Issue: September/October 2010
Best Places to Work: Employee Feedback
Getting your staff members to suggest new ways to do business may not be easy, but if you can engage them, you just might transform your company.
Location: Middleburg Heights
Employees: Approximately 300
What They Do: Physical/speech/occupational
Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees are given the freedom
to explore new ways of providing therapy.
Jennifer Trecaso’s supervisor once joked about including dogs in group therapy, but Trecaso believed man’s best friend might just be what some of Therapy Partners’ clients needed to open up to the process.
So, she wrote the Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Athletics Trainers Board for opinions on using dogs in her work then created an outline for her program and got buy-in from Therapy Partners’ customers. The program was such a success, the organization received a major grant to grow it.
“I love dogs, and a lot of patients respond well to them because they have them at home,” Trecaso says. “It gets people to do what you want them to do without having to try as hard.”
Employee ideas inspire 90 percent of Therapy Partners’ programs. Company president James W. Rogerson personally monitors an online suggestion box for the purpose, and all employee-created programs are published to an online portal so they can be shared companywide. Employees are encouraged to develop a new program every 90 days.
And not all ideas are solely client-focused. One therapist, for example, created a manual for other therapists who work part time and move from building to building — a schedule that can often result in confusion. In the end, encouraging employees to find new and better ways to do things makes everyone happier, according to vice president of company relations Shelly Grisik.
“If the therapists are excited about what they’re doing, they’re going to excite their patients and their residents as well,” she says.
Developers Diversified Realty
Number of Employees: 750
The Plan: Diane Kaufman, director of employment and employee relations, has two means of soliciting employee feedback: the Ground Breaker’s Program and the Innovation 100 — Creative Thinking for Innovative Solutions. The first is very straightforward. It asks employees for their money-saving and morale-boosting ideas. The Innovation 100 teaches employees techniques such as suspending judgment to come up with fresh ideas.
The Payoff: Ideas implemented from the Ground Breaker’s Program include offering gift certificates to the company’s Blue Plate Café, called Blue Bucks, and translating the company’s 800 number from CALL DDR to the corresponding numerals so it can be easily dialed for immediate use from a cell phone or BlackBerry.
Medical Service Co.
Number of Employees: 143
The Plan: Last year, Medical Service Co. created two ad-hoc committees, one on waste elimination and another on revenue enhancement, to solicit employee feedback. This was the first time such specific requests were made. In the past, the company asked for feedback through open-ended suggestion programs and departmental and biweekly leadership meetings.
The Payoff: At the suggestion of its waste-elimination team, the company installed more cost-efficient lighting in its Cleveland branch, saved $1,000 per year on recycling costs and even more through switching its shipping vendor from UPS to USPS. Because of the revenue-enhancement team, the company set up a patient-care department, which ensures new patients have received their products on time.
Number of Employees: 366
The Plan: Independence Excavating chose to hold off-site meetings to solicit feedback from key managers in both the office and the field. The result was the development of the Engagement and Retention Summit, which is aimed at correcting any issues preventing the organization from attracting, retaining and engaging its top performers, as well as coming up with new ideas for promoting these programs companywide.
The Payoff: Human resources manager Lisa DiGeronimo notes that having a companywide forum has created a friendly and safe environment where ideas can be cultivated.
Number of Employees: 70
The Plan: In 2009, Foundation Software held a meeting and asked its employees how they would restructure the company’s sales department. Marketing and sales departments were even split into two teams “to add a competitive twist” to the meeting, says Foundation Software marketing director Tracie Kuczkowski. “We mixed it up and had a variety of personalities,” which worked to the company’s advantage.
The Payoff: Eight of the ideas generated at that meeting were incorporated in 2010. One of the ideas was rotating people through each department so every employee has an opportunity to experience every other meeting — what they discuss, how they work together — and just get a better feel for that department. “The ultimate goal is that everyone communicates better," Kuczkowski says.
This record has been viewed 1517