By Kari Hawkins, USAG RedstoneJuly 9, 2010
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- There's one Army slogan that Garrison deputy commander Curtis Clark would like Garrison employees to put to work every day.
That slogan' Be all you can be.
It's his favorite slogan and, when talking to Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation workers June 29 during the signing of FMWR's Employee-Customer Covenant, Clark encouraged employees to "move out and help yourself be all you can be."
The covenant signing, held at Heiser Hall, ushered in a new program of training, opportunity and recognition so that Redstone's 500-plus FMWR workers - known as team members - provide the best in customer service for the more than 35,000 civilian and contractor employees, military, retirees and family members of Redstone Arsenal. The covenant is part of the Operation Excellence program being implemented by FMWRs Armywide.
"This is the implementation of a new customer service program at Redstone Arsenal," said Sheri Coreano, FMWR customer service coordinator.
"The covenant signing is a promise from Family and MWR to team members to provide various training, recognition, a robust new team member orientation and opportunities to succeed with professional development. This covenant is holding Family and MWR accountable to its team members ... This is part of changing the culture so that all team members feel they are part of the team."
But FMWR as an organization is not the only partner in the covenant signing. So, too, are the FMWR employees who provide services to customers through a variety of Arsenal programs, including Child Youth and School Services, the Bowling Center, the Links at Redstone, dining facilities, the Flying Activity, the library, travel services, Auto Skills Center, Arts & Crafts, Outdoor Recreation, lodging, fitness centers, Army Community Service and the Officers and Civilians Club.
"This sets us on the path to good customer service. I know we already do this. But there's always room for improvement and this will step us up a notch," Cathy Hays, customer service liaison, said.
"We want to make sure we put the focus back on you as a group," added Derrick Gould, director of FMWR. "If you're not taken care of, you will have a hard time taking care of customers ... There are two promises. With the employee covenant, it is knowing that taking care of customers begins with taking care of employees. With the customer covenant, it's about providing quality through service excellence."
Under the theme of "One Standard - One Voice - One Choice," the covenant outlines the desirable attributes of quality customer service, using the word "customer" as an acronym for Cheerful greeting, Use positive communication, Show a positive image and attitude, Teamwork, Own your job, Make it up to the customer, Extra mile and Remember to thank each customer.
Gould said the attribute he most associates with is "own your job."
"You've got to own what you do and know what you do matters," he said. "Everyone is important and every job is important. That's the only way you're going to communicate to your customers that you care."
As part of the covenant signing, FMWR and its employees promise customers they will be treated with respect and as valued individuals, given prompt and friendly greetings in a professional and courteous manner, provided with aesthetically-pleasing facilities, given timely, accurate and helpful information, offered high quality products and services, and provided an opportunity for feedback.
Gould told FMWR employees that they can "become a better team." He mentioned to them that of the 14 installations in the Southeast Region, only one - Redstone Arsenal - has an FMWR program that rises above the 70 percentile in customer satisfaction. He would like to see that percentage grow even higher in the coming years.
FMWR's action plan for creating a customer service culture includes implementing monthly team member orientations, formalizing performance standards for each employee, providing operation excellence in customer service, providing support tools, implementing recognition and incentive programs, and offering career development opportunities.
For Clark, making better employees centers around providing career development opportunities through training.
"How can I expect you to be a high performing organization if I haven't given you the tools' You need to know how to deal with your customers and how to deal with your teammates," he said.
"It is very important that you know your mission within your organization, that you know how to work with your co-workers as a team and that you learn to respect each other more ... You need to know how to deal with customers, co-workers and supervisors. Bottom line, it's about taking care of people."
Clark encouraged FMWR employees to seek out training and opportunities that enhance their careers and take them on the career path they would like to follow. Employees should press their supervisors to provide them with challenges that will help them become better at their jobs and to work with them on establishing their own performance plans. And, most of all, Clark told the employees their attitude makes a tremendous difference in their job performance.
"Things normally fall into place when you have the right attitude ... All of you have the potential. You can't wait for someone to take care of you," he said. "Move out and help yourself be all you can be, like that Army phrase I like. With the right attitude, I'm certain you can be all you can be."
After the covenant signing, employees were invited to enjoy cake and punch.
"I think this is great. It is really important to what we do," Linda Harper of the Child Development Center said of the covenant. "It will help me do my job better and to be a better person."
Chris Isbill, business manager for Challenger Bingo, believes the covenant will improve FMWR as an organization.
"It's a great step in the right direction," he said. "It's building upon an already great culture. Overall, it's about putting customers first and getting customers to always think of us as their first choice."
Besides Coreano and Hays, the following FMWR employees will be members of the Operation Excellence/New Team Member Orientation Facilitation Team: Natalie Crawford, Resource Management; Donna Smith, Wanda Quigley and Missy Richards, Child Youth and School Services; Chris Isbill and Patsy Dupree, Business Operations Directorate; and Tom Pyburn and James Burbach, Outdoor Recreation.
The following team members were recognized at the covenant signing for recent outstanding performance: Marie Jefferson, Bowling Center; Anna Wesseling, Bingo; UnCha Pope, Officers and Civilians Club; Jennifer Finley, lodging; Tim Anderson, Sports and Fitness; Grace Bennett, Recreation Center; Kim Milstead, the Links at Redstone; Phillip Moore, cafeteria dining; Linda Harper, Child Development Center; Lindall Johnson, School Age Services; Dennis Fitzgibbons, Auto Skills Center; Ken Pitcher, Outdoor Recreation; Martha Piskulic and Laura Howell, library; Angel Solomon, Army Community Service; Whitney Myers and Natalie Crawford, Resource Management; and Mildred Lancaster, Flying Activity.