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Board Meeting - January 19, 2000

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Meeting Summary - Employee Suggestion Board
January 19, 2000
10:00 am - 12:00 noon
DER, 345 W. Washington Ave., Madison, WI


Board Members:     James Behrend, Chair; Roger Cross, Member, Ken Berg, Member

DER Staff:    Peter Fox, Secretary; Janet Tidwell, Deputy Secretary; Bob Van Hoesen, DAS Administrator; Robert Toomey, Statewide SESP Coordinator

UW-Platteville Design Studio:

Paul Shecter, Professor
Derek Carpenter
Kathy Ebben
Nathan Maxwell
Miriam Schroeder

Agency Suggestion Program Coordinators:

Mike Ayers, Veterans Affairs
Michelle Bailey, Tourism
Blinda Beason, Transportation
Judy Bohling, Transportation
Valerie Clemen, Administration
Maura Ducharme, Transportation
Nancy Ketterhagen, Employe Trust Funds

Marjorie McCormick, DOT
Patti Swanson, DMA

SPECIAL PRESENTATION:    Project Status -- The Design Studio (UW-Platteville)

This meeting began with a special presentation by marketing and design students from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville.   Starting in the Fall 1999 semester, the students have been working on a special project to assist the State Employe Suggestion Board in making the suggestion program more visible and attractive to state employees.  Their efforts have included surveying agency and campus program coordinators.  Survey findings were shared.  The student team has compiled a 20-page report which includes the following contents:

   Managerial Summary  (SEE BELOW)
   Research Design & Methodology
   Findings Keyed to Each Objective
   Appendix I
   Annotated Questionnaire
   Example Survey


1.   Objective & Methodology:

a.   General purpose of this study was to discover the attitude and amount of effort put towards the State Employe Suggestion Program by program coordinators.  Moreover, how to improve the program according to their input.

b.   Primary research data was in the form of surveys mailed out to all identified program coordinators with an e-mail address.

c.   The sample consisted of 33 qualified program coordinators.  The surveys were sent out on e-mail and responses were sent back to one of the teammate's accounts.

d.   The data was collected over four weeks and then tallied by one individual.

2.   Findings    (excerpts)

a.   "38.5% of respondents felt a neutral or moderately negative attitude toward the program."

b.   "The average coordinator spends 4.44% of their workweek toward the program."

c.   "Program coordinators manage a variant population for the program ranging from 5 - 1,500 state employees."

d.   "70% of the respondents feel if one more person was added to help them in their division, more responses and effort would be put toward the program."

e.   "The average program coordinator uses brochures and posters to inform employees of the program."

f.   "A common response for improvement was that the rewards have to be higher in order to motivate employees to spend the time to suggest ideas and follow through with the submission."

3.   Conclusions and Recommendations    (excerpts)

a.   "...Department program coordinators hold an average of a neutral-to-negative attitude toward the program but feel that improvement is possible to turn it around."

b.   "In order to get the program to work, more time must be spent by department coordinators advertising and working with the program.  Moreover, the board has to work on improving response time because the long wait holds employees back from giving suggestions."

c.   "More research should be conducted to try and get more respondents and also do research on the employees who have given suggestions to get feedback on their attitudes and experiences."

d.   "A new poster and brochure should be created that informs and catches the eyes of state employees.  (Design team's job this semester).

e.   "Give each coordinator an assistant so that the work can be split and he/she does not feel overwhelmed."

f.   "More research on what other states are doing and look at the success of the program to get ideas on how to increase Wisconsin's success."


Attendees had a wide-ranging discussion sparked by the UW-Platteville report, including brainstorming ideas.  Some of the ideas mentioned were:

1.   UWP Students Nathan Maxwell and Derek Carpenter:    Have written objectives, timely response, rewards other than monetary, and the importance of agency program coordinators.  Look at developing new forms of advertising, different forms of media.

2.   Blinda Beason of DOT:    Supervisors need to encourage employee participation in this process.   Also, supervisors should be recognized and rewarded along with their employees.

3.   Professor Paul Shecter (UWP):    Create a better work environment, from the very top of the organization to the very bottom.  Develop an on-line form in an e-mail folder.

4.   Nancy Ketterhagen (ETF):    Make the process as easy as possible.   Give acknowledgement, thank-you letters.  Update suggester on the process -- give positive feedback quickly.  Ask employee for additional information as soon as possible, if needed.

5.   Janet Tidwell (DER):    Need awareness and support from Department Secretaries and top managers.   Look at creating a new image; a new product.  Consider a team-based approach to benefit the environment and safety.

6.   UWP Student Kathy Ebben:    Rewards from the program include:   Sharing knowledge.   Expanding awareness for others' benefit.  Consider naming the solution after the name of the suggester.    "Glamorize" it, i.e. with videos showing the new process.

7.   Other ideas mentioned:

- Communication is extremely important at all stages of the process.
- Perhaps eliminate the requirement that the suggestion must be directly related to the suggester's job.
- Communicate descriptions of awards and photos of award-winners.
- "Passive" promotion:
         videos running on continuous loop in high-profile area
         attachments with paychecks
         e-mail with tags (links to web page)
- Coordinators should work with each other.
- A handbook with guidelines should be updated/developed.
- Give more attention to other areas of the state outside Madison-Milwaukee.  Have occasional Board meetings in those areas (i.e. Wausau/Eau Claire/Fox Cities).

8.   Board members in general agreed that the three areas needing the most attention are:

- Marketing & Promotion
- Process Improvement
- Awards/Rewards/Recognition


The Board reviewed and decided on the following employee suggestions.

SESP Number Employe Name Agency Suggestion Summary Board Decision
(all receive Certificate)
FY00-7 Sharon Dillon DOT/DTID Place drop box outside fleet office for returning state car keys and log books after hours. Certificate
FY00-8 Nancy Wilms DOT/DMV Provide cardboard cutout aid to children or adults who may have trouble keeping their signature within the correct box on the ID card application. Certificate
FY00-9 Timothy Sturtevant
Jenny Kluever
DOT/DMV Make form MV-3453 electronically available on the DOTNET. Certificate

The Board decided to have Toomey draft a letter to the Chancellor of UW-Platteville to officially express appreciation for the work that the UWP Design Studio has done.  Toomey will follow up by writing letter and routing to Board members for signatures and will mail signed letter to the UWP Chancellor.

The Board's next meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 25, 2000 -- in Platteville (on UW-Platteville campus).   The meeting is scheduled for 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Final details will be announced to invitees.  Agency/campus program coordinators will be notified of meeting room location, and are invited to travel to Platteville.   With there being no other business, the board concluded its meeting.

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Last Modified:  4/23/2007 11:21:21 AM
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