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386: Strategies for Building a Flourishing Remote Workforce in Higher Education

386: Strategies for Building a Flourishing Remote Workforce in Higher Education

Join Dr. John Reynolds, President of Los Angeles Pacific University, as we explore how this university cultivated a flourishing workplace culture through innovative strategies like leveraging employee engagement surveys, nurturing trust in remote settings, and prioritizing personal development for leaders. 

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In this episode:

  • Introduction of Los Angeles Pacific University (LAPU):
    • Dr. John Reynolds explains the origins of LAPU as a response to the 2008 financial crisis, aiming to make Christian higher education affordable and accessible to working adults through flexible online programs. (04:46)
  • Focus on Workplace Culture:
    • LAPU emphasizes workplace culture since its inception, with a commitment to understanding and improving employee engagement through regular surveys and interventions. (08:23)
  • Importance of Employee Engagement Surveys:
    • Dr. Reynolds stresses the significance of annual engagement surveys in gauging the health of the organization and guiding strategic initiatives. (09:20)
    • LAPU uses survey results to address issues like managerial inclusion and align interventions with strategic goals. (09:35)
    • The FLOURISH model provides a framework and vision for a healthy workforce and culture that's aligned with LAPU's core values. (09:55)
    • LAPU has a team that owns and is committed to a healthy workforce. (11:34)
  • Sustaining Engagement in Remote and Hybrid Work Environments:
    • LAPU adapted its leadership style during the pandemic, prioritizing trust, empowerment, and clarity of outcomes to support remote and hybrid work arrangements. (12:22)
    • Past results of the survey showed that the managers felt excluded from the leadership team. A masterclass was developed only for managers to focus on areas like conflict resolution. (13:48)
    • The university employs various strategies, including weekly community meetings, virtual competitions, and technology platforms, to foster engagement and connectivity among its dispersed workforce. (16:48)
  • Leadership and Community Building:
    • Importance of focusing on community within organizations. (20:39)
    • Need for leaders to adapt their styles to engage with communities effectively. (21:16)
    • Building community fosters competitive events and enhances organizational culture. (22:35)
  • Leadership 360 Assessments and Development:
    • Utilizing leadership 360 assessments for self-improvement and growth. (27:52)
    • Benefits of receiving feedback and acting on it for leaders and their teams. (29:37)
    • Creating shared language and setting improvement goals based on assessment results. (29:46)
  • Supporting a Diverse Student Body:
    • Addressing the challenges of serving a diverse student body. (30:56)
    • Offering training and support for staff to engage with students from various cultural backgrounds. (31:04)
    • Implementing programs like student-success groups and shared-equity leadership models to ensure inclusivity and support for all students. (32:36)
  • Shared-Equity Leadership Model:
    • Moving beyond DEI as a departmental responsibility to a shared mindset and culture. (33:58)
    • Every individual in the organization responsible for creating an inclusive environment. (34:17)
    • Fostering a workplace culture aligned with core values of inclusivity, belonging, and equity. (34:58)
  • Continuous Learning and Growth as a Leader:
    • Emphasizing the importance of continuous learning and personal growth for leaders. (37:13)
    • Remaining curious, agile, and open to new perspectives and ideas. (37:38)
    • Seeking mentorship and coaching to support leadership development. (38:13)
    • Living out core values of fairness, justice, and equipping others to reach their potential. (38:46)


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