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Best practices: Bringing employees together

Aurora, IL, Vehicle Maintenance Facility Manager Jill Jessen
Aurora, IL, Vehicle Maintenance Facility Manager Jill Jessen has taken a creative approach to encourage employee interaction in her workplace.

Jill Jessen believes in teamwork.

The manager of the Aurora, IL, Vehicle Maintenance Facility oversees about 23 employees who work two different schedules: Some are on tour 2, an early shift, while others work tour 3, a late-day shift.

“I want everyone to feel like they’re on a team, not separated into just being on tour 2 and tour 3,” Jessen says.

To achieve this, Jessen and Dave Enerson, a supervisor at the facility, created You Are Awesome, a game that encourages employee interaction.

To play, employees start each month with five cards to distribute. During the month, the employees can give their cards to co-workers who they believe are doing a good job, and the person who collects the most cards is named the employee of the month.

The winner gets a special parking space during the month, along with a gift, such as a breakfast sandwich or doughnuts.

The game has an 86 percent participation rate.

“It’s been a great team builder for us, and most employees enjoy the friendly competition,” Jessen says.

Lead Automotive Technician Jimmy Hall said the game has resulted in both praise and accountability in employees’ work. “I’m proud to be a part of it, and proud to be part of the Aurora VMF,” he says.

Postal Service leaders applaud this kind of approach, saying creativity helps foster enthusiasm, involvement and commitment in the workplace.

Jessen sees the spirit of camaraderie spreading throughout her facility.

“I have noticed the employees are encouraging each other, not just with the Awesome cards, but with words like ‘thank you,’ ‘good job’ and ‘congratulations,’” she says.

“Best practices,” a series on employees who demonstrate on-the-job excellence, appears regularly in Link.

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