Powering engagement by focusing on growth and development

0617ShelterLkForestPrkHistrcMural067Thanks to an Engagement Action Plan focused on the growth and development of employees, Metro Transit’s Power and Facilities Section is serving customers more effectively and efficiently by helping employees grow and maximize their potential.

Power and Facilities is a 24/7 operation that maintains the integrity and overall appearance of passenger facilities. Any time day or night employees can be found power washing and emptying garbage receptacles at bus shelters; inspecting, maintaining and repairing trolley bus components; landscaping and maintaining park and ride lots and transit centers; keeping signs readable; and performing any type of maintenance and repair necessary at the bus bases.

Workers here have diverse knowledge, skills and abilities in welding, HVAC, carpentry, plumbing, cleaning, driving trucks, horticulture, irrigation, horticulture, hydraulics, mechanical systems, electrical and power distribution, to name a few. All are seeking greater proficiency in their work and opportunities to advance.

Under the leadership of Power and Facilities Manager Alina Tanzer and her Superintendents, their employee engagement action plans have been focused on opportunities for employees to get better at what they do and advance in their careers. The action plans, which are key components of the County’s Investing in You strategy, were created through conversations with employees about data coming out of the annual countywide employee survey.

“The focus on supporting the advancement of employees is not really new for us,” says South Facilities Maintenance Superintendent Jake Jacobovitch, “but the increase in support for employee engagement from Division leadership has really expanded the opportunities employees have for professional growth.”

These opportunities have come in many forms such as division-wide committee opportunities where employees delve into issues about workplace culture, participation in programs created by leadership specifically to support career growth, and opportunities to try something new through a special duty or fill-in assignment.

Transit leadership created opportunities like the Aspiring Leaders Program designed to expand career development opportunities for staff who want to experience growth in their careers within the agency by matching frontline employees with a supervisor for a three-month mentor/mentee program. South Facilities had four employees in the program last year and Jacobovitch mentored an employee from another Transit section.

Also, seven employees are engaged in special duty assignments and eight are taking advantage of fill-in opportunities. Three Facilities employees are participating in PACE (Partnership to Achieve Comprehensive Equity) committees. They co-chair the Communications, Recruitment and Equal Employment Opportunity sub-committees. In addition, Power has its PowerPace workgroup that is a collaborative forum for deliberating and resolving workplace issues.

Jacobovitch also supports training opportunities that protect the safety of his employees, reduce injuries and improve knowledge about their work. He continued the work of his predecessor to provide Building Operator Certification Training to all Building Operating Engineers. This is a nationally recognized training and certification program focusing on energy efficient operations and preventative maintenance procedures. He is working with the Custodians and Safety to create training videos that display proper ergonomics performing tasks. A pilot program was initiated in the painting unit to create an opportunity for paint prep workers to advance to the painter position in the future.

“Taking the time to talk with and more importantly listen to your employees is the right thing to do and results in better morale, greater efficiency, and a safer workplace where people are glad to come to work,” Jacobovitch said.