What “team building” efforts does your agency participate in?
Paducah Area Transit System
At Paducah Area Transit System, we’ve had several events to promote team building and simply to allow employees to interact with each other and our board members away from their regular daily activities. I think these activities are very important for any business, but especially in transit. We have employees in different departments with vastly different duties, from drivers, to dispatchers to customer service representatives. It’s important for them to participate in activities which help them realize that although their roles may be different, they all fit together in the bigger picture to get the job done. It’s also important to let them see each other as real people, and not just persons who work at the same place.
One event, which has proven very popular with employees and board members, is our annual cookout with board members. All our board members don their aprons, light the charcoal and actually grill for all our employees. It gives our board members a chance to see the drivers, dispatchers, mechanics and customer service representatives as more than a name or number on a piece of paper. They can speak with them informally about what they like or dislike about their jobs, and learn first hand what it’s like “on the routes.” On the other hand, our employees can see our board members in a different light, too. Because of the cookout, they see board members as people who care enough about them to actually come and spend time with them and listen to them. Of course, everyone also loves the food!
At Paducah Area Transit System, like other places of business, we’ve found that healthier employees make happier and better employees, so this past year, we’ve made an effort to get healthier. We began early in the summer by announcing PATS’ Weight Loss Challenge. Many of our employees signed up and weighed in for the summer-long contest. They began watching what they ate and exercising for the contest. Although it was competition, it was great to see how they supported each other throughout the summer, and even offered tips to each other on healthier eating habits. Many employees spent time during the day to “walk off the pounds.” By the end of the summer, we lost lots of weight and gained healthier lifestyles.
During that period we also began a weekly health series during which employees or other guests spoke with us about health issues. One employee talked about how diabetes had taken its toll on his and his family’s health, while also explaining just what it is, and how the rest of us can have a better chance at avoiding it. Another talked about exercise, and how it transformed his life and could for the rest of us, too. After the weight loss challenge was over, many employees carried over the healthy habits they learned and continued to lose weight and live healthier lives. It made a real difference in the quality of their lives, and the quality of their work!
Another annual event for our transit is a Flu Shot Clinic. Each year, we work with the Purchase Area Health Department to provide flu shots for our employees in the lobby of our main transfer station. It’s a popular event for our employees and another way in which we’ve made it easier for them to remain healthier. It’s also very popular with our passengers, as the shots are made available to them, as well.
While employee picnics are enjoyable, at Paducah Area Transit System, we’ve long had a tradition of employee Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It’s a special time of the year for family, and it brings our employee family together to give thanks and celebrate the holidays. For those of our employees who don’t have family in the area, it’s a special way to celebrate the holidays with their surrogate family. For all of our employees, it’s a way to bond and reaffirm our thankfulness for what we have, while looking forward to the coming year.