Finding a way to improve a project or process is the basis of A2E. But what if it’s improving the culture of a site? As an A2E expert and culture champion, Matt Bowlus uses a systematic approach to engage the employees at Foley.
A natural fit
Matt Bowlus has a reputation for being good at a seemingly simple thing: listening. People go to him when they want to hear feedback, talk about a problem or share good news. Listening has become a big part of what Matt does at Foley.
It’s 8:30 a.m., and Matt makes his rounds through the site with the managers on duty. Personal communication is key to building a strong culture, he says. “When we walk the floor, we talk to the employees, say good morning or ask about their weekend,” Matt says.
Matt adjusted to his new responsibility of culture leader well. As a logistics manager and an A2E site leader, Matt takes a systematic approach to improve the culture. An early finding from an employee survey showed that employees’ feelings of appreciation and recognition were low.
Team members wanted one-on-one interaction, so Matt began with actions as simple as a handshake and a listening ear. “If an employee has a great shift change over the weekend, we shake their hand and personally say thank you,” Matt says.
Finding a voice
As an activity, Matt asked each employee to submit two suggestions for improvement. From the site director to a brand-new hire, everyone was expected to participate. The quality of the ideas impressed him.
“It wasn’t silly suggestions like including a pool at the site,” said Matt. “They took it seriously and submitted ideas focused on recognition and collaboration. They want to be acknowledged for a job well done.”
Many of those ideas are now in place. A point-of-use tools system makes a job easier because the employee has the right tools on-hand. Also, when one-on-one feedback is given, the employee is pulled off the floor and invited into a quieter conference room to help facilitate conversation.
“Matt has found his place at this site,” says Craig Saget, Foley’s site director. “Since Matt became culture champion, he has made such a difference interacting with the employees where they feel comfortable talking to him about ways we can change the site for the better.”
A new culture
It’s been 60 days since launching the culture program, and Matt and the managers continue to walk the floor every morning. “This is us investing our time. It’s a matter of listening to our people who are the foundation of the company.”
Matt wants to keep the momentum going. “People see us making a difference,” said Matt. “This is a project that will stay at the site.”
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