It's no secret relations between employees and executives at the ministry of children and family development could stand a little improvement. According to a recent work environment survey, just 20 percent agreed with statements expressing confidence in their bosses. So it should come as no surprise that, last fall, the ministry's leadership team launched an initiative to encourage managers to "engage employees in a meaningful way by looking at and acknowledging the staff and their strengths." This, according to records obtained under a freedom of information request by Public Eye.
Leadership team meeting minutes, dated October 26, 2006, suggest managers should "have a piece of paper where you would write down when a person has done something noteworthy." A praiseworthy program, to be sure. And the ministry has even distributed notepads to make it easy for them. But those notes - which feature the phrase "Caught you with a strength!" below a cartoon butterfly casher - have raised some eyebrows. As one wag put it "would you be embarassed or proud" to receive one? Ten points for effort. We'll let you grade the execution. The following is a copy of the aforementioned minutes.
LEADERSHIP TEAM MEETING
Meeting Minutes for October 26, 2006
6. Caught You With A Strength program
* An internal program, facilitated by leadership that will involve anyone who has a direct report.
* Managers need to engage employees in a meaningful way by looking at and acknowledging the staff and their strengths.
* We have to work hard at relatiuonships and not loose individuals in the collective.
* Have a piece of paper where you would write down when a person has done something noteworth i.e. level of work above and beyond normal, always positive etc.
* To be put into place immediately.
* International communications to develop "Caught You with a Strength" template.