Feedback from Staff on The Corrections Way

Message to Staff: May 9, 2018

Hello and Happy Spring!

The beautiful green popping out makes everything feel better, despite the allergies that affect many of us.  I hope they don’t drag you down for long. Once again, I feel belated in sending an update to you but I wanted to get all my results in and counted before sharing them with you.

Let me remind you what we did and why. We heard from over 8,000 of you last summer, through the statewide survey, that you didn’t feel valued or appreciated, didn’t feel included or heard, and had overall trust issues with supervisors and management. One way we are addressing your specific concerns is to improve the workplace through The Corrections Way training. Every supervisor, manager and administrator participated in a four-hour block of training, facilitated by The Carden Group, in February, March or April 2018. At the conclusion of each session, we surveyed the participants regarding their overall thoughts on the training, the impact they felt these tools would have on the department, and their commitment to implementing the initiative. The feedback was incredible, genuine and appreciated!

Below is a photo of the survey results from the participants…

Stacks of paper labeled "outstanding," "positive," "neutral" or "negative." The "positive" stack is much higher than the others.

 

I could not be more proud of how our supervisors and managers embraced the training. As you can see 1,912 of the 2,100 results indicate participants had an outstanding or positive experience. With respect to the participants’ commitment level, overwhelmingly they responded with “I’m all in,” “100% in,” “Fully committed,” and, my personal favorite: “Like a pig is to breakfast.” With so many people throughout our department committed to doing things in a better way, there is no reason we won’t be successful in changing our environment for the better.

Specifically, 123 supervisors wrote outstanding comments such as:

  • “I think it’s great. I have already seen a change in how I think about myself.”
  • “I’m glad to see MDOC is investing in improving staff.”
  • “Opened my eyes to what I’m not doing.”
  • “This will be the start of positive change.”
  • “I’m feeling important again.”
  •  “I’ve never been asked the value I add-this was very impactful…”
  • “Some staff are very difficult and do not want to change. It makes my job hard, but today I have hope!”
  • “If we as supervisors engage and value our staff it will make for a better workplace.”
  • “Thanks for the belief in us.”
  • “I want to state how much I changed in my outlook of others and a ‘real’ look at myself,” and finally,
  • “It gives me hope for myself and those I supervise.”

1,789 people expressed sentiments of excitement and willingness to try new approaches with staff. Many are hopeful that their supervisors will implement this training as well (which I really liked, because it showed that the people attending also thought of themselves as employees and not only as supervisors and managers).

161 expressed neutral feelings about the training, which is good and should be expected. I appreciate the honesty. Comments like:

  • “Could be beneficial”
  • “It may work, this will just take time”
  • “Hard to tell how well it will be received”
  • “It was OK, most of this I already do with my staff”
  • “I thought the class was good, but I don’t see the department backing up staff and making them feel like we are valued”
  • “Will wait to see”
  • “Time will tell”
  • “Doubtful it will help but good luck”
  • “If complete buy-in happens the impact will be incredibly positive.”

The interesting thing about this stack of responses was despite the overall skepticism in the comments, every employee showed commitment to trying to this initiative. That’s very encouraging! 

Finally, my favorite number is 27! ONLY 27 participants out of 2,100 said they thought the training was not beneficial/useful.helpful; they didn’t learn anything, don’t plan to do anything differently, don't think it won’t work; thought it was a waste of time and money; and/or think pay increases are the ONLY way to improve our department. Don’t get me wrong: I agree the pay is terrible, and although I don’t control pay increases, I am advocating for higher pay across the department and will keep fighting for you every day.

However, I do control what we invest in our staff and how we set expectations for the way supervisors and managers value, communicate, train, mentor and personally develop staff. The Corrections Way is part of that investment in YOU! The comments we received validated that this was the right approach for our supervisors and managers. Many said “it was a reminder of how things used to be” – so let’s get back to it! Several said “this was what I needed to get me back on track” or “I can’t wait to go back and use some of the new tools with my staff” and, another favorite of mine: “This was a recognition for me to help staff grow and do a good job.” I hope all of you are open to seeing your supervisors, managers and leadership do some things a little better and a little differently. If you haven’t noticed, maybe you aren’t looking…

It’s going to take all of us to work together to support this kind of shift in communication and understanding. This will not be easy for everyone, and patience is needed. Mistakes will be made, and we need to give each other the opportunity to come back and try again. Please support your co-workers, reinforce the good, be patient when the not-so-good happens, and give people another chance.

I remain proud to be your Director and look forward to continuing to Improve Lives for Safer Communities…starting with our employees.

 

Anne L. Precythe

Director