Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Staff Engagement = Success at CIMC

Jo Ann Carr, director of the CIMC at UW-Madison, gave a great presentation on how the CIMC engages its staff by rewarding good work, building staff morale, and gaining staff input to make CIMC a great place for staff and clients alike. There were so many great ideas packed into this presentation, and here are just a few:

Make sure staff have the tools they need to do their jobs, including time, supplies, and knowledge. CIMC does advanced and cross training for all staff, both in modules and in groups. They use logs and blogs to keep up with what's happening in the CIMC and with each other and have a comprehensive view of staff development that is outlined in their policy manual.

There are clear expectations, a clearly articulated mission and vision, and they live their values. That includes hiring customers (thus connecting them with their customers in a very powerful way), recognizing good work (a monthly WOW award - What Outstanding Work), providing currency in collections and services, creating convenience for clients through timely displays and adopted shelving areas, and seeing themselves as vital to the learning process.

They are committed to "joy in the workplace and the work" and celebrate personal holidays, accomplishments and new ventures. (Among other ways of celebrating, Jo Ann bakes delicious cookies!) They show appreciation for one another; e.g., staff contributes to finals' week care packages for student employees, and they keep a sense of humor.

Jo Ann mentioned the importance of knowing employee likes and dislikes so that the recognition they get is something they actually like (not everyone likes chocolate, if you can believe that). But also, it's important to know employees' goals, stressors, and how they define success. Performance planning and performance reviews for everyone (the director is reviewed by all staff), using the logs and blogs, and having staff complete bios that are posted for other staff to read - all were mentioned as tools used.

There were many other ideas, plus some links to good materials. See for these articles: Brandi, JoAnna (2005) "Power up performance: 9 way to keep employees engaged." Aurora, Ontario, CA: HR com.; Leather, Doug (2005) "Happy employees, happy customers" Aurora, Ontario, CA: HR com; and Weir, Jason (2005) "The Gallup Organization's Q12" Aurora, Ontario, CA: HR com.

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