Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Taking Care of Employees (And Business)

I’d like to start this post out by complimenting the employees at Imagine!.

We are so fortunate here to have so many dedicated, talented, and passionate people who are willing not only to take on the difficult job of providing services to some of our community’s most vulnerable citizens, but to excel at it. The pay isn’t great and many of the jobs here are incredibly physically and emotionally demanding, and yet so many of our employees go above and beyond every day.

Because of the great efforts Imagine! employees put into their jobs every day, I feel an obligation to look closely at our organization to see if we are returning the favor. Are we taking care of our employees? I’m afraid the answer to that isn’t always yes.

When I talk about taking care of employees, I don’t just mean, or even principally mean, financially. I mean something deeper than that. I mean that I wonder if we are providing Imagine! employees with a culture that encourages creativity and innovation.

I have said many times in this forum that those of us in the DD world need to be looking for new answers and approaches in our efforts to improve the current system we operate under, and to find better and more efficient ways to serve those we already serve as well as those who need services but don’t currently receive them.

Because of the mistrust that is so prevalent among many of the key stakeholders in our system, our employees constantly feel pressure coming from all directions, and are weighed down by expectations that may not be possible to meet.

So how can we overcome those challenges and create an organization that is a magnet for creativity? Where ideas flow freely and openly and are embraced in the spirit of a constant striving to do better?

I don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m looking. Once place I have started my explorations is through the Disney Institute. I have attended a couple of sessions, as have other members of Imagine!’s executive and supervisory teams.

By the way, this doesn’t mean we went to Disney World or Epcot Center!

Instead, we attended some local sessions designed, as their literature says, to introduce us to the side of Disney few people ever see – the business side. The sessions are geared toward prompting us to look at our organizational issues in a new light, and identify specific Disney philosophies, strategies, concepts, and tactics that may be able to enhance our success at Imagine!.

I’m not saying these sessions have provided one-size-fits-all solutions to Imagine!’s organizational challenges, rather, I think it provides a framework in which we can explore new ways of addressing the challenges we face.

I think we owe it to Imagine! employees to create a culture where they have the best possible chance to succeed, a culture that is infused with creativity and innovation. Because in the end, it is not really just about the employees. If we don’t take care of our employees, they won’t be in a position to provide the best services to our community. That is not what we want – it goes against our mission and against my whole reason for being at this great organization in the first place. We do good work, but we can, and will, do better.

Then again, what do I know?

No comments:

Post a Comment