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The Three Pillars of a Contented Workforce in an Ever-Changing Environment: Employee Engagement, Agility, and a Positive Culture

The old adage that the only constant is change bears true and it also remains the case that people remain an organisation’s most important asset – but change and contented employees do not easily co-exist.

To better manage this tension, Griffith University’s Information Services launched three surveys to measure employee engagement, organisational agility, and the workplace culture. Getting those three pillars right will deliver satisfied staff who are energised, committed, and more productive.

Abstract
The old adage that the only constant is change bears true, and that is especially the case in Information Technology, Libraries, and for higher education in general. It also remains the case that people remain an organisation’s most important asset but change and contented employees do not easily co-exist.

Griffith University’s Division of Information Services recognised this tension and therefore set out on a journey to understand how its workforce was traveling. The hypothesis was that we were typical of a large organisation, meaning we could improve on our communication, that our processes were bureaucratic, and that our people were feeling flat.

The Division therefore launched three targeted surveys over a period of six months, beginning in the second half of 2016. The first gauged our level of employee engagement, the second measured the maturity of our organisational agility, and the third was a workplace culture assessment. It is important to note that none of these were staff satisfaction surveys.

The ideal is to have an engaged staff, who have the capability to be agile in response to challenges, working in a culture that is positive and encouraging. Getting those three pillars right will deliver satisfied staff who are energised, committed, and more productive.

By triangulating the data from the three surveys, we answered some questions but generated others in our quest for an adaptive and high-functioning workforce.

This presentation will share the easy wins we were able to make, highlight the obstacles we had to overcome, and outline the challenges still ahead of us.