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Posted 10/25/2016

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By Patrice Creel
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Public Affairs

The Innovation Alley concept has been developed to improve ERDC employee engagement, better support the Employee Value Proposition, and provide the ERDC with innovative ideas to solve problems related to employee development, recruitment, integration, retention, recognition, and succession planning. In FY15, the ERDC Emerging Leaders Group piloted the IA concept to employees who successfully completed or were selected to participate in the ERDC Leadership Development Program Level 1 or 2.

Based on that successful pilot, this year the IA was opened up to all ERDC employees. Topics and proposals were submitted and teams were selected to participate in the FY16 IA event as they prepared their ideas into a brief report and a short presentation for ERDC senior leaders.

Four teams from across ERDC presented their solutions (either in person or via VTC) to the panel of judges: ERDC Director Dr. Jeffery Holland, ITL Director Dr. Reed Mosher, DHC Director Dr. Gary Anderton, ERDC Deputy Directory Dr. David Pittman, and GSL Director Bartley Durst. The proposals addressed one of the following ERDC challenges: Innovative Ways to Enhance Employee Morale or Improving Internal and External Communication. Each presentation was scored based on set of pre-determined criteria.

The teams, their proposals and solution objective summaries are listed below:

Team 1 – “Increasing Collaboration with an Intuitive Researcher Directory”

developed by Julie Parno, CRREL, Matthew Parno, CRREL, and Samantha Sinclair CRREL

To develop a directory that contains abridged employee biographies and a project message board in order to enhance interpersonal communication across the laboratory and provide a resource for allocating employee hours and skill sets.

Team 2 – “The ERDC Ambassador Program (tEAP)”

 developed by Quincy Alexander ITL, Darryl Carson, CSD, Terri Lewis, CSD, and Shann Martin, CSD

To effectively communicate ERDC’s mission and provide specialized services by building a network of front-line assistants (Ambassadors) to promote the ERDC’s capabilities and values through outreach and marketing efforts.

Team 3 – “Innovative Approach to Improve Employee Morale Through Knowledge Transfer”

 developed by Christo Lunderman, ITL, Danny Harrelson, GSL, and Quincy Alexander, ITL

To use a knowledge transfer platform for improving employee morale through the enhancement of the pilot mentoring program by focusing on effective means of implicit and tacit knowledge transfer.

Team 4 – “Charting Your Path – Questions to Ask Every Six Months (or More)”

 developed by Matthew Brondum, EL, Luke Gurtowski, EL, and Jared Johnson, EL

To provide employees the required resources and information for improving feedback during performance review and career development discussions with supervisors and leadership.

The judging panel was pleased with each proposal and selected solutions from Teams 1, 3, and 4 to move forward as proposed. Judges recommended that Team 2 further investigates and enhances its concept through involvement in other ongoing efforts to help enhance employee morale and improve internal and external communication.

Thanks to ERDC leadership for supporting this employee engagement project, to ELG members (Jessica Coleman, Elias Deeb, Lacey Duckworth, Ashley Frey, Irene MacAllister, Andrea Scott, Devin Sham, and Jennifer Seiter) for organizing, and congratulations to all participants!

ERDC ERDC Careers Innovation Alley USACE