Johns Hopkins continues efforts to build fully engaged workforce

Confidential survey seeking employee feedback will arrive next week

Engaged employees put more than time into their jobs. They work with passion and energy, feel a real connection to their companies, and fuel their organizations' growth with creativity and entrepreneurship.

On Monday, Johns Hopkins University will launch the next phase of its efforts to build a fully engaged workforce by asking all staff to complete the Gallup Organization's Q12 survey. The School of Medicine will have its own version of the survey, which will be administered to its faculty as well.

The survey was first administered in 2012, creating a baseline for comparison. The results of the 2015 survey will help the university measure current engagement levels and create informed plans to improve employees' work environments. The Gallup survey goes beyond finding out if employees are satisfied at work to examine whether they feel that their efforts are important and their contributions to the organization are meaningful.

Gallup's research across thousands of organizations has shown that engaged employees are more productive, stay longer, and have a higher quality of work than those who feel disengaged. Organizations that value engagement provide a work environment where employees know what is expected of them, have the resources they need, and feel appreciated and recognized for their efforts.

"Our first experience conducting the Gallup survey in 2012 showed that employees provide extremely valuable information when they are given a confidential outlet," says Heidi Conway, chief operating officer for Human Resources. "It also helped us understand some important ways we can make the process easier and more effective this time around."

As before, Gallup will conduct the survey confidentially, and information will be reported back to area managers with no identifying information about the respondents. If an area has fewer than five employees who respond, their responses will be grouped with a larger unit (such as an overall department) to which they belong in order to protect employees' identities.

Last time, managers used the survey results to hold meetings with their teams, discuss engagement issues, and identify areas for improvement. This year, managers with more than five employee responses will receive a more streamlined planning format to help them address specific items based on their area results.

University leadership will also use the results to choose one issue for a focused, measurable effort to increase employee engagement across the organization. Efforts to "attract, develop, and retain a talented and diverse workforce of engaged employees" are part of the Ten by Twenty vision for the university's future. Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Daniel Ennis has asked divisional leaders to use the survey results to advance that goal.

"The survey takes only a few minutes, and it is an important opportunity for every employee to speak up about their own level of engagement," Conway says. "We can't improve our workplace without understanding what our employees think and what they need to perform to their highest potential."

University employees should look for the Q12 survey link to arrive by email on Monday. More information about JHU's Employee Engagement Initiative is available online.

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