In your opinion, what steps should we take to implement eleVate?

Employee Comment: Simplify the eleVate to a few easy-to-understand and easy-to-implement rules of thumbs

Linda's Response: 1) Practice the Credo; 2) Provide timely and effective communication to colleagues; and 3) learn the art of "rounding". According to Quint Studer's book, Hardwiring Excellence, One of the most important things you can do to increase employee satisfaction is "Rounding for Outcomes." This means walking around the hospital (department) and interacting with your team. That means listening to employee problems and fixing them.

Employee Comment: Not sure it's actually needed in Academia. It makes sense for hospitals, but our work is one degree of separation away.

Linda's Response: It is important that all School of Medicine departments, divisions, centers and programs buy-in to this important initiative designed to distinguish Vanderbilt as a leader in quality and service.

Employee Comment: I think we need to have more input from each individual as to their perspective and not make decisions based on those in supervisory positions only. Let each person know how vital they are to the department as well as their individual supervisor. Be thoughtful and show respect and interest for each others work and individual space. I think our department already does a pretty good job at this.

Linda's Response: Thanks for the comments; each person's input is vitally important for the department's optimal performance; it is essential that everyone be treated equally and respectfully.

Employee Comment: Provide timely feedback about the status of current requests.

Linda's Response: Very important. Make sure it is a two-way street and both (all) parties feel responsible for effective communication and feedback.

Employee Comment: This question is too general

Employee Comment: Give credit where credit is due for a job well done not just to the person that did the job. We should stress better communication between everyone. Everyone that is, has, or will be working on the same project should be included in meetings so everyone will know what work is being done by each individual to eliminate repetitiveness

Linda's Response: Very important.

Employee Comment: Overall, I think the department is doing well. Some better communication would be helpful, though. A weekly emailed newsletter of department activities (plans, projects, accomplishments, awards, etc.) would be very welcome. We have grown so much that I don't know what everyone is doing.

Linda's Response: We will use the TWiki as a communication tool.

Employee Comment: First step is to explain supervisors that rules apply equally to everybody including themselves

Linda's Response: Good point.

Employee Comment: At our last dept-wide meeting, several excellent eleVate recommendations were made. If not already in place, I'd like to see a committee formed whose task is to implement those suggestions and to meet periodically, say quarterly, to review such implementation.

Linda's Response: Good idea! A committee has been formed and Elevate progress will be reviewed at department meetings.

Employee Comment: As I am fairly new to the department, this may have been done before I arrived, but I think a general overview of the program itself would be good. I know the aims of the program, but I'm not sure whether there's more to it than only those aims (e.g., recognition or feedback).

Linda's Response: The eleVate web site accessible through the Medical Center homepage contains more information. A newsletter is circulated to those attending LDI series and the distribution can be broadened.

Employee Comment: Show the data, whether it be clinic attendance numbers or emails of complaint or praise or whatever. Publish the data. All the responses to this survey would be a great place to start.

Linda's Response: Thanks for the suggestion. Please see

Employee Comment: It seems there lacks communication between some employees. Everyone needs to be more open and willing to express their concerns; and that if they do, those concerns should be taken seriously. Thus we need to encourage each employee to speak up when he/she is discouraged.

Linda's Response: Effective and timely communication is one of the greatest opportunities for any department.

Employee Comment: I think we're doing a pretty good job. I guess we should just try and continue to get to know people in the department well. What if we were to get a directory, with a photo and name of all biostat employees? That would be nice for me to have.

Linda's Response: Please see (

Please suggest tool(s) that would help you perform your job more efficiently, e.g., a weekly department communication with updates or regular summary of work projects in order to ensure correct effort certification.

Employee Comment: A electronic diary or logbook so that at the end of the day I can summarize and keep track what I've accomplished for that day.

Linda's Response: The department database, dbconnect, will solve this problem for collaborations and "volunteer" work.

Employee Comment: More monitors. Seriously! Statistics is about the interpretation of data, and more and more of it is conveyed visually. multiple monitors I would like another monitor so that I can see better what is going on inside my computer.

Linda's Response: Under advisement.

Employee Comment: We already have in place a weekly summary that we send to our supervisor and the team that works on the project meets throughout the week to discuss ways to achieve maximum work effort for each individual. I am not one that thinks you have to have a meeting about everything, just keep each person up to date about the workings of the project and if something does come up that needs more concentrated effort pull the team together and then map out a strategy of how to get this accomplished in a timely manner.

Linda's Response: Good advice!

Employee Comment: 1.Weekly meeting with the supervisor. 2.Being able to get a credit for my work. A credit that can be documented in my CV (for example paper, poster, presentation, ...)

