Employees change work environment, open up to new opportunities

Photo by Paul Israel

Working with strong personalities can be challenging, especially when they’re all on the same team. To help create understanding and better work flow, it’s important to recognize what is impacting the group dynamics and address these concerns directly.

One construction crew in the Parks and Recreation Division of King County DNRP is taking on this challenge, working to improve the culture for themselves and build a better, more efficient work environment.

Aaron Hall, the supervisor for this group, worked with staff after the 2015 King County Employee Survey to identify communications as a key area for their work group to improve on.

“We went through our survey results and using the action plan sheet looked at the questions one-by-one,” Aaron said. “We wanted to identify something to work on and realized communications and team building were important to us.”

Using the action planning survey tool, Aaron and his team began to pinpoint areas where there were communications breakdowns. Noticing that these issues happened when interacting with other workgroups, the group decided to start having short all-staff meetings. While it didn’t seem like much, these brief check-ins have dramatically changed the outcome and impact of work being done.

“We’re having more preconstruction meetings and holding smaller safety meetings with our four different work groups,” explains Aaron. “These tailgate meetings go over the safety, workflow, goals for the day and expectations.”

If needed, the group meets at the end of the day as well, to recap the day’s events and issues, as well as go over what will happen the following day.

“It’s our goal to provide a structured opportunity for everyone to be engaged and provide input on project decisions. We’re hoping that this will increase personal influence and team cohesiveness.”

To build on this work, Aaron and his work crew are planning to take the “King County Four Generations in the Workplace” training, use Myers-Briggs tests to identify personal work styles and organize regular team building activities.

“I thought it would be great for our workgroup to attend the Four Generations trainings because it’s beneficial in the long run,” Aaron said. “It would be pretty insightful too since we have people from every age group in our crew.”

“The Myers-Briggs tests will also help us improve our communications between such different personality types.”

While Aaron admits that people seemed initially hesitant to participate, over the last year his crew has come around, and are interested in the meetings and upcoming trainings. He looks forward to the crew growing closer as a team and excelling at their work even more through open, clear and honest communication.

“We had a little bit of pushback, but it’s been nice to get something going,” he said. “This is a great place to work, with good people who want to do their best.”

“It’ll be nice to do some team building events too, like go kart racing or baseball games.”

Aaron Hall and his crew within the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

This DNRP crew is benefiting from improving communications and team building. Pictured left to right: Top row: George Anselmo, Scott Baker, Clayton Peck, Doug Munroe, Rodger Clow, Alex Sirotinskiy, Jason Waters, Charles Kobs, Bottom Row: Aaron Hall, Tim Eldridge, Scott Hill, Heather Simon, Paul Israel, John Jeppesen, Tyler Thompson, Not pictured: Scott Ayers