Original Date: 11/17/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Raising Staff Self-Esteem
As part of its total quality and continuous improvement process, Plant Operations initiated several practices to raise self-esteem within the Department. The objective was to develop a staff that believed in itself and its purpose, and was willing to put forth extra effort. Plant Operations’ first step was the elimination of the night shift. By moving everyone to the day shift, students and faculty got to know the custodians. The general quality of life improved for the custodians, and they became more of an integral part of the educational process and community. Plant Operations also holds a kickoff breakfast at the start of every fall semester. Invited guests include Elizabethtown College’s President and others from outside the Department who speak on the importance of Plant Operations and offer encouragement. This practice is very effective in motivating and recognizing the employees.
Plant Operations takes full advantage of its educational surroundings by providing training to its staff in reading, writing, mathematics, computers, and communication skills. A typical workshop syllabus offers courses in Study Strategies, Basic Computing, Total Quality Service (TQS), and Working with Others with Differing Styles. This successful program enabled Plant Operations to win a $2,000 award from the President’s Fund for Distinction. The Department’s focus on education soon led to the establishment of the Plant Operations Scholarship Fund, which currently has more than $22,000 in its account. All funds for this program are raised by the Department. The fund gives $1,000 annually to a needy student; awards $1,000 to children of staff who attend Elizabethtown College; and helps finance staff who pursue undergraduate work and continuing education. This practice represents another way Plant Operations’ workforce has become an integral part of the educational process at Elizabethtown College.
Each year, the Department conducts a Plant Operations In-Service Day where cross-functional teams work on various activities, and speakers discuss such topics as depression, stress, physical well being, and out-of-the-box thinking. Other practices include an employee of the month and an employee of the year program where employees nominate their peers. In addition, Plant Operations gives all employees an annual cost of living raise. Two years ago, the highest paid employees voluntarily gave up a percentage of their raises and had it applied toward the raises of the lowest paid employees as a way of reducing the gap between the highest and lowest paid workers.
Plant Operations’ initiatives have significantly improved the self-esteem and quality of work life for its staff. By enriching the workforce through educational investments and other self-improvement opportunities, Plant Operations successfully demonstrated that better people make a better environment.
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