Linda's Response: Absolutely!

Employee Comment: See question 1. Also, it would be helpful if more of us used the twiki to spread information.

Linda's Response: We should use TWiki more!

Employee Comment: We already have too many department meetings. We need better communication from supervisors to staff.

Linda's Response: Suggestions?

Employee Comment: Access to current grant support and percent effort so that we can make sure that we are maintaining our effort certification.

Employee Comment: Up-to-date grant support and percent effort.

Linda's Response: Your personal page in dbconnect shows grant support and percent effort. Employee records are updated via PAF changes.

Employee Comment: It would be great if we had some sort of job description for everyone on the web site, specifically for the administrative and IT staffs. For example, if I need to order supplies or schedule a meeting, who specifically do I talk to? If my email isn't working, who do I talk to? That way we would know exactly who to talk to, rather than taking up the time of someone whose responsibilities actually lie elsewhere.

Linda's Response: A Job Task Matrix for the Admin Team has been completed and is included in the TWiki. For IT problems, send email to (goes to all IT team members) or call any member of the IT team. See the Faculty and Staff page and scroll down to the "Computer Systems Analysts" section to see who is at your location.

Employee Comment: I think that we have the tools, but not everyone has learned to use these tools effectively. The more effective these tools become (that is, the higher the number of employees that use these tools in our department), the more efficient everyone's job becomes as well.

Linda's Response: Yes, for example, use of the department calendar.

Employee Comment: More easy access to Microsoft products that our colleagues use.

Linda's Response: What specific products are needed?

Please suggest skill(s) that you would like to develop to perform your job more efficiently, e.g. I would like to improve my communication, organizational, or other specified skill set.

Employee Comment: I'd like a scientific writing workshop.

Linda's Response: Anyone know of resources?

Employee Comment: I'd like to improve my communication skill. For example, it would be great if the department would support tuition ($300) per semester (at least partial support) to take English class which is provided by Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Employee Comment: I would like for professional development funds to go toward a higher degree.

Linda's Response: Vanderbilt is clear about the goals of the Tuition Reimbursement policy, the department will gladly review any requests for professional development.

Employee Comment: I am learning more and more about how to manipulate databases, etc. I think this will help me as much as anything. We use the computer a lot for data entry and follow up that any thing I could learn about computer skills, understanding the computer lingo better, etc. would be a great benefit. I think that we should always strive to learn how to be a better communicator as well as listener. I am also up for better ways to get organized so that you don't waste time trying to find things, etc. There are resource books that I would like to purchase and study to help educate myself on the different types of this disease so that when talking with patients I would have a better understanding and knowledge of what they are dealing with.

Linda's Response: Department leadership feels very strongly that professional development is essential for all employees. We are continuing to negotiate financial support.

Employee Comment: Management training. I'm kind of flying blind in that area.

Linda's Response: Please see

Employee Comment: English classes should be available for faculty and staff having difficulty with the English language.

Linda's Response: Svetlana and others are doing a great job. See CQI project #13.

Employee Comment: I would like to improve my statistical computing and analysis skills.

Employee Comment: I need two more hands and one more head.

Employee Comment: I would like to improve my knowledge of statistics. I'd like to be able to write and program faster.

Linda's Response: It's great to work with energetic and enthusiastic colleagues.

Is there any information that the Department of Biostatistics could provide you to help you with your job?

Employee Comment: If our department has our own library, it would be very helpful. I would suggest that we could make fund collecting a certain percentage of each person's development fund.

Linda's Response: A library has been a work-in-progress for a while. This is a great CQI or committee opportunity.

Employee Comment: I think the department is doing a fine job in this regard.

Employee Comment: I would like to have a better knowledge of where we stand on our budget expenses. I have no idea whether we have money available for resource books that I would like to order, etc. I used to be able to fill out 1180's for such expenses when they did not go over a certain amount.

Employee Comment: More information on how VUMC works; eg, budgets, grants, etc.

Linda's Response: We will hold a budget/grant section during department meetings.

Employee Comment: No

Employee Comment: I have all the information I need

Employee Comment: see question 1

Employee Comment: Plan for advancement opportunities. Plan for faculty to take classes on how to communicate and treat staff better.

Linda's Response: Under advisement.

Employee Comment: See #2 above. Also, more information on the evaluation process.

Linda's Response: Terri has created a great resource in the TWiki

Employee Comment: Nothing immediately comes to mind.

Employee Comment: Computing tricks are always helpful.

Linda's Response: Linux workshops are terrific for professional development; the Computing TWiki page contains many helpful hints.
Topic revision: r15 - 27 Mar 2008, LindaStewart

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