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Construction Services Progress Report on
2007 Initiatives to Improve Employee Satisfaction
September 24, 2007


ESI Dimensions and Related CS Initiatives:

CommunicationBuild the Team; Clear Standards, Clear Communication, Clear Consequences
ClimateBuild the Team; Clear Standards, Clear Communication, Clear Consequences
WorkloadBuild the Team; Improve the Material Expediting & Ordering System
Supervisor Build the Team; Clear Standards, Clear Communication, Clear Consequences

A-1 Build the Team


  • CS management has formed two Task Teams, both of which include Trades members.
    • Team One will develop ways to implement these strategies:
      • Include trades people in meetings to plan complex projects; get trades people to help with estimates; encourage coordination among trades on projects.
      • Conduct reviews of completed projects with the people who worked on the projects in order to identify best practices and areas for improvement.
      • Provide opportunities for individuals to get feedback on their performance from supervisors, customers, peers, direct reports and to give feedback.
    • Team Two will develop ways to implement these strategies:
      • Provide opportunities to build skills and keep up on new materials, equipment, processes and procedures, and industry innovation.
      • Use technology more effectively to improve communication between trades and supervisors, trades and vendors, etc.
    • The LMC recruited Trades people to serve on the teams.
  • “Lean Thinking” continues in the cabinet shop, and a project is starting up in the spray paint and sign shop.
  • The LMC continues to encourage CS employees to raise questions, check out rumors and express opinions on ways to improve teamwork.

A-2 Improve the Material Ordering & Expediting System


  • Material Expediting and the Carpenter Shop are cooperating to use checklists to improve the completeness and timeliness of deliveries.
  • An audit of the tool inventory is almost complete and there are plans for using new technology in this area.
  • The process for handling packing slips is changing to allow better financial tracking.

A-3 Clear Standards, Clear Communication, Clear Consequences


  • CS Crucial Confrontations Guides presented a four half-day class in February for CS employees and guests from Housing Facilities and Facilities Maintenance.  Attendance is voluntary, and counting only those CS employees who have attended the class presented by their peers in CS, the total number trained is now 69 which is more than half of the average number of regular employees.
  • Excerpts from VitalSmarts’ “Crucial Skills Newsletter” are being featured periodically in the LMC Highlights section of the CS newsletter.
  • A one and a half hour mini-session was offered as an option to the half dozen people who expressed interest in taking a CC class because their wasn’t a large enough enrollment to run a full four half-day class in June. Two people took advantage of the opportunity and the LMC encouraged all to sign up for the next available Crucial Confrontations course offered by Plant Academy.
  • CS Crucial Confrontations Guides continue to be available to assist with Plant Academy’s CC classes.  Another CS-specific class will be offered when and if the number of employees volunteering to attend reaches 15.
  • A one and a half hour Crucial Confrontations refresher session is planned for October 17.  Everyone who has attended a CS-specific class will be invited to participate.
  • Through a presentation at the CS May general meeting, the LMC distributed the Plant Operations Discipline Guidelines to employees.  Facilities & Operations HR Officer, Stacy Johnson and Keith Clark from central Human Resources provided the context for the guidelines and answered general questions. Trades president Ken Chaves attended and commented from the union perspective.
  • SurveyMonkey (www.surveymonkey.com) has been recommended for consideration as a web-based alternative to CS’s paper customer satisfaction survey.

B-1 Increase the rate of participation in the next Business & Finance Employee Satisfaction Survey

Activity on this initiative will start in October 2007.


C-1 Maintain an active, volunteer Labor Management Council charged with developing and monitoring initiatives that lead to positive change in Construction Services.


  • Meetings and related activities such as reporting “LMC Highlights” in the newsletter, Construction Services In The News, are ongoing.

C-2 Continue interactive, quarterly meetings of all CS employees.


  • The February and May CS general meetings included major agenda items recommended and presented by the LMC and Q&A based on questions submitted by employees.
  • The third quarterly meeting was held September 17.  Among the agenda items suggested by Trades staff and/or the LMC were: presentations on managing retirement funds by representatives from TIAA-CREF and Fidelity, and information on open enrollment for benefits.

C-3 Increase the number of CS employees who receive information through In The News, the CS newsletter.


  • There is some anecdotal evidence that the newsletter and/or the information in it is being distributed more consistently to reach employees who do not have computer access at work.

C-4 Improve the quality of hires (new and promotional).


  • Final recommendations were reviewed by CS managers at their September 6, 2007 and accepted with only minor changes. The next step is implementation. A document describing the newly standardized hiring process in Construction Services is available.
  • As recommended, reviews of the hires of two new CS associate supervisors will be scheduled to occur prior to the 90 day and 180 day marks.  A review of December’s hiring of two electricians took place before their probationary periods ended.

Content modified: February, 2008

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