Jane Rahenkamp is putting words in motion.
The Western Pennsylvania District marketing manager is one of many USPS leaders across the nation who are making workplace improvements based on employee comments from last year’s Postal Pulse survey.
The 93,000 comments have been grouped by district, and each district is taking its own approach in passing comments on to Postmasters and plant managers.
Rather than sending out all the comments — called “verbatims” — at once, Rahenkamp is distributing them in snippets. Each weekly email contains a handful of comments grouped around a particular topic, followed by four or five bullet points offering ways to improve.
“There is so much information in those verbatims that it could be overwhelming,” she says.
To help other managers make positive changes from the comments they receive, Rahenkamp offers a few tips:
• Start with the positive leadership comments. Think of ways to incorporate these behaviors into your daily leadership style, she says.
• Read the comments with an open mind. “Remember that we all have cognitive biases that cause us to think better of ourselves then we might actually be,” Rahenkamp says.
• Discuss them with your team. If you’re not sure if one of the comments could be about you, ask your workers. “If they are uncomfortable with responding to you, you can write one or two on a rip chart and have your employees write the numbers 1 to 5 next to it, with 1 being it’s not about our office and 5 being it is about our office,” she says. “That way your employees can maintain their anonymity.”
The bottom line?
“You need to be willing to change if necessary to fully engage your employees and reap the benefits that that engagement brings,” Rahenkamp says.
“Best Practices,” a series on employees who demonstrate on-the-job excellence, appears regularly in Link.