Message from Dan Patterson: Day of Reflection follow-up

Dan PattersonOur values form the guiding principles of all that we do — for our students, our employees, and our communities. (NC Strategic Plan 2013 – 2016)

It is hard to imagine that eight weeks have passed since we gathered for Day of Reflection.  April 24th was a highly energized day with a lot of good ideas and advice from all participants.  Your meaningful contributions to the Open Space discussions collectively generated ideas and opportunities as we reflected on the results of the 2014 Employee Engagement Survey.

One of the most important outcomes of the Employee Survey is ensuring employees know that what they say has been valued and considered by the College. The Open Space meeting strategy, as well as the facilitated Drumming Circle used at Day of Reflection, was designed to engage everyone and provide an environment for innovation, problem-solving, teamwork and change. I believe it was a powerful day that captured the spirit of our College community and built on three themes that emphasize the College culture we strive for.

  • Everyone counts. Our goal has been to create a culture where all of us share the responsibility for recognizing and affirming each other. The results of our 4th Employee Climate Survey and the summary notes from our Open Space meetings have reminded us that, as we grow as an institution and as more and more competing priorities divert our attentions, we must be ever mindful to enhance opportunities to engage and work together.
  • This is great workplace—let’s make it better. The participation and meaningful discussions at Day of Reflection confirmed how committed our employees are to Niagara College. We recognize that employees need opportunities to get involved. As John Yardley from Metrics@Work explained, we need to build on our strengths and learn from each other.  I want to confirm that we are committed to further review organizationally and at the departmental level with a view toward positive change.
  • Importance of Ongoing Communication. Effective communication helps to build a sense of community, and in a growing organization like ours it ensures that we have the information we need to do our jobs effectively. We’ve heard this message in past surveys and we’ve made important strides in enhancing communications at Niagara College. Most significantly, we’ve developed InsideNC, an internal news and information site for staff. Updated daily, InsideNC not only includes stories that capture the success of our students, faculty and staff, it is also a source for important announcements and other information regarding organization-wide issues and initiatives. If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to make InsideNC a part of your day by visiting the site each morning and afternoon. We have also launched encore magazine, which showcases our students, faculty and staff and shares inspiring stories of individual and college-wide success and achievement. The latest edition has just been released and is available online. We will continue to pursue opportunities to enhance organizational communications at NC.

Our culture and climate is built on meeting the needs of others and relationships are at the centre of all we do for the college. On a go-forward basis, information will be shared and discussed with action plans created to address areas of concern. We have the opportunity to learn from each other and to improve collectively as an organization.

As promised, we have transcribed the summary notes of the Open Space meetings held at the Day of Reflection; they can be found online here.  I am confident you will find the notes informative and helpful. This is only the beginning of the dialogue. The summary notes will be an excellent resource to assist us in moving forward.  The next phase will be asking the Advisory College Council to review and discuss the notes, generate themes and design potential action items.

I look forward to working with the Advisory College Council on the suggestions from Day of Reflection.  In closing, I would like to thank Valerie Grabove and the organizing group who worked very hard to put together such a successful day and through everyone’s participation have generated a lot of good ideas that will help us move forward.  Once again, I want to thank everyone for their commitment and involvement in student success and welcome your feedback and suggestions.

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