Dublin City UniversityDublin City University takes a unique approach to employee engagement

Dublin City University takes a unique approach to employee engagement

Having undergone rapid growth in recent years, Dublin City University is putting staff at the heart of its future development

Dublin City University (DCU) is one of Ireland’s premier higher education institutions. Excellence in teaching, research and scholarship has led to DCU’s consistent ranking in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings.

In recent years, the university has gone through a period of dramatic growth, with a 50 per cent increase in both staff and student numbers. The university has also expanded to a multicampus environment following the incorporation of St Patrick’s College, Mater Dei Institute of Education and Church of Ireland College of Education into the university in 2016.

The incorporation of different histories and cultures into the university has created the opportunity to launch a comprehensive employee engagement programme called “Our DCU”. 

The programme launched in 2019 with an employee engagement survey, which highlighted the initial priorities for developing a single identity, culture and community. A series of workshops were held to better understand the challenges and opportunities the university faced, and this was followed by an online strategy event called DCU Fuse.

The Fuse platform was developed by researchers in DCU’s ADAPT Centre and enabled the university to engage directly with staff on a scale that would not be possible using traditional means.

A series of online conversation topics were launched on the Fuse platform, generating vibrant discussions with staff regarding the future culture and community at DCU.

In advance of the Fuse event, a series of informal social gatherings were held across all campuses with the aim to start conversations regarding the “Our DCU” community and encourage colleagues to have their voice heard. The levels of engagement over the four-hour session were impressive, with more than 13,000 page views, 2,300 likes and 960 posts.   

As a result of the views and ideas generated by staff, the “Our DCU” framework and implementation plan were developed to support and focus the university’s efforts in creating a vibrant, cohesive staff community and culture. The five pillars of the plan are culture, connection, dialogue, recognition and well-being.

The implementation plan has led to real change for DCU colleagues, from new communication channels to a highly successful virtual book club. An awards scheme was launched to recognise colleagues who made outstanding contributions to the university, and thousands of euros have been raised under a new partnership with Barretstown Children’s Charity.

Learning and development sessions that focused on employee well-being were run in direct response to colleagues’ feedback. International Women’s Day was marked with a montage of more than 200 female colleagues to recognise their contributions to the university’s success. 

One of the commitments DCU made to its staff was to regularly review “Our DCU”, and the university team plans to run virtual workshops over the course of the summer. A staff engagement survey and another Fuse event are scheduled to take place later in the year.

"Our DCU" is helping to build a community that everyone can belong to and can be proud of. "Our DCU" encompasses DCU’s ambitions for a culture that enables colleagues to flourish, connect and be recognised for their contributions.

Find out more about "Our DCU".

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