Many wins with engagement

Engagement in our work and our workplace goes well beyond just a win-win. In fact, to express the positive domino effect of individuals and teams fully engaged in what they are doing, I’d have to string “win” together too many times here to keep you engaged in this blog!

Engagement is key to both individual satisfaction and to the CoM’s success as a whole. It is among my own top priorities as dean, as I’ve mentioned previously.

We know we have work to do in this area at the CoM based on our results from the last USask employee engagement survey a few years ago. This time around, the survey is being distributed to our full staff and faculty complement, where previously it did not reach most of our medical faculty.

So, as you know from the messages from the university in your inbox recently, it’s time to take the survey and I encourage all our staff and faculty to do so. While it would be great to see better engagement numbers, more important is that you take a few minutes to include your voice so that your experience is reflected in the survey results. Your individual survey link was sent to you by email with the subject line “USask 2019 Employee Engagement Survey INVITATION.” The survey is open until March 12.

A lot of the focus placed on engagement is related to its role in higher productivity, or the benefits to the organization. That’s a great end result, but the reasons why engagement is important start well before that result is reached, at the individual level. Just reflect for a moment on something you do, whether at work or through a hobby, where you are so fully immersed that time (not to mention worry or stress) simply disappears. Not only is there pure joy in those moments, it is often where our best work is done.

Our leaders and supervisors have an important role in creating a positive work environment where engaged individuals and teams can thrive. In the past year, we have begun on a more defined path towards workplace engagement with our strategic plan and with the roll out of the new career engagement framework for administrative employees.

From our strategic plan, our vision and mission statements are something we all share a role in bringing to life, and in which we can all take pride. We’ve identified areas within our strategic directions of faculty engagement and enablers that directly and indirectly target engagement. Our plan can also provide us with a sense of what we each are contributing to in our individual roles on the CoM team.

For staff at the CoM, the implementation of the university’s new career engagement framework has included more professional development opportunities through lunch and learns, staff training sessions on things like using WebEx and Nuance PDF tools, and a workshop this week on workplace mental health and wellness. Within our strategic directions, retaining staff is a focus and will involve efforts that directly align with improved engagement.

For faculty, under our faculty engagement strategic direction, we’ve identified that we must enhance faculty involvement in CoM planning and decision making, and further develop alignment of our faculty within our One Faculty model. We need to better support and recognize our faculty in their work for the college. Gathering more data to ensure we understand from faculty what would improve their experience will be key in all our efforts, of course.

I believe we are moving in the right direction, but as I mentioned already, we have much more work to do to become a place where engagement is the norm. I welcome your thoughts and feedback, both here and through your responses to the employee engagement survey.

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