Monday, April 29, 2013

The Role of Empowerment

For this blog post I interviewed the Senior Director of Annual Giving at the OSU Foundation, Lacie LaRue. Lacie has been my boss and mentor for the last three years. Through her and my other managers I have learned the art of philanthropy and personal relationships. I have learned how to manage student employees. Lacie pointed out that managing students vs. Adult staff is much different and the role of empowerment changes as well.

I work in the telefund. Lacie did as well for about 8 years before moving up to where she is now. Students at this job get empowered in many ways. We have incentives and friendly fun atmosphere that help create a sense of empowerment. The callers can see how much money they raised and feel accomplished knowing they helped attain part of that total and directly see the benefit of their work. In the professional setting it is much different. Every employee needs to be managed and treated differently based off learning style and personality. As a manager Lacie feels very empowered. She knows her thoughts and ideas are taken into account. She wants the same for here subordinates. Each employee has the ability to approach here and give their opinion. She believes in the hierarchical order but at the same time knows everyone in the professional setting has a level of expertise and need to be motivated as well.

Students are much more replaceable and so motivating is easier. They get excited over small incentives. Adults have different priorities like family and empowerment goes hand in hand with managing that aspect of the job and still being sufficient. Everyone here at the foundation hasa say and all information is shared. Its like a giant brainstorming session, some ideas work and otehres don't.
Many managers have a problem with controller, whether its how to use it or whether its actually obtaining it. Being higher up in the Foundation Lacie has alot more control and power than the average employee. But she also wants to keep everyone empowered and keeping that relationship between conrtol and power becomes very adaptable. Every person has a different job as well and so the idea of empowerment is so important and something taht you have to constantly be learning and adapting for.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What Culture Can do for You!

For my fiance and I, a weekly froyo trip is a must. To be honest before I started dating her I was much more into the real deal and got ice cream. I realized it was time for me to live a healthier life style and so since I still loved ice cream I figured froyo was the best way to go. Over the weekend we went to the very popular Yogurt Extreme ( Now especially here on campus the one on Monroe is very inhabited by college students. If you want a quick easy snack or lunch to meet a friend, Yogurt extreme is the place to go. When you walk in you are plastered with pink. The pink is everywhere. Pink walls, pink spoons, pink bowls, and the workers either wear pink shirts or black shirts with pink in them. Pink is a bright happy color and to me sets the mood of a happy and fun place while it can also be relaxing. Another cool artifact that is impossible to miss is the happy customers on the TV. There are two TVs with a slide show of past customers. Every customer is smiling and clearly living it up at yogurt extreme.

I love the culture their because they are laid back and very friendly. I saw another blog by one of our classmates Michael Beckstead about Jimmy John's ( .

I know Jimmy John's and Yogurt extreme are much different I do believe they have the same positive culture.  Every employee seems genuinely excited to see you and tries to have a rapport with you. They are always willing to talk about their favorite ice cream and toppings and ask us what we like as well. Its an inviting atmosphere. I assume that most of these employees were hired for their peppiness and overall charismatic attitude. You can also get this sense of culture from their motto of "Selling happiness by the ounce!" I love this place and I will always be a repeat visitor.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Zappos! Satisfaction Indeed

Satisfaction, satisfaction, and oh yeah satisfaction. This word is what the company Zappos uses as a gauge for there employees and something to strive for. Zappos likes to consider and see themselves as a "family. " Zappos likes to focus on their ten commandments. The focus is to get through the good times and the bad, kind of like a family.  Here everyone has access to the same files as the executives and everyone is encouraged to present new ideas, and according to CEO Tony Hsieh, most of the ideas come from the bottom up.  If everyone is considered equal and they all hang out together then it creates a bond unlike any other work experience. Hsieh encourages his managers to take his team out to dinner. This allows for close relationships and makes the work environment feel more like home.

Deal and Kennedy talk about successful companies and what they believe is needed: a strong unified culture.  Yes there are many backgrounds and also many cultures within the Zappos family, but they are all working for the same philosophy. That philosophy is to work hard while having fun and being weird. All the employees are given free reign to try new ideas for the company and also when applying themselves to customer service. One customer asked the employee to only speak in third person. This adds satisfaction to the employee and the prospect, which in return gives a positive outlook on the company.

Zappos likes to follow the New science approach to communication in organizations. The New Science theory looks at companies and organizations that are finding new and innovative ways to run an organization. This idea keys in on issues like  participation in organizational processes (having a say in the company), working on personal relationships, and having equal access to information and sharing that with everyone. My teacher in my Population and Environment class is using the SOLE (self organized learning environment) approach. This is a more interactive and actively involved approach with the hope that we enhance our creativity rather than being limited to facts and memorization. I feel the SOLE learning approach and the culture of Zappos can integrate to create a welcoming learning environment that promotes creativity and efficiency.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Work-Life Balance in My Workplace

Moral , motivation, incentive, and satisfaction are all but many words used to help gauge a workers existence within a company. Companies with low moral, little incentive, or no room for growth create little satisfaction and end up with very low retention rates and very high turnover. So what is it that provides the feeling of satisfaction? Well according to McGregor's theory X and theory Y, for me and my current work situation, theory Y makes a little more sense. Theory Y pertains to the idea that a worker will grow and learn the skills necessary in that given environment to become successful. That's how getting a job after college is. Many jobs you learn more from the actual job training than you did in your 4 years getting that degree.

Currently I am a supervisor at the OSU Foundation Telefund and we apply much in line with the Human Relations approach and that we try to provide a comfortable and enjoyable work environment. Again it's different for every job. Some jobs require different needs and the nature of the job can provide limitations on the available incentives and perks. For my job since we are a call center we have 6 different calling shifts and 3 are required each week for our callers. With many shifts available we hope that allows for a flexible schedule and will result in higher retention. Higher retention means keeping workers longer and they will be even better at the job given more experience. During call shifts we play music and provide incentives for pledges and for making nightly goals. These incentives range from leaving shifts early, to gift cards. Especially since this is a student job, little incentives go a long ways in creating a relaxed and enjoyable work environment.

We try to incorporate the Human Resources approach as well which is just allowing all employees to be heard. As a student who supervises other students it can be a bit testy given our same age and personal relationships. We have to make sure the hierarchy is concrete, but we take in the callers opinions as much as possible to ensure they are happy and we continue that successful work and personal relationship without losing productivity.

I am a huge supporter of having fun in the work place while maintaining a get down to business attitude. If a workplace can do this successfully and create that so called work-life balance, then the company will have extremely satisfied employees.