TMG Staff Partner Groups Update
By: Cindy Desch, Associate Director of Organization and Leadership Development
Approximately a year ago, TMG began our Staff Partner Groups. These groups were developed as an avenue to foster staff contributions towards the on-going flow of information and communication, to build leadership, and to empower our vibrant diverse statewide workforce. The four groups meet quarterly throughout Wisconsin and involve representatives from all of TMG’s program and functional areas. The groups assist the organization in improving quality and engaging in dialog on an array of topics related to TMG’s strategic initiatives.
The topic from this past set of meetings was, “What does local mean to you and how does TMG take “local” the next step?” Each of the groups engaged in rich conversations about what local meant to them and these conversations also involved discussions about community. For some staff talking about “local” also meant talking about how a person creates a sense of community.
Staff in all meetings talked about the importance of TMG having local faces in representation at local events and meetings. Staff also expressed the need for a place to share and access local resources. In some parts of the state the discussion focused on the issue of the number of informal networks and small providers that are utilized and the need to be able to share these with each other, while in other parts of the state staff stated that they continue to travel longer distances where they may not know the resources as well and having a place to access these resources would be very helpful.
Staff created lists of suggestions of what individual staff can do, what teams can do and what TMG can do. Below are some of those suggestions.
What individuals can do?
- Know your local resources and have contact information available.
- Listen well and actively. Take time and don’t rush through the interaction.
- Watch your language – use of acronyms – how you talk about self-direction – make sure people understand what you are talking about.
- Wear TMG buttons and lanyards.
- Be sensitive and supportive of cultural preferences.
- Be involved in your community; know people and what is happening.
What teams can do?
- Be conscious of how teams gather in their areas; that they gather at the same places each time and order lunch from the same places. This creates a community presence and connection. Frequency and familiarity builds community.
- Attend community gatherings, team meetings, work groups and community office days.
- Use teammates and email questions and get feedback so staff can learn from each situation.
What TMG can do?
- Have a presence in local communities. Attend health fairs; meet with ADRCs, transition groups, medical conferences, other community events and fairs where booths can be present.
- Provide informational articles and stories to local newspapers.
- Provide marketing materials such as magnets, pens, notebooks, sticky notes that can be left behind at visits.
- Sponsor learning sessions so people can meet each other.
- Get on local radio stations – public service announcements, etc.
The contributions of people engaged in the Staff Partner Groups is incredibly valuable and the feedback from the groups is reported out to the Strategic Leadership Team in order to support our work together as an organization to meet our strategic goals and improve the experience of all of our partners. Individuals make a commitment to serve on TMG Staff Partner Groups for a year. We are currently recruiting and looking for those who may be interested in participating in the groups.