People in conversation

Creating a Cohesive Work Culture at Moraine Park Technical College

As part of its larger strategic planning initiative, Moraine Park Technical College (MPTC) embarked on an appreciative inquiry process in 2007 to understand employee engagement.

The survey revealed that communication, collaboration, and relationships were the most pressing challenges for employees of the college—by a significant margin. 

Essential Partners was invited to join the MPTC Employee Engagement and Talent Management Plan, supporting initiatives led by the Director of Talent Management, Beth Mendoza, and the Human Resources Department.

Seeding Change

A team of 14 staff members from various departments of the college attended a two-day training led by EP’s associates Meg Griffiths and Bob Stains. There the staff members learned to lead open, honest conversations that would meanwhile bolster the mutual trust and engagement of the staff.

The two-day training equipped staff members to facilitate dialogues across campus and to deploy these new skills in their roles. They learned to design and structure conversations for engagement that encourages curiosity, community, and connection. They gained a new competence and confidence in their ability to facilitate in challenging moments.

“Dialogue gets more results,” said Beth Mendoza, Director of Talent Management. “It makes decision-making easier. It makes creating participation easier… The greatest organizational impact has been more contributions as well as more effective and efficient meetings.”

One participant noted that the EP training had a profound effect on her, both as an employee and as an individual. Another said she felt more hopeful after experiencing the excitement and confidence the team had gained, as well as the growth of new relationships across different areas of the college.

The EP-trained staff have since facilitated five staff dialogues around the topics of team-building, staff transitions, the development of mission and vision statements, and other pressing concerns for the organization. 

Today, the work being done by these EP-trained employees to engage fellow staff members in dialogue has begun to create a new culture on campus.