A Happy Bunch

June 24, 2016

HDAE's Organizational Update Forum

In the month of May, Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises (HDAE) hosted an Organizational Update Forum. Various staff and key stakeholders of the eight departments that now comprise the new department gathered to connect about who we are and to learn how we are moving forward in our transition. To begin collaborating on the transitional aspects, planning efforts across four key areas were administered by working groups that focused on Culture & Identity, Onboarding & Orientation, Staff Appreciation & Recognition, and Connection & Celebration. They each had the same goal, to help HDAE fulfill its broader vision and role in the success of the university.

Willie Brown, Associate Vice Chancellor of HDAE, kicked-off the meeting by laying the foundation, discussing the organizational structure of HDAE and transitional goals, and ending with our department’s “known-fors,” which include being student centered, innovative, intrapreneurial, and providing great customer service. Rounding out that segment, each Director introduced their area and provided an overview of their operation.

The forum ended on several high notes. The four working groups presented their findings and potential action plans for each initiative—

  • Culture & Identity: To set the stage, the group presented a fun video that resembled the Brady Bunch opening credits, in this case featuring Willie Brown in the center with the eight Directors pictured all around him, and a spinoff of the Brady Bunch theme song which was sung along with the video. This set the tone and showed a glimpse into the future— the now merger of all departments coming together as a "Happy Bunch.” The team shared the results they gathered from 27 interviews conducted among selected HDAE staff members. They spoke with representatives from each of the eight units and collected themes, common goals, and insights, and also inquired about each unit’s “known-fors,” “superpowers,” and related topics to help understand and shape HDAE’s culture and identity.
  • Onboarding & Orientation: The group recommended activities that would help new hires understand who we are and help them transition into the HDAE team. Ideas for onboarding practices include providing information about UCSB’s and HDAE’s history, a high-level organizational chart, interactive maps of areas that HDAE oversees, a list of “known-fors,” and a culture and values workshop that all new employees would attend.
  • Staff Appreciation & Recognition: The team suggested having an Ambassador Award. Each quarter a ‘bowling pin’ trophy would be passed on to recognize the contributions of the recipient by another peer (a peer-to-peer award). Also mentioned was a Spot Award which would be determined at the department level and given to nominated staff members to recognize their exceptional service or performance. These awards would be given out in a timely manner to show appreciation for a staff member’s work as it happens. To share news and updates from each unit, a suggestion for a quarterly HDAE newsletter was presented.
  • Connection & Celebration: Scoring a slam dunk with its dynamic game plan, the team introduced Willie Brown to the audience. Similar to a crowd cheering at a basketball game, the energy and enthusiasm of the audience was strong. Willie moved through the stage (hype song in the background), breaking through a banner as staff stood up and cheered. This was a preview of the concepts suggested, starting with a launch party for HDAE in which Willie would make a grand appearance and short speech, followed by a friendly competition ice breaker for staff, and then a raffle and giveaways.

There were many great ideas shared at the Organizational Update Forum to help us through this time of change and in our transition as we become a larger unit and family. The future is bright and exciting as we all collaborate and contribute our part in the process.

By Marisol Gomez