New in 2018

New in the 2018 survey are nine items that ask respondents to describe their physical, mental, and emotional energy at work. Averaged together, these items—collectively referred to as engagement behaviors—provide an overall measure of engagement for the university workforce.  

These new survey items are designed to measure how connected people feel to their jobs in terms of giving full effort, paying close attention, and emotionally caring about their work1. To measure engagement, a validated scale will ask respondents to rate their level of agreement with these statements:

  1. I work with high energy. 
  2. I exert my full effort
  3. I devote a lot of my energy.
  4. I give my full attention to my job.
  5. I concentrate completely. 
  6. My mind is focused on the work that I do. 
  7. I put my emotions into what I do.
  8. I am emotionally connected.
  9. I put my feelings into my work.

Aggregate results from these new items can be used in several ways. For example, by correlating responses with other survey items, we can identify factors that increase engagement across the university and within individual colleges and divisions. 

Data from these items also can be used to compare individual organizations to the university as a whole or as benchmarks for tracking changes over time. Finally, measuring engagement behaviors makes it easier to use Working at Iowa results with other employment-related data (e.g., turnover and retention) and identify other areas for improvement.


1Kahn, W.A. (1990). Psychological conditions of personal engagement and disengagement at work. Academy of Management Journal, 33, 692-724.

2Crawford, E.R., LePine, J.A., & Buckman, B.R. (2013). Job engagement scale short form items adapted from Rich, B.L., LePine, J.A., & Crawford, E.R. (2010). Job engagement: Antecedents and effects on job performance. Academy of Management Journal, 53, 617-635.