The Best Way to Improve Employee Engagement: Address Feedback 

Published on February 28, 2022

Key Insights: 

  • The most effective way to build employee engagement is to listen to feedback and take action. 
  • Faculty and staff look to their leaders and managers for signs that they care and are interested in their feedback. 
  • Start by asking your team to offer their perspective on the key issues.
  • Review the Employee Engagement Action Library for ideas on how to address the issues you identified. 
Feature Insight

Last fall 75% of faculty and staff responded to the 2021 Employee Engagement Survey. While the survey results show that employee experience and engagement varies widely by campus, college, unit, and department, one thing is clear regardless of location: when managers and leaders address employee engagement, faculty and staff are more likely to be engaged. 

The fact is the University is a large organization, so what drives engagement in one department or unit may not work in another. That’s why it’s important for managers and leaders at every level of the University to work to address and understand feedback from faculty and staff.

If you received a survey report, share it with your employees and schedule time to discuss the data. If you did not receive a report, you can still talk with your direct reports about their work experiences. Check this guide to learn more. 

Dedicate time to discuss engagement

Faculty and staff look to their leaders and managers for signs that they care and are interested in their feedback. Use a team meeting or schedule uninterrupted one-on-one time to gather context about employee engagement data and ask questions about their experiences.

The goal of the discussion is not to problem solve, rather to clarify and create a deeper understanding of the most important issues and which issues, if left unaddressed, will keep your team from achieving its goals. 

Prepare for the discussion

Your support for employee engagement requires continued effort and therefore it’s appropriate to take small steps. Start by reviewing the employee engagement drivers and choose one to three that are most important for your team’s work.

As you look through your employee engagement data, if you have it, and the employee engagement drivers consider them in the context of: 

  • Key objectives, priorities, and initiatives for the coming year
  • Recent changes or events (e.g., pandemic, turnover of staff, resources, leaders)
  • Current challenges

During the discussion

Start by asking your team to offer their perspective on the drivers you’ve selected. Consider using the questions in this guide to prompt discussion about the issues and focus on gathering information. 

  • How improvements in these areas will affect our work
  • If left unaddressed how will these issues affect our work

During the discussion, keep these things in mind:

  • Keep a mindset of curiosity and openness. 
  • Notice silence or long pauses. This could mean the group is confused or there is disagreement.
  • Practice active listening by summarizing your understanding of the feedback. Repeat back the teams’ input to convey your understanding. 

At the end of the discussion, highlight priority issues and next steps to ensure everyone knows what they can expect next. 

Next Steps

After the discussion, take time to reflect on the input your faculty and staff shared and how that feedback affects your most important work. Review the Employee Engagement Action Library for ideas on how to address the issues you identified. Plan a time to meet again with your team to brainstorm ways to make improvements. 

Disengagement begins when people who take time to provide feedback or respond to a survey don’t hear back from their leaders. Involving leaders, faculty, and staff in discussing the feedback and deciding how to take action is what will create positive change in the work environment.