Sometimes when teams or organizations get in a routine and resist changing to improve, productivity can stagnate and even suffer due to malaise and lack of motivation. The best teams recognize those situations and embrace the opportunity to shake things up in a way that will benefit the team and its members.
Case in point, the University of Utah Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion recently underwent a complete restructuring in an effort to improve not only productivity, but also morale and professional satisfaction among its department members.
The process began by identifying the strengths of each member through a StrengthsFinder® test, and realigning the duties performed in the department to ensure that each person was in a role that utilized their abilities and proficiencies to the fullest. This restructuring based on personal expertise led to improved productivity and morale within the department.
“The team had different working titles, “explained Abdulkhaliq Barbaar, director for University of Utah Heath Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion office. “StrengthsFinder® helped us identify where peoples' strengths lie. When you lean into their strengths, they are better able to perform, and they enjoy their work more. In addition, the team itself was able to identify changes to make us more effective as a group.”
The results of the tests indicated the various strengths of each team member. From there, they discussed how to use the information in a way that would best serve the department and the individuals within it.
“We thought, ‘How do we use the information to advance our mission, our vision and our values?’” he queried. “The best way to do it was to talk to each one of team member about what new role or what new ideas they have for their skillset?”
“Through that discussion, what we got out of it is that we need different working titles for each person and different roles for each person so that we are using their strengths, their passion doing what they love to do,” Barbaar said. “So, because of the that StrengthsFinder®, what came out of it was that we had to restructure, we had to use their strengths, and while we were doing that, let's get it to a place that they love working here and they get to choose what they want to do.”
He said the restructuring was conducted in way that gave everyone agency in how they designed the duties and workflow of their newly developed individual positions, creating a sense of excitement for each team member.
“When you create goals and a mission together, you are more invested,” he said. “They created the working titles; they are creating the goals for themselves and for the positions. Once you do that, you get an investment and buy-in from that person and you don't have to remind them of it because it is their passion. It's what they love to do.”
Dr. José E Rodríguez, Associate Vice President for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, added, “Abulkhaliq’s leadership in this reorganization has been essential. Working individually and with the team, he has been able to use shared governance to ensure that people are in roles that they enjoy. He has been instrumental in ensuring that each team member had a voice, and that differences were negotiated in a way that was satisfactory to all.”
Barbaar added, “The mission for the department is to bring the best out of everyone so there can be an organized effort to create an equitable environment for all. Additionally, each team member will look forward to coming to work because they know that every day, they're going to be getting to do something they do well in a way that has set them up for success.”
“The other part is, you feel like you're doing something meaningful,” Barbaar said. “If we empower people to choose their working title and to create their own goals for that position, I think we will achieve greater goals and do so faster.”
“We are very proud of the team that we have created,” Rodriguez said. “They are committed and invested in this work, and the successes of our office are due to their diligence in making things happen.”
Jasen Lee, Public Relations and Communications Manager