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Results from recent employee survey

Based on feedback provided, MSU Denver’s engagement index stands at 83.9%.

By Stacy Dvergsdal, Sean Petranovich and Edward J. Brown Jr.

March 22, 2021

In January, Metropolitan State University of Denver debuted the Universitywide Engagement, Leader and Self-identification Survey. The survey sought employee feedback on work experiences, priorities, supervision, team dynamics and more to better understand organizational successes and opportunities for institutional growth and improvement. The survey also invited employees to confidentially self-identify their race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability status to provide insight into how the University is serving all minoritized members of our Roadrunner community.

In total, 53% of all employees responded to the survey, sharing valuable feedback and insights.

Universitywide Engagement and Leader Survey Final Response Rate by Area

Areas for celebration

Based on feedback provided from our employee community, the University’s engagement index stands at 83.9%. Employees reported being engaged in their work and in the mission and vision of the University. This engagement rate is considered very high and nearly best-in-class. For example, employees responded positively to statements such as:

  • I am proud of the work I do in my department/the University.
  • I enjoy my work in my department/the University.
  • I feel valued as an employee of my department/the University.
  • I would recommend my department/the University to others as a good place to work.
  • My job has a positive impact on my department/the University.

More than 92% of employees, also understand how their job directly contributes to the University’s mission, and nearly 82% agree that their position makes good use of their skills and abilities. More than 80% agreed that their colleagues are “willing to help each other, even if it means doing something outside of their usual duties,” and nearly 79% agreed that “Senior leadership communicate openly about important matters.”

Areas for improvement

Responses were also valuable in highlighting areas of University life, work and culture that need further attention and development. For example, only 47% of employees reported being regularly recognized for their contributions to their branch. However, when applied to the department level, more than 71% of employees felt recognized for their contributions.

Nearly 71% of respondents reported being involved in decisions that affect their department-level work, and slightly more than 58% agreed with the statement “Employees in my department provide candid and difficult feedback to each other.”

Why employees continue to choose MSU Denver

When asked to share the top three reasons they continue to work at the University, most employees (835 respondents) reported, “I enjoy working with students.” Some 720 employees also noted, “This job provides me with an opportunity to make a difference,” 521 marked “I enjoy working with my colleagues,” and 516 marked “I like my current role.”

Fewer employees, 310, marked “I like working with my supervisor,” while 265 reported, “I value the benefits I receive,” and 263 reported, “I like the schedule.”

How long do you see yourself working at the University?

Key drivers of engagement

Some survey questions had a stronger correlation with the 100-point Engagement Index than others. The questions from this year’s survey that had the strongest relationship/most importance for the University as a whole are listed here. For example, the most important variable driving high levels of engagement this year was high agreement with the statement “My job makes good use of my skills and abilities.” Put inversely, individuals who disagreed with this statement were more likely to not be as engaged.

Agree Neutral Disagree legendRanked from most to least important:

  • My job makes good use of my skills and abilities.
  • I understand how my job contributes to the University’s mission.
  • I am recognized for my contributions within my department.
  • I am given the opportunity to develop professionally within the department.
  • Our branch is a great place to work.

Senior leadership has set a Universitywide engagement goal to focus on “I am recognized for my contributions within my department.” Stacy Dvergsdal, associate vice president of Human Resources, and Edward J. Brown Jr., chief of staff, are working to establish a cross-collaborative team to help make progress on this important goal. If you are interested in joining this committee, please contact Dvergsdal at

Aggregate leader results

Another significant area of celebration is overall leader effectiveness.

 Supervisor Questions


 Effective Leadership Statement by Survey Taker Type

Next steps for leaders

On Wednesday, Sean Petranovich will send leader reports to all who received five or more responses from their direct reports on the survey. Results will be accompanied by a guide that includes best practices for sharing results, getting feedback, goal-setting and tips to help teams and leaders improve.

Leaders will talk through the survey results for their respective departments and branches to discuss setting an engagement goal that will support MSU Denver’s larger goal of becoming one of the state’s most desired places of employment.

Topics: Human Resources, Inclusive leadership

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