Project estate development, architecture, design and construction, the

Project Information

Working project name: What’s Next? (or Now What?) How to
communicate employee survey results and build programs to improve employee
engagement.

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Organization information: The project’s client is the University of
Colorado, Boulder (CU Boulder) Infrastructure & Safety Human Resources
division (ISHR).  ISHR is a division
separate from, but backing, the larger CU Boulder campus human resources
department. In addition to supporting 700+ staff from within the Infrastructure
& Safety (I&S) department, ISHR is charged with coordinating with other
campus departments and outside entities to boost employee morale, increase
organizational learning, develop leaders, increase division efficiencies and
manage overall recruitment and staffing plans for the I&S department.

The Infrastructure
& Safety department is responsible for the physical upkeep and public
safety of the CU Boulder campus.  Department
tasks include long-range capital planning, real estate development,
architecture, design and construction, the operation and maintenance of campus
infrastructure, emergency management and accident prevention, environmental
health and safety, and campus sustainability. The I&S workforce is as
diverse as its workload, ranging from frontline, classified staff to exempt
professional employees. The majority of staff are on typical 8-5pm weekday
schedules, but additional staff are assigned to swing shift (3pm – midnight)
and night shift.  Staff salaries run the
full gamet – from hourly to annually – and benefits and perks available to some
units are not always accessible to others due to differing schedules and work
environments.

The primary client
contact will be Terri Willis Director of Human Resources at CU Boulder.  Dr. Merna Jacobsen, Assistant Vice Chancellor
and Deputy Chief HR Officer at CU Boulder, will also serve as an advisor for
this project.

1st Reader: Dr. Richard J. Stillman II, Capstone Seminar
Instructor, School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado, Denver, [email protected]

2nd Reader:  TBD

3rd Reader: Ms. Terri Willis, Director of Human
Resources, Infrastructure & Safety, University of Colorado, Boulder, [email protected]

Project Description/literature

The CU Boulder
Human Resources team has always been proactive in focusing on employee wellbeing
programming and has spent countless hours in recent years tracking and collecting
data related to staff engagement. An employee survey was conducted in fall 2017
which went out to xxxxx
staff and had a xxxx%
response rate. The data collected from this survey is now available for
analysis and interpretation. Results from the 2017 survey provide an
opportunity to expand and advance existing wellbeing programs.  Further, through moderated employee focus
groups and careful data analysis, we may uncover some clues which could lead to
new programming targeted at increasing engagement with historically (underrepresented?) staff
units.   

While the
literature offers various definitions of engagement, the Gallagher definition
is “A pronounced state of enthusiasm characterized by effort, pride, and
ownership of work which fosters a mutually committed relationship between
employees and organizations resulting in the enduring pursuit of organizational
and personal goals.” (Gallagher, 1999) It is this definition of engagement
that will guide this project’s research.

The intention of
this capstone project is twofold:  to
analyze and interpret employee engagement data and determine the drivers, or
levers that may influence engagement; and then use this information in order to
recommend effective programs and strategies to increase engagement within the
department in the coming months and years.

Key Issues/Research
Questions

This project will explore the
following questions:

(RQ1): How can CU Boulder’s ISHR division use employee engagement survey
data to effectively and strategically improve engagement in the department’s
diverse work groups?

(RQ1 alternative): Which
work groups within ISHR have lower than average employee engagement?

(RQ2): What potential solutions and ideas for improvements should
ISHR consider to meet the needs within these work groups?

(RQ2 alternative): Considering the engagement survey data, which
work groups demonstrate the greatest need for strategic programming targeting
toward increasing engagement?

(RQ3): How do we define the big changes needed, then break them
down into small, manageable steps?

(RQ4): Moving forward, what is the plan to check in and evaluate
progress on a long term basis?

Proposed Methods

                To
answer the aforementioned questions, the researcher will engage in a mixed
methods study that incorporates both quantitative and qualitative methods.

                The
researcher proposes to gather existing employee engagement data which exists
from a campus survey completed in October 2017. This data can be broken down
into views for various sub-units within I. A complete and full examination
of the data for these sub-units will allow the researcher to focus in on those
units who have lower than average employee engagement.

                Additionally,
the researcher plans to begin conversations about the results with managers of
the work groups in order to identify areas for improvement and uncover existing
barriers to engagement. The researcher will moderate several small employee
focus groups, allowing staff to talk about their team survey results and
prompting discussions

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