Working always with our mission in mind

Chief People Officer Anna Phillips shares a reflection from her recent time spent at the Institute for Administrators of Catholic Higher Education (IACHE) seminar in the US.

Recently I was given the opportunity to attend the Institute for Administrators of Catholic Higher Education (IACHE) program hosted by Boston College in the USA with Professor Suzanne Chambers and Fr Anthony Casamento. It was a privilege to be part of this exceptional program and have time to reflect on how mission is integrated into every endeavour at ACU.

Together with about 30 Catholic higher education staff, most of whom were from North America, I had the opportunity to listen to and learn from many outstanding scholars about what makes a Catholic university so distinctive. Following the IACHE program, Suzanne, Fr Anthony and I visited three Catholic universities to meet with staff and learn more about how they integrate mission into their institutions and to see their operations firsthand.

As ACU’s first Chief People Officer, one of the questions I consider is how to make a positive, lasting and measurable difference for our staff. I reflect on how we bring ACU’s mission to life through the staff experience at ACU, by what we do and how we do it, with the intent to support our staff to flourish.

The IACHE program allowed focus and time to explore how we can embed mission in all of our people processes. This starts right from the moment that people consider joining ACU, to their orientation, and their whole journey with us.

We should also be asking, how do we support people in connecting mission to purpose and to the work they do?

The IACHE experience challenged me to consider how we can strengthen our programs for staff with the objective to engage and allow for opportunities to learn more about the intellectual traditions and Catholic social teaching in reference to their work, as well as highlighting the benefits of participating in community engagement.

Research has shown that if people are connected to their work in a more meaningful and deep way, through purpose, the work will be more fulfilling for them. Consequently, the organisation will have a more positive culture and better employee engagement.

So, if a flourishing, positive staff experience is an important element of university life, then all the more reason to ensure that mission is completely embedded in all of our work.

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