A Lasting Impact

Suzanne Fletcher had been concerned about employee engagement for some time. As CEO of the billion dollar company she had founded, she just didn’t understand the indifference that many people let dominate their lives.

She came across an article that the Gallup organization published that seemed to offer insights. 1The article, Life in College Matters for Life After College, identified college experience as a key indicator for engagement after college. Well-being in life, the study concluded, depended less on the type of college students attended than their experiences while in college.

What particularly struck Suzanne were the impacts of life in college on engagement at work. The highest impacts on engagement were:

2.6x Higher if students were prepared for life outside of college.

2.4x Higher if the college was passionate about the long-term success of its students.

2.2x Higher if students had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams.

2.0x Higher if students had at least one professor who made them excited about learning.

What she also learned was that people who were engaged at work thrived in all areas of well-being. Unfortunately, the number of college graduates who had college experiences that made a lasting impact on their engagement was very small.

As a follow-up, Suzanne did a survey in her company to identify the academic programs where their most engaged employees came from. The results were startling. What she found was that there were less than 20 programs out of the 152 programs where they recruited from the engagement levels that were consistently high.

These 20 programs had common patterns of student development.

  • Advisors were faculty who also served as mentors
  • Internships were encouraged from sophomore year on.
  • The programs had an alumni coordinator who regularly communicated with graduates.
  • Advisors were proactive with students who had challenges.
  • Advisors helped student’s find internships and jobs through an alumni network the program created.
  • The program had at least one faculty member who served as a student champion.


Suzanne decided to refocus her company’s recruiting on these 20 programs. “I no longer want to invest in hiring from programs that have lost focus on the lasting impact they should be having on students.” 

Creating a lasting positive impact on others is perhaps life’s greatest calling. But it’s unfortunate that creating a lasting positive impact is something that doesn’t seem to matter in society today. It’s not something that you can measure or manage because it comes from a purposeful driven life.

*   *   *

“Success is not measured in the amount of dollars you make, but in the amount of lives you impact.”– Anonymous


1 Life in College Matters for Life After College (gallup.com)

How To Use

Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.