengths assessment and explore complementary strengths as a team. The Organizational Development and Learning team (email@example.com) can help facilitate a strengths discovery session for your team.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being, there are five essential elements to supporting an employee: protection from harm, connection and community, work-life harmony, mattering at work, and opportunity for growth. Guided by this framework, Mason supervisors and unit leaders can support employee mental health and well-being through the following actions:
- Create cultures of inclusion and belonging
- Cultivate trusted relationships
- Foster collaboration and teamwork
- Prioritize physical and psychological safety
- Provide autonomy over how work is done
- Respect boundaries between work and non-work time
- Engage workers in workplace decisions
- Build a culture of gratitude and recognition
- Connect individual work with organizational mission
- Offer quality training, education, and mentoring
- Foster clear, equitable pathways for career advancement
- Ensure relevant, reciprocal feedback
ProjectConnect helps faculty and staff build stronger community and enhance workplace well- being at Mason. Faculty and staff who participate in ProjectConnect will meet in groups of 4 to 6 participants over the course of five 1-hour sessions and engage in a series of thought-provoking questions and fun activities.
ProjectConnect is a great fit for faculty and staff who are:
- Community-builders who want to improve the workplace well-being at Mason
- Committed to participating in deeper, more interesting conversations
- New employees or employees want to expand their social circle at work
- Interested in getting to know colleagues in a small-group setting (4 to 6 participants)
- Willing to commit to all session dates
The performance management process is a collaborative partnership between an employee and their supervisor. It is a year-round process of defining expectations, maintaining open communication, providing continuous coaching and feedback, linking goals to organizational needs, and evaluating performance. At a minimum of once per year, this documented process will formally assess and rate the employee’s performance.
Visit the Performance Management and Evaluation page to learn more.
Purpose: George Mason University is dedicated to creating and providing an inclusive work environment, fulfilling work experience, and engaged culture where faculty and staff feel valued and appreciated. Stay and thrive interviews are a means to guide casual, yet meaningful, conversation around sense of belonging, motivation to stay at Mason, and/or factors in an employee’s decision to leave the university.
Stay and Thrive Interview Guidelines: Stay and thrive interviews will take between 30-45 minutes and will provide supervisors with a clear understanding of an employee’s sense of connection and belonging at Mason. Supervisors should listen intently, offering employees an opportunity to address areas beyond what is included on the form. Following the interview, supervisors are encouraged to use the stay interview feedback for continuous improvement.
Stay interviews are treated as confidential and will not become part of an employee’s official personnel file. Feedback from the Stay and Thrive interview should be used to help analyze and improve faculty and staff engagement and satisfaction at Mason. Feedback from the stay and thrive conversations will not be sent to Human Resources.
- Why Drive Employee Engagement in Higher Ed?
- What is Employee Engagement and How Do You Improve It?
- What Engaged Employees Say About Your Brand
- Designing the Employee Experience to Improve Workplace Culture and Drive Performance
- How to Improve Student and Educator Wellbeing
- How Fast Feedback Fuels Performance
- How a Best Friend at Work Changes Engagement in Higher Ed