Working with UWI
Every year the University of the West Indies Mona campus offers an introductory civil engineering course. Miles Harris, a coastal engineer and project manager at Smith Warner, was invited to give the students a brief introduction to a coastal engineer’s day-to-day duties. He gave them a presentation and talked about the many types of clients we have, the main reasons they need our services, the kinds of solutions we offer, as well as all the soft skills engineers require. Feedback from the students was very positive and it looks like Miles singlehandedly increased the growth of the field in Jamaica. Well done, Miles!
We got a new toy! We’ve upgraded our survey gear and we’ll tell you more about this soon, but for now let’s just say our survey capabilities are about to be next “level”.
Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork
Way back in January our entire team was involved in workshops that spanned over two weeks. The purpose of these workshops was to help us understand what works and what doesn’t for our team. While difficulties are normal in any growing company, we want to turn these obstacles and concerns into opportunities for improvement. The approach our course leaders used to facilitate the process helped us name our problems then frame them into solutions.
Everyone contributed their concerns, ideas and solutions via walls full of post-it notes. These will ultimately lead to a “Book of Agreements” that will guide us in our interactions with each other and with people outside of the company.
Everyone worked in teams and found solutions for many of the complaints, which were written into 13 chapters of the Book of Agreements. The Managers then gave the Directors a presentation on each set of issues raised by the staff. It was really good for the directors to see these perspectives from the vantage point of staff members.
The Directors also participated in this process and added observations and concerns to the post-it note collection, which will become a 14th chapter.
The Book of Agreements is an important tool for our growing team. We know that we can’t make all the suggested changes at once, but if we all stay mindful and aware, use the tools and follow our own instructions, we’ll do it together step by step and make our culture more inclusive and engaged. Now it’s time to finalise and figure out how we choose to use the Book of Agreements.