Update on Employee Engagement

Dear members of the University Community / Boozhoo / Aanii / Kwe kwe,

As many of you know, organizational culture and work environment are key priorities for Laurentian University as we strive to become one of Canada’s top employers. To help us understand where we are and what being a great employer means to us as an academic institution, Laurentian launched the Have Your Say employee engagement survey in 2011. This survey allows us to do two things: 1) it is a great opportunity to give (and receive) feedback, discuss the results and plan together for the future, and 2) it is a means of comparing ourselves with other organizations.  We committed to repeating the survey at two or three year intervals and I’m pleased to say that the second survey results are now available.

I would like to thank the 602 employees who took part in the 2013 Have Your Say survey.  With your input, we are able to learn about what you think is working and what you believe needs improvement – your input directly shapes our environment. A testament to this is our strategic plan, which contains several initiatives directly resulting from the 2011 survey (significant investments in professional development, LEAP, better aligning our administrative practices, and enhanced focus on organizational communications etc).

As I look at the 2013 results, I can’t help but think that we are another step closer to our Strategic Plan’s aspiration for organizational excellence: “we will be known for our positive organizational culture”.  Of the 20 key drivers of employee engagement measured, we have seen a positive increase in all 20 areas since 2011. Now, although this demonstrates positive momentum, I do want to emphasize that the evolution of Laurentian University is a journey and this is a long way from the destination.  We are listening, we are making changes, and we still have a long way to go before we “get there”.

I was very pleased to see significant improvements in the three areas of focus coming out of the 2011 survey: performance feedback (+12%), training satisfaction (+8%) and organizational communications (+11%).  These will continue to be areas that the university will focus on and invest in.  In addition to these, I believe that the administration could also add a fourth item to the priority areas for the coming period: recognition.  This is an area where in spite of the fact that there has been some progress, there is much room for improvement and as an organization we will need to focus more closely here. I know we have no shortage of people (and teams) that deserve this recognition, so developing and implementing a plan around you, needs to be at the top of the list!

On a more personal level, I was extremely pleased that there were marked improvements in the feedback from employees regarding respectful and supportive workplace. This is a foundation on which a successful society is built (let alone a university), and an area where compromises can’t be made.  We have benefitted from some wonderful conversations and education sessions over the last few years on this topic, and I look forward to continuing to focus on this issue.

In the coming weeks/months, you will be invited to a variety of discussions related to the survey feedback:

From August 29 until September 27 discussions will be taking place within each unit.  We are asking you to review the results, discuss what is important to you and prioritize which areas that you would like to see focused on.  Each of us has a role to play in creating a positive organizational culture at Laurentian and I hope that you will all take this opportunity and  engage in these discussions.

On October 11th the Leadership Group will review priorities from each unit in order to shape and develop employee engagement performance goals.

Thank you again for your continued commitment to Laurentian and your willingness to have these discussions – we’ll never be the organization we aspire to be without each of you!

Merci, Thank You, Miigwetch.