WCCO’s CREW Team Builds on Success and Expands Employee Support in 2022, Blog Post

WCCO’s CREW Team Builds on Success and Expands Employee Support in 2022, Blog Post

Employee engagement and retention have always been a top priority at WCCO Belting, and our enhanced CREW Team is an important part of that effort. Over the past year, the CREW Team – which helps us build and maintain a Culture of Respect, Engagement and Wellness – continued to engage employees on their journeys at WCCO in meaningful ways. As a result of the new CREW program, we saw an impressive 200% increase in participation in internal employee engagement activities and in community support in 2021.

Last year, we interviewed CREW Team captain, Dani Renham, to learn more about the new CREW Team. We’ve checked in with Dani one year later to review the team’s successes in 2021 and learn how the team is evolving in 2022.

Q: What did the CREW Team do over the last year?

A: The CREW Team began hosting monthly meetings on topics related to physical and mental health, financial wellness, career development, safety, and teambuilding. To reach employees across all three production shifts, meetings were held three times throughout the day. Each was also open to office staff and streamed virtually for those not onsite.

In mid-2021, we adapted the team into a smaller group to spearhead the strategic initiatives of the wellness program. The team of seven volunteers coordinated 39 activities and events related to the aforementioned topics to support WCCO employees and the greater community.

The team also had a goal to increase the number of employees who participated in CREW activities. We are excited to report that employee engagement was up! On average, about 40 employees attended monthly CREW meetings. We are also proud that WCCO Belting won the 2021 ‘Cooperate Leadership in Philanthropy Award’ from Association of Fundraising Professionals Northern Plains Chapter for the company’s continued support of the community.

Q: How else has the CREW Team grown or changed over the last year?

A: We’ve done a few things to further enhance CREW’s impact on employees and WCCO’s engagement strategy. We changed the structure of the Wellness Committee to perform more along the lines of a steering committee for improved CREW program sustainability. CREW had an application process and we held interviews to add three new people to the team, all of whom are Operations’ employees. This was exciting because two were the first production employees to join CREW!

It's the responsibility of CREW team members to support employees in their endeavors to host company events on topics they’re passionate about. Not only do these opportunities allow employees to become involved with CREW in a more engaging way, but the structure also provides leadership training for the team as they oversee other employees coordinating events.

In 2022, each team member was challenged to create a SMART goal on what they wanted to personally improve and get out of the program. For example, my SMART goal addresses my habit of carrying too much personal responsibility for the team’s success:

  • S(pecific): I want to become a better coach and improve my ability to delegate to support the development of the CREW Team’s leadership skills and our impact on the organization.
  • M(easurable): CREW will host more events than in 2021 without me increasing the number of events I lead (allowing me time to support others). 
  • A(ttainable): I will accomplish this goal by encouraging others to champion events and will make myself available as a resource to lean on.
  • R(ealistic): This fits with my personal goals as well as my goals for CREW Team.
  • T(imely): By the end of 2022, I will have personally coordinated less events than those on the team while the program effectively increases event quantity and quality.

Each CREW member has their own goal and at the end of the year, the team will present their experience and how they achieved their goals in front of the leadership team. Not only will this hold our team accountable, but it will give some members of the team experience working toward personal goals and presenting progress, which they may not otherwise have.

Q: What exciting things are already in the works for the CREW Team this year?

A: At the end of 2021, we created the CREW Leadership Development Program in response to a need we saw for employees who were not in leadership roles to gain leadership skills. The program provides CREW team members with leadership guidance, support, and opportunities to learn and showcase leadership skills while they oversee events for the company. We’ve seen great interest in the program so far and we are excited to see how our employees grow in their confidence and careers through the program.

Q: Why create the CREW Leadership Development Program?

A:  While many employees attend third-party leadership courses and conferences, WCCO didn’t have dedicated internal training for leadership skills. We know that younger generations, including my own, want opportunities to serve as leaders and create tangible ways to feel that they are making an impact. The program provides low-risk opportunities for someone to learn and showcase leadership skills because they aren’t presenting to a customer, for example.

Q: What are your goals for the CREW Team this year?

A: We have three goals for the program this year:

  1. Leadership development: We’ll create opportunities for team members to have practical leadership development opportunities through training, resources, practice in meetings, practice presentations, time management, project management, and equipping them with the support to champion others during events. This will happen while creating unique opportunities for the other employees at WCCO to also have exposure to leadership development resources and training.
  2. Program sustainability: We’ll continue to adapt the program so it can stand on its own without reliance on individual team members or substantial support from WCCO executives.
  3. Physical and mental wellness: We’ll have a continued focus on helping our employees create a better and more sustainable life. Our mission as a CREW Team has always been to enrich our employees lives both at work and at home, and if you are healthier physically and doing well mentally, it is easier to show up fully both at work and when you are at home. It is important to us to create productive and healthy individuals not only for our company but also for our community and our families.

Q: What is coming up next for CREW Team?

A: We have a lot of fun events in the works for employees. We’ll be hosting a snowman building contest and a lunch and learn as well as a Rubber Belt Race Week in March where employees will build and race Pinewood Derby cars. We are hoping to get a lot of participation from employees and families this spring!

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