Ongoing Engagement

MIT’s mission includes seeking to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

Employees who work with passion feel a profound connection to the Institute and commit mind, hand, and heart towards shaping MIT’s future. They know what is expected of them, are provided opportunities to learn and grow, are recognized for their accomplishments, and experience a sense of belonging and inclusion.

Best practices for ongoing engagement

  • Contributing to a supportive and inclusive environment
  • Engaging in ongoing performance and development conversations
  • Supporting individual development and career interests
  • Providing opportunities for meaningful work
  • Recognizing contributions and achievements

Contributing to a supportive and inclusive environment

The first step to employee engagement is letting employees know that they are valued and appreciated. There are a number of practices that support an environment where MIT employees can benefit and learn from each other. Best practices include:

  • Being open, welcoming, inclusive, and respectful of differences
  • Being aware of one’s own bias
  • Being curious about views opposite from your own
  • Asking someone’s opinion
  • Listening closely and adopting an open mind
  • Assuming less and asking more to learn more
  • Refraining from jumping to conculsions
  • Embracing unique talents and contributions
  • Encouraging someone in their career aspirations
  • Valuing differences in work style or approach and the added value they bring
  • Leveraging and learning from a powerfully diverse community
  • Taking action in response to behaviors that diminish MIT as a respectful and caring community
Be mindful of bias in evaluting performance
  • The Halo Effect — Ignoring one area of performance because you are so impressed with another


  • The Horns Effect — Letting a single negative component of performance affect your entire evaluation


  • The Similarity/Dissimilarity Effect — Evaluating an employee’s performance higher because you have things in common, or lower because they are different from you


  • The Leniency/Strictness Effect — Evaluating all employees generously or too strict (believing employees may be demotivated by negative or positive feedback)


  • The Central Tendency Effect — Believing so strongly in the team that differentiated ratings might undermine team spirit


  • The Recency Effect — Evaluating employees only on their most recent performance


  • Contrast Effect – Overestimating or underestimating performance based on comparisons to other employees


Engaging in ongoging performance and development converations

Ongoing performance and development conversations enhance employee engagement and drive performance. Engaged employees understand how they are doing and what is expected of them. Best practices include:

  • Regularly communicating team and department goals
  • Providing clarity and transparency around changing expectations, needs and priorities
  • Giving timely feedback that allows for growth, achievement, and course correction
  • Celebrating the completion of important milestones
  • Recognizing when someone demonstrates a core valued behavior
  • Reinforcing performance that advances employee, team, departmental and/or Institute goals

Supporting individual development and career interests

Engaged employees love what they do and feel supported in their growth and development. There are many ways to support individual career and development aspirations. Best practices include:

  • Understanding individual career goals and interests
  • Establishing stretch goals that provide opportunities to learn and grow
  • Coaching to individual strengths and talents
  • Identifying learning and development opportunities that meet individual development needs and interests
  • Finding for ways for individuals to share their knowledge and expertise and to learn from others
  • Treating setbacks as an opportunity to learn from what happened
  • Prioritizing learning by setting aside time for learning and embedding development in day-to-day work

Providing opportunities for meaningful work

Engaged employees understand the connection between their work and the mission and purpose of their team, department, and the Institute. Different people are motivated by different types of work and ways of working. There are many ways to create purposeful work. Best practices include:

  • Aligning individual job responsibilities with organizational needs and priorities
  • Keeping employees informed about changes that directly affect them
  • Involving employees in decision-making
  • Asking for ideas and input on team and departmental goals
  • Providing the opportunity to decide how the work gets done (when or in what way)
  • Providing the tools, systems, and procedures needed to be successful
  • Supporting individual preferences related to communication, recognition, and feedback
  • Considering flexible work arrangements that support individual and departmental needs and interests
  • Establishing and maintaining high standards of performance

Recognizing contributions and achievements

Recognition lets employees know that they are valued and drives performance that advances MIT’s mission. People what to make a difference in their work, and be appreciated for doing it.

Recognition is woven into the fabric of the MIT culture and encourages work that propels MIT’s energy, creativity, standards, principles and values. Best practices for recognition include:

  • Participating in a continuum of recognition through MIT’s Recognition Program
  • Continuously recognizing a broad range of unique talents, contributions and achievements
  • Giving and receiving recognition from a blend of sources (managers, peers, and collaborators)
  • Recognizing achievement of goals and milestones
  • Acknowledging effort as well as success
  • Recognizing both individual and team performance
  • Ensuring that recognition practices are fair, flexible, and transparent

Learning Resources

Tools and Resources