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Chagrin staff aims for �super� service Who ARE the
Chagrin staff aims for ‘super’ service
Who ARE these helpful people?
By BARBARA CHRISTIAN
CHAGRIN FALLS – There are super heroes among us – but you won’t recognize them by their capes or masks because these performers of good deeds are the people you see every day. They are the employees of the Chagrin Falls School District.
They are the bus drivers, food service employees, custodial and grounds workers and office staff members. In short, they are “the unsung heroes,” according to Kurt Gabram, director of business and personnel for the district.
“They don’t get a lot of recognition for doing what they do but they deserve it,” he added.
Defining these employees as “super heroes” came about during an August meeting with new District Superintendent Robert Hunt as the two men discussed what might be done to improve upon customer service – the “super powers” school employees use every day.
The “customers” in the scenario are students, parents, teachers, staff and visitors who benefit from the good work performed on their behalf by these super heroes.
“We were already pretty good at this, but the goal was to improve upon what we do well,” Mr. Gabram adds.
A plan of action soon emerged. Mr. Gabram describes it as a little bit Cleveland Indians and a little bit “The Avengers,” the action movie shot in Cleveland two summers ago.
The talents of a school district resident, who works with the Cleveland Indians, helped the process by identifying “what they might to do promote ourselves,” Mr. Gabram said.
In other words, just as the Avengers worked together for the greater good, so do members of the Chagrin Falls school district support staff.
The super hero idea was rolled out during an Aug. 22 during a staff in-service day. A total of 110 staffers took part in the event.
Employees role-played different scenarios after being shown what Mr. Gabram called “amateur videos” to illustrate a situation they may encounter during their work day. Then they discussed what went right and what went wrong in each of the scenes and how to handle the situation better.
A mission statement was drawn up listing new super powers. They are to be approachable, professional, easy to work with and happy to be working for Chagrin.
There was a whole group discussion during which the “Ten Commandments for Chagrin Falls Customer Service” were written.
What are the commandments? Greet all with a friendly and attentive attitude. Stop what you are doing, listen and assist. Approach every day with enthusiasm and pride to be a Chagrin Falls Tiger. No complaining or gossiping and instead be upfront and go to the source of the issue. Be respectful and validate customer’s concerns. Interact with customers using patience, tact and self control. Always be on time. Educate customers diplomatically on district procedures. Be resourceful when assisting all customers. Have a “can do” attitude.
The commandments have been printed out and are posted a work stations for every day inspiration, Mr. Gabram notes.
To keep the super heroes on track there are twice monthly staff “huddles,” brief five-minute meetings during which staffers discuss their new super powers and how they used them and the result.
“At the end of each meeting we close with the Tiger Pride cry ‘Go Tigers,’” Mr. Gabram said of the well-loved school cheer which is meant to reinforce enthusiasm for a job well done.
This is carried over to the end of the week when on Fridays, the “super heroes” relinquish their invisible capes and masks in favor of black with orange T-shirts – the school colors – everyone is asked to wear that day.
The front of the shirt features the Superman triangle centered with the letters “C” and “F.” The words “Unsung Hero” is printed on the back.
Customers are also asked to get involved in the new project. “Rate Your Service” comment boxes are available at each of the district’s four schools. Members of the public and “customers” are encouraged to write about their experience with a district “super hero” or how they saw the super powers put into action.
Feedback may also be left via email to celebrationcommittee@chagrinschools.
Mr. Gabram said the plan to recognize one person each month who was a super hero. The tribute will be posted on the district’s webpage, www.chagrinschools.org.
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