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Retired Action Project 3

Improving Two-Way Communication with an Emphasis on Valuing People

Describe this Action Project's goal in 100 words or fewer:

This project will improve communication as well as employees' perceptions of how they are valued.

By improving communication at all levels of the institution, increasing two-way communication flow, and increasing AQIP involvement, we believe employees will feel more valued.

Through surveys and focus groups, the college has identified communication gaps to address immediately by implementing continuous improvement projects (mini-projects). Additional focus groups will identify other gaps in communication processes and help us better define employees' perceptions of feeling valued. The action project team will prioritize opportunities for improvement and work with faculty, staff, and administrators to address those issues.

Identify the single AQIP Category which the Action Project will most affect or impact:

Primary Category: Valuing People

Describe briefly your institution's reasons for taking on this Action Project now -- why the project and its goals are high among your current priorities:

This project evolved from our Compression Planning sessions, the AQIP Examiner, and a general survey conducted by our Human Resources office. Many of our employees do not feel valued and feel there is poor communication flow at the institution.

According to our Mission, Vision and Values Statement, one of our values is to "Enable our faculty, staff, and students to reach their potential." With strong leadership, improved communications, and people feeling valued, we can accomplish this goal.

List the organizational areas - -institutional departments, programs, divisions, or units -- most affected by or involved in this Action Project:

All departments, all personnel will be impacted.

Name and describe briefly the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve:

Valuing people and communication facilitation needs to be a focus for our entire college and in all processes. Effective leadership characterized by open and free communication is essential to our college's well-being.

Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion):

Results of the focus group sessions will be published campus wide. We will utilize our "Clip-Its" AQIP newsletter to increase communication and awareness of the project. The President, Vice Presidents, Deans, Department Chairs, and Program Directors will communicate progress in quarterly meetings.

Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing:

  1. Responses in focus groups throughout the project period will help better define gaps in communication and in perceptions of feeling valued.

  2. Number of communication improvement projects attempted during each year of the project.

  3. Number of comunication improvement projects completed during each year of the project.

Describe the overall "outcome" measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals:

  1. Completion of 100% of the 10 communication improvement projects during the three-year period.

  2. The AQIP Examiner results at the end of the project will show an increase in positive responses (10% or better) to those items related to communication and valuing people.

Other information (e.g., publicity, sponsor or champion, etc.):

Through focus groups, previous surveys, and the AQIP Examiner, we have identified areas that we can improve upon immediately. We will work on these areas through continuous improvement projects (mini-projects). We will determine where four gaps exist and begin to develop continuous improvement projects (mini-projects) to close those gaps in communications and valuing people. These will be used as teaching projects, and successes will be celebrated. Additional focus groups will help the project team identify other gaps in communication processes and help us better define employees' perceptions of feeling valued.We will complete any of year one's mini-projects that are not completed. We will use imput from focus groups to identify and priorities four additional gaps and begin to develop continuous improvement projects (mini-projects) to close those gaps in communications and valuing people.We will complete any of year two's mini-projects that are not completed. We will determine where two additional gaps exist and begin to develop continuous improvement projects (mini-projects) to close those gaps in communications and valuing people.

The AQIP Examiner will be administered again to determine progress (at least a 10% improvement) and assess whether any additional measures are needed.

Annual Update: 2007-09-13

Describe the past year's accomplishments and the current status of this Action Project.

In year three of this project, we completed two new mini-projects:

  1. The Wellness Program was a pilot project to get our employees thinking about their health and wellness with activities such as free flu shots and other health related programs. This pilot project has now become an ongoing effort of the college.

  2. The Registration Process mini-project participants were cross-departmental, and the project was designed to create awareness of the process of receiving students' applications and analyzing how the process flows through the college. We made a significant reduction in the number of days between the time a student fills out an application and the date they receive our acceptance, their email address and their web advisor information.

We finished or continued the projects that were started in the second year of the action project:

  1. The Valuing Evening Faculty/Staff project continued with pizza nights once per quarter to value our evening faculty/staff. During the winter quarter we surveyed our employees. Twenty employees took the survey, 10 full-time, 10 part-time. We asked if they felt valued as a member of the evening faculty/staff. The results were definitely - 8, somewhat - 7, neutral - 4, and no - 1. We asked if providing this venue to meet with other faculty/staff adds to their feeling of being valued. The results were definitely - 6, somewhat - 9, neutral - 3. Overall we felt that this event contributed to the participants feeling valued.

  2. The Alternative Delivery mini-project was completed which defined different levels of online and alternative delivery and corresponding pay structure. c. The iPod mini-project was completed. The iPods were used with open source software. The group created podcasts for their online classes. Some instructors added podcasts to the course support web site.

We valued employees and increased communication in year 2006/07 through several activities.

Describe how the institution involved people in work on this Action Project.

The Leadership Team and Professional Development Day group collaborated and were able to put on a very successful Leadership conference. We put on an evening leadership session for the community and a daytime session for our employees. Surveys were filled out by 53 attendees at the evening session with comments such as: very inspirational and motivational, and outstanding. At the daytime session, our employees filled out 53 surveys, 35 agreed that they received information they could use from the speaker and 36 would attend another session with the presenter.

Our entire committee structure was changed this year. This was an effort to reduce (combine when possible) some of our college committees. The Valuing People Team became the Employee Success Committee lead by our Human Resources Department.

Describe your planned next steps for this Action Project.

The plan is to retire this action project; however, the Employee Success Committee will continue to discover new ways to value our employees. We believe that this action project has led to a heightened awareness of valuing people, and we will continue to work on it.

Describe any "effective practice(s)" that resulted from your work on this Action Project.

The mini-project process has been very successful throughout the college and employees have suggested new mini-projects - many that involve different groups across our campus. We feel the mini-projects described above are examples of effective practices.

What challenges, if any, are you still facing in regards to this Action Project?

We took the AQIP Examiner again in year three of the project and had the goal of a 10% improvement in communication and valuing people. We did not meet this goal. For all employees Valuing People went from 2004 - 2.49 to 2007 - 2.43 and Leading and Communicating 2004 - 2.5, 2007 - 2.49. We are currently exploring adding a fourth action project to focus on issues related to professional development and employee satisfaction. Regardless of how that discussion is resolved, our Employees Success Committee will continue to find new and creative ways to value people and build leadership skills.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of AQIP providing you help to stimulate progress on this action project, explain your need(s) here and tell us who to contact and when?

We do not need assistance at this time.

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