Two years ago, the Cajon Valley Union School District enlisted the world-renowned analytics and advisory company Gallup to evaluate corporate culture and employee engagement within the District. This collaboration is in conjunction with Cajon Valley’s aligned purpose and mission to the city of El Cajon’s; to be the best place to live, work, play and raise a family. This mission has led to a school board driven vision of developing happy kids, in healthy relationships on a path to gainful employment. In order to accomplish these goals, the District is focusing on employing adults who are happy, in healthy-relationships, and gainfully employed.
The importance of culture is widely recognized by organizations, but translating this into action remains a challenge. When Cajon Valley Union School District partnered with Gallup in 2017, the School Board made that decision in order to deploy one of the most influential culture surveys ever created, the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey. For a district first established in 1870, this was the first time the district had applied such a highly regarded survey to evaluate organizational culture based on employee engagement. As the largest employer in El Cajon, developing a positive employee culture for employees is a priority. The Deloitte Center for Board Effectiveness points out that, “Culture matters, because a strong, positive corporate culture provides a framework not only for risk mitigation, but also for both short- and long-term value creation.” (Deloitte 2018)
The Q12 assessment has tracked engagement of more than 35 million employees in 189 different countries and 69 languages. By tracking Q12 results from year to year and developing the right data-based interventions to promote growth, companies can ensure that their workforce is engaged and meeting its potential. By working with Gallup, CVUSD will measure the 12 elements that exist in every high-performing work environment. These 12 elements identified through the Q12 engagement survey represent the factors most powerful in explaining employees’ productive motivations at work. We know that investing in everyday moments and incorporating these engagement needs into our world of work can help provide direction, clarity, encouragement and growth that employees need to perform at their best.
Engaged employees fuel Cajon Valley and are the basis of the culture CVUSD hopes to create for adults and students alike. According to Gallup, engaged employees are involved in and enthusiastic about their work. They are 100% psychologically committed to their role. They are thrilled at the challenge of their work every day. They are in a role that uses their talents, they know the scope of their job, and they are more likely to look for new and different ways of achieving the outcomes of their role.
Chief Innovation and Engagement Officer for Cajon Valley Union School District, Ed Hidalgo, noted that “The really good thing is we are measuring [engagement], and if we can build happy adults, we hope we will have happier kids.” He also pointed out that the District also measures student engagement through the Gallup student poll and parent engagement through another Gallup poll. Hidalgo was happy to report “In both of those polls we are above the national average. For the parent poll we are almost 2x the national average which is about 39% parents are engaged. Nationally the number is about 20%.”
The numbers provided by the Gallup Q12 surveys represent more than just a set of data points. CVUSD is working closely with Gallup researchers to continually explore data and meet with employees to understand what the numbers mean and how employee engagement can continue to increase. Hidalgo is pleased to see not only an increase in Gallup survey participation from employees, but also the increase in actual engagement. “In our first year,” Hidalgo explains, “more than 1,498 employees participated in the survey and in the second year, more than 1,650. Employee engagement grew from 38% to 46%. These percentage changes, while seemingly small, represent hundreds of employees shifting to higher levels of engagement and decreasing levels of disengagement.”
Building an engaged workforce where employees are positive and productive requires people at every level in an organization to take accountability in creating a culture of engagement. According to Gallup, engagement is about providing employees with the direction, clarity, encouragement and growth they need to perform at their best and has linked this to improvements in workers’ health, well-being and personal relationships, among other benefits. CVUSD sees measuring engagement as a way for our leaders to focus on what employees need for their current and future performance and development goals so we can best serve our community.
Participating in the Q12 survey is just the beginning of the engagement journey. It’s what we do to make specific, targeted improvements within the workforce that matters most, and the only way to make a sustained impact is to get everyone involved. Starting this fall, Cajon Valley Union School District leaders will evaluate results from the spring Q12 survey and work with team members to identify opportunities to improve engagement throughout each school site and department. CVUSD employees will have any opportunities during the 2019-2020 school year to share their opinions, ideas, and innovations to improve processes and strengthen relationships to build on the engagement conversation. We are excited to begin this movement and continue with our role to help make Cajon Valley the best place to live, work, play and raise a family!
About Cajon Valley Union School District
With roots dating back to 1870, Cajon Valley Union School District focuses on the positivity of each student’s unique strengths, interests, and values. Serving over 60 square miles of San Diego’s East County, Cajon Valley Union School District offers personalized education, with programs that develop students’ interests into goals for a career-minded approach. Visit the district at www.cajonvalley.net and don’t forget to follow CVUSD on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram.