The Cambridge dictionary states that if something is authentic, it is real, true, or what people say it is. The Collins English Dictionary defines authentic as that which can be believed or accepted; trustworthy; reliable. Lastly, vocabulary.com further describes authenticity as something that is real or genuine and not counterfeit. As we think about UT’s enormous presence in all 95 counties, these definitions help us articulate our shared values that highlight both our oneness and our uniqueness that make us authentically Be One UT.
Core values support the University mission while shaping culture across the system, build purpose, improve team cohesion and reinforce the shared sense of commitment at UT. During this issue, we will highlight ways we partner and collaborate across our campuses, institutes and the state to uphold our Be One UT values. Employee engagement is one measure to determine how we are “walking the talk” in the authenticity of the Be One UT values. Research shows that engaged employees feel energized, passionate and dedicated to their organizations. Our engaged employees are highly involved with their work at the University and have optimal performance. Some demonstrated characteristics of engaged employees include:
- Helping others for the betterment of the organization
- Recommending improvement opportunities
- Having a sense of purpose and pride in their work
- Staying at the institution because of what they give to it
A positive employee experience promotes strong employee engagement. We are pleased to have a 6% increase in our 2021 staff response rate from 44% to 50% for the 2022 employee engagement survey. The great news is that our employee experience score (percentage of supporters – percentage of detractors) is 26.3, far above McLean and Company, which conducted the survey, education benchmark of 11.3.
For the first time, the University of Tennessee System has earned its certification as a great place to work. The Great Place to Work® certification is determined by random sampling of about 40% of our current employees and what they say about their experience working at the UT System, its campuses and institutes. With 72% of responding employees rating the UT System as a great place to work, this certification indicates that we are successfully living out our values.
Among the top statements garnered from UT employees, this survey found:
- 83% of employees feel good about how the UT System contributes to the community
- 82% of employees take pride in telling others they work for the UT System
We are excited to be on a great trajectory toward making UT the employer of choice for all Tennesseans. It is said that feedback is the breakfast of champions, and our work continues as we take action across the state in response to the voices of our employees.
Join us as we explore our various pathways to authentically Be One UT!
Brian K. Dickens