In the research of 94 HR directors from higher education institutions in the UK, the overwhelming majority of respondents (82%) reported that motivation and engagement had increased in importance over the past five years.
However, less than half (47%) currently has a talent management strategy in place, although 35% reported they are planning on implementing one.
The research found the top three employee engagement tactics being used within higher education were: clarity of role, setting performance expectations and regular appraisals.
MidlandHR's managing director, Declan Mcgrath, said: "Today's HR director understands the need to take a much more strategic approach to attraction, acquisition, performance, development and retention of the workforce.
"These areas are all vitally linked, being driven and measured by the organisation's overall vision and goals."
He added: "Increasingly, higher education institutions are looking to find better ways to achieve alignment between these organisational goals and the contribution of the different faculties and departments, which have traditionally had a long history of autonomy.
"In higher education, innovation, differentiation and high performance have all become universal requirements, driven by the urgency to become more competitive in the market and the fierce competition for funding."