Office for Research Protections 2008 Staff Retreat Team

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Team ID: 
College / Administrative Unit: 
Graduate School
Date Started: 
May 2008
To maximize effectiveness and customize our annual staff retreat to meet our specific needs, a Staff Retreat Team was formed. The Team’s responsibilities included planning, executing and evaluating the September, 2008 event. Starting in May, 2008 with 8 team members, discussions revolved around the focus, theme, content, activities, refreshments and location. At the direction of our sponsor, Candice A. Yekel, director of the Office for Research Protections, the focus was “Back to the Basics: Customer Service.” Sub-committees were formed to address specific areas and input was solicited from all ORP staff members to assist in the planning sessions. Creativity abounded as an All-Star baseball theme emerged. An All-Star logo was adopted in conjunction with the ORP “A” 5-point Star. The Star symbolized facets of customer service to be addressed at the retreat: Availability, Assumptions, Acknowledgement, Accountability, and Attitude. With 2 sub-committee members per “A,” sessions (innings) were developed. Specific activities were not shared with other sub-committee members so that they could actively take part on the day of the retreat.

Interactive, creative and targeted customer service-related activities included: Password, You're Hired, Making a Peanut Butter Sandwich, Charolotte's Web and It's Your Call game. Each staff member received carefully chosen items to reinforce the messages of the day. The retreat ended with a Team Huddle for personal and overall office goal-setting. Especially designed ORP Customer Service Stat Cards were distributed and each staff member wrote 1 personal goal for each of the 5 "A's." Staff members were provided with stars to award to each other when it is observed that someone has given great customer service in one of the "A" areas. Follow-up activities included compilation of comments, suggestions and observations gathered during the retreat and distilled by the sponsor and advisor into guidelines on how to accomplish the agreed upon customer service goals.Also, an evaluation survey was distributed to all staff members in October and results of this survey will be shared at a staff meeting in November. A review of the Stat Cards will also be part of this meeting, as a review and reinforcement of personal and office customer goals set at the retreat. Additional follow-up activities are planned for the December staff meeting.


On behalf of Candice A. Yekel, Director of the Office, I am responding with updates for team number 834

#834 Office for Research Protections 2008 Staff Retreat Team

Follow-ups to the retreat occurred twice. At a staff meeting in November 2008, Stat Cards were reviewed as a group (many staff had used/awarded all of the stars they were provided with) and survey results were distributed, reviewed and discussed. Survey results indicated that staff agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that “The customer service focus [at the retreat] was beneficial to me.” All attendees agreed or strongly agreed that they learned something valuable in each of the [retreat] sessions addressing the 5 A’s: Availability, Acknowledgment, Assumptions, Attitude and Accountability. All attendees also indicated on the survey that they agreed or strongly agreed that they were working toward personal customer service goals that they set for themselves at the retreat. Lastly, all attendees agreed with the statement “I think there’s a more positive atmosphere at the ORP in regard to customer service than there was before this retreat.” At a second follow-up at the December 2008 staff meeting, 2 staff members were recognized with Customer Service Awards based on the 5 A’s and customer service goals were reviewed. Orientation worksheets for new employees now include reference to the 5 A’s to initiate discussion about customer service. The Retreat Team’s work has concluded, but an all-office customer service focus continues.


Josy Lyons, R.N., M.Ed.
Continuous Quality Improvement
Office for Research Protections

Contact Person: 
Josy Lyons
  • Michelle Stickler, Advisor/Member
  • Candice Yekel, Sponsor/Member
  • Lacey Auman, Member
  • Melissa Conrad, Member
  • Tracie Kahler, Member
  • Josy Lyons, Member
  • Michelle Panulla, Member
  • Jodi Rodgers, Member