|Andy Curto of the Springfield Tech Community College acting as facilitor during a Great Ideas meeting.|
In my July 12 posting, I outlined the way an idea system captures the creativity of a broad segment of the organization – those at the front lines who do most of the work. In this note, I want to focus on how idea systems affect employee morale.
In a college or university, there are really three groups of employees – staff, faculty and managers. The staff are those who work in the non-teaching offices including security, admissions, business office, registration, counseling, library, financial aid, information technology, marketing, human relations, grants and development, and facilities. Because of the central role of teaching and research, it is the faculty that receives the greatest recognition. Staff members thus may feel overlooked despite the importance of their roles.
Our idea system roll-out, however, focused on staff functions because they are repetitive and susceptible to refinement and, in part, because teaching and research tend to be individual pursuits. Employees involved with our idea system appreciate the interest in their work and, even more, they appreciate that their ideas were valued and implemented. Employees thus become engaged and empowered, taking ownership for their work and receiving respect for their contributions. College efficiency and effectiveness is raised along with employee morale, creating a feedback loop that leads to additional positive change.