Framing Your Future Through Employee Engagement

Framing Your Future Through Employee Engagement

Matthew Williwam Hurtienne
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8275-6.ch006
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There are many diverse demands and pressures on institutions of higher education. We are now at a time where innovation is required for many higher education institutions' survival and sustainability. However, university leaders should not look to old archaic change models to determine a way forward. Institutional leaders should look for methods to engage all generations of their workforce and decrease the level of resistance to the proposed change. This chapter looks at employee engagement and provides a model that higher education leaders can deploy to stimulate employee engagement and innovation. Framing Your Future is a model that can easily be deployed at a team, department, or even organizational level.
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Evolution Of Higher Education

Employee Engagement in Higher Education

Take a few moments and visualize what your institution may have looked like when the doors were opened for the first group of students, and now compare your vision with the operational practices of today. Even though generations have come and gone, how employees and faculty are engaged at your institution is likely to be similar to the way it was in the 1800s. If higher education is to survive, it must also learn to evolve to meet the new demands of learners, but also the demands of its employees. Archaic traditions should be evaluated for their appropriateness for long-term sustainability. Across the United States, we are seeing universities close because they are more afraid of changing than they are with having to close the institution. Admittedly, some of closing are caused by denial that the higher education market is changing, and that “our” institution is shielded from these changes. Senge (2006) summarizes this very well when he mentions that what we think determines what we see; however, it is really what we see that determines our own reality.

So why is the talk about employee engagement so important in the discussion about the future needs of higher education? The importance of employee engagement is because of the direct connection between engagement and the level to which an employee is willing to invest in the success of their organization. Higher employee engagement levels will lead to more productivity (Gallup, 2013), economic growth, and profitability (Mehrzi & Singh, 2016; Sharma & Sharma, 2014), and that productivity will create additional innovation and a competitive advantage (Baily et al., 2005; Hill et al., 2014). All of this leads to the need for higher education institutions to better understand employee engagement and determine ways to engage their workforce in organizational planning.

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