TWI FAQs 2017 – Did Anything Happen?

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Did anything happen as a result of the last survey?

  • Some 200+ work groups—more than 2,400 staff and faculty—met with a CLOC consultant to review their results and develop action steps for improvement. 
  • An additional 300+ supervisors used GallupOnline to review their group’s survey results. 
  • Gallup and the Thriving Workplace Initiative (TWI) team briefed the President on the campus results. The President and his Cabinet then engaged in two work sessions about these data.
  • Every Vice President and Dean had individual briefings with members of the (TWI) team.
  • 300+ faculty and staff honed their people skills by attending a Thrive Thursday learning session. 
  • 700+ people have joined the THRIVING listserv and have received more than 84 individual tips, suggestions, and best practice ideas.

At the CAMPUS level:

In their work with units, CLOC consultants heard that many areas on campus are dissatisfied and frustrated with the current Performance Review and Development (PRD) system. Many believe that the PRD process does not engender staff development, does not align performance outcomes to organizational goals, and does not stimulate high-quality conversations. This has led to the creation of a cross-campus task force that will look at ways to overhaul the entire system. The group will research best practices across different industries, and will make recommendations about guidelines, models, and practices that are flexible, focus on creating ongoing conversations, and encourage employee-driven self-evaluation and expectation setting. 

Learning and Talent Development in University Human Resources is redesigning their employee and supervisor training to align it with the engagement and inclusion factors identified in Gallup’s extensive research. Keys to Engagement courses will support your post-survey action items, beginning in 2018. 

TWI has created Thriving Partnerships, a 3-hour session for units and departments wanting to solve cross-unit problems, strengthen working relationships, and build effective partnerships facilitated by a consultant from the Center for Leadership & Organizational Change (CLOC).


At the LOCAL level:

This is just a sample of the hundreds of action steps work groups took based on their survey results.

Communication

  • Initiated Monday 10-minute “stand-up” meetings to facilitate better communication
  • Created simple profiles for each employee with their area of expertise highlighted. This helped them tap into the breadth and depth of their expertise, and they were used for both internal and external communication.
  • Began hosting feedback sessions for all levels of staff; using one meeting to hear from them and a second to respond to concerns and suggestions; this helped to foster a culture of inclusion and openness. 

Inclusion

  • Makes sure translators are available for large ESL groups during staff meetings—this was sparked by seeing the effectiveness of having translators at TWI sessions.
  • Worked with the Learning & Talent Development unit from University Human Resources to develop training sessions to increase trust, to target survey item C03 on inclusiveness. They anticipate that having all staff participate in the training will foster inclusiveness.

Training and development

  • Created a rotating training schedule that allows employees to cover for each other so each could take advantage of development opportunities while they are short on both staff and time. The cross-training also means that they’re more knowledgeable about how their positions connect.
  • Implemented a monthly team meeting that rotated to each location in a unit that was geographically dispersed and had become too “siloed.” The new meeting agenda encouraged joint problem solving.

Roles and responsibilities

  • To reduce confusion, group members interviewed each other to learn more about the gaps in their process, and instituted bi-weekly meetings with online task tracking. 
  • Created a manual that outlines tasks and how they are connected, to help clarify team member responsibilities and foster collaboration.

Team work/team development

  • Physically removed from its central office, a unit hosted a “get to know us” barbecue that was well attended and received such positive feedback that it will be an annual event.
  • Created a “compliment box” where staff could write down and submit compliments about their peers, in a new recognition of the value of giving and receiving praise and recognition.

Vision/Planning/Strategic Priorities

  • Created a process to set organization-wide goals with input from all sub-units. 
  • Had a full-day, staff-led “Vision Day” intended to align existing practices, functions, and program commitments with future strategic priorities.

Cross-unit relationships

  • Begin a “direct service providers” meeting to improve the flow of communication and input on Center-wide initiatives.
  • Created a liaison role and a recurring meeting to reach out to partner units as a way to educate and help facilitate sharing of needed information, facilitated them getting the information needed to do their work. 

The survey results are a starting point for dialogue, action planning, and follow-up. The real power of the survey is the opportunity it provides to identify and address issues within the organization. Every employee plays a role in analyzing what we can learn from the survey, determining what to improve, and making sure that plans turn into action.

The results lead to change when individuals and units use them as a springboard for intentional actions toward a thriving workplace.