What Success Looks Like
Appreciation drives culture change
Diversity in People and Ideas, Excellence
June 14, 2010
When you mention Transportation & Parking, you might expect to hear a groan and complaints about parking tickets.
Last year, Transportation & Parking leadership decided to turn that response around. To do so, they knew they needed to make changes at the heart of the organization and shift their focus and culture from enforcement to service.
Sarah Blouch, director of Transportation & Parking, knew that, to see real change, the group needed to align itself behaviorally, structurally, and organizationally.
“We had to make changes at every level,” she said. “We reshaped our mission and vision to support a culture of service. We also reorganized departments to align units to work more closely and clearly assign responsibilities to avoid an “It’s not my job” mentality.”
Beth Kelley-Snoke presents Bus Driver Morris Stephenson with an appreciation pin during Bus Driver Appreciation Week, June 1-4.
Andrea Gintert, human resources director for Transportation & Parking, helped tie the organization’s shift with Excellence to Eminence, Ohio State’s culture transformation. Last fall, she conducted focus groups in which staff discussed the Traffic & Parking-specific results from the 2008 Culture Survey. The groups talked about what results they did and did not agree with, and what areas of opportunity exist for Traffic & Parking.
Out of that conversation, eight themes, or areas of focus, surfaced. At the unit’s annual training in December, the themes were presented, and the group generated ideas to act on those themes.
“During the training, we emphasized that we all have to work together to make changes,” said Gintert. “Employees are part of the solution and must own the changes.”One of the themes that became part of the unit’s cultural shift is increasing recognition opportunities. The team wanted to find out ways to let the staff know they are appreciated, especially since a lot of the service the unit provides is done behind the scenes, or requires around the clock support. One group that fits the second criteria is bus drivers.
“The bus drivers touch a significant number of students, faculty, and staff throughout the year,” said Gintert. “Focusing on bus drivers hasn’t really been done because they generally can’t participate in staff appreciation events because we need to maintain bus service.”
To recognize bus drivers for their efforts and meet the demands of 24/7 service, Gintert worked with a team of staff from across the unit, including Carol Michel, Tom Holman, Nicole Hernandez, and Melissa Miller, to plan Bus Driver Appreciation Week June 1-4. That week, students, faculty and staff were asked to say thank you to bus drivers while they were on a campus bus, or just out and about on campus.
“It’s easy to come up with ideas that aren’t over the top, and easy to coordinate. Little things can show staff they are valued and make a big difference.”
In addition, on June 2, bus drivers were welcomed to work with refreshments, a special pin, and a letter of appreciation from the staff. Staff from all areas of the unit attended the event, including Jeff Kaplan, senior vice president of Administration and Planning.
“This wasn’t a huge effort, but made a big difference,” said Blouch. “The bus drivers were surprised and genuinely touched that we took time to appreciate their contributions.”
Gintert said the unit plans to plan similar recognition programs in the future. She hopes to partner with other groups that have similar functions to spread efforts across campus and ensure all staff who provide a similar service are recognized at the same time.
“It’s easy to come up with ideas that aren’t over the top, and easy to coordinate,” she said. “Little things can show staff they are valued and make a big difference.”
Traffic & Parking External Mission Statement:
Our mission is to serve the campus community by providing parking access and reliable transportation. We provide these services by being conscientious and accommodating, offering excellent customer service through knowledgeable and professional staff while continuing to innovate and adapt to the ever changing needs of our customers.