Byline: By Bethany Davis
Subtitle: Florence Correctional Center finds new ways for employees to connect
News Category: General News
On any given Thursday at CCA Florence Correctional Center in Florence, Ariz., you'll notice several employees wearing red.
Since 2012, members of the Morale Enrichment Committee (MEC) have been sporting their signature red polo shirts every Thursday as they work to produce a variety of events aimed at boosting employee morale. The committee, led by Tiffany Lopez, administrative supervisor, is now 41 members strong and meets monthly, with members crossing all shifts and job titles.
"I'm really proud of the number of uniformed security staff and supervisory staff we have on the committee," said Lopez. "Having that variety makes it equal across the board."
The team works to produce a variety of events that help staff members get to know each other and feel appreciated for all they do. The events range dramatically in size. One day you might find a snow cone cart rolling down the halls of Florence or a taco truck on site for lunch. Other events are much larger.
Last August, the MEC rented movie theaters in two locations for staff and their families. The team made sure to offer the event on three different dates and in two geographic areas where much of the facility's staff live. The event was a huge success.
"Each employee was allowed to bring four in their group and we had the whole theater to ourselves," said Lopez. "We got some great feedback and staff really seemed to enjoy meeting their co-workers' friends and family."
Not only is the team thinking outside of the box when it comes to new events, it's making standard events, like the annual Christmas party, more popular. The committee is also revisiting some old favorites.
"We brought back the company picnic," said Lopez. "In 2013 we had 100 attendees, and last year we doubled that." The picnic, held in the spring at a local park, is a family-friendly event with a DJ, food, prizes, games and more.
"It's great, because kids run into other kids from school — the parents are staff at FCC, and they are making that connection," she said.
Parties and picnics are only part of what the MEC is doing at Florence. The team has also taken charge of the selection of Employee of the Month, Supervisor of the Quarter and Employee of the Year — a duty that used to fall to the executive team.
"Taking over the awards has really improved the process," said Greg Linendoll, correctional officer and MEC member at Florence. "We are able to discuss the candidates as a group and vote — the process really works."
The team's signature red polo shirts are emblazoned with the MEC logo, a design created by a committee member. The shirt helps identify team members and has increased the number of suggestions and feedback the team receives.
Additionally, the committee has provided a suggestion box in the briefing room where employees can suggest events, provide feedback or comment about any given issue. The committee then acts as facilitator, ensuring concerns are heard and addressed.
According to members, facility leadership is a big reason the committee has found success. Brian Koehn, Florence warden, joins the group for meetings each month and is impressed by the team's dedication.
"I am so proud to have an engagement committee that is so caring, thoughtful, and supportive to the staff of FCC," said Koehn. "Throughout my years in corrections and all of the facilities that I have been privileged to work at, this committee is by far the largest and most passionate group of people I have ever seen.They truly put their hearts and souls into everything they do for the FCC family."
The team's work doesn't stop at the facility. The MEC makes sure to reach out to employees when life events occur, like an illness or the birth of a child. Employees will typically receive something at their home.
"It's important because you never know what a person is dealing with," said Somico Moore, correctional officer and MEC member at Florence. "If we can help to put a smile on their face, we know we are making a difference."
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