When Employees and Students Are Empowered, They Take Strategy to New Heights

Two years ago, after engaging with over 200 members of the NEOMED community during his six-month listening tour, University President John Langell announced that employees and students would not only be involved in the strategic plan process, they would also have an active role in it — serving on task forces and engaging in ideation.

Not long after, the University presented an ad hoc menu of business principles from which employees and students could choose to learn and utilize. From Lean Six Sigma training and alternative budgeting methodologies to data-informed decisions and voice-of-customer emphasis, faculty, staff and students embraced having access to the new tools and put their newfound empowerment and competencies to work.

Reduced turnaround times, better outcomes, increased savings — positive results were rampant.  

The 2020 Strategic Plan was formally endorsed by the University’s Board of Trustees in September 2020. And a new website was designed, complete with ways to showcase the NEOMED community’s active role — early wins, ad hoc initiatives and long-term projects combined to form a growing list of nearly 100 action items — mostly initiated by non-senior staff and students.

And just last year, perhaps the biggest surprise announcement of them all was made. During his regular updates to the campus, Dr. Langell announced that much of the efficiencies and savings realized would be “re-invested back in our people.” In support of the advancement of NEOMED’s mission, the University would commit $1 million to fund initiatives submitted by faculty, staff and students and that would contribute to one or more of the strategic focus areas by providing an Exceptional Experience; celebrating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; promoting Leadership; or developing our People.

Many ways to measure success

With a strategic initiative funding (SIF) form in tow, the strategic plan site doesn’t just serve as a landing page for content. Instead, the site gives faculty, staff and students an opportunity to submit plans and request financial support for their ideas to drive the University’s mission and move it forward.

The site also includes a dashboard. With project descriptions, progress status and other measurable outcomes, the dynamic dashboard offers a level of transparency and ownership that enables the initiatives’ owners, task forces and stakeholders to see regular updates of their projects as well as those of others.

“Twenty-three of 36 proposals were funded for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022) with $943,717 awarded,” said Lacey Madison, chief strategy officer. “So much activity across the entire University has become a source of pride for the NEOMED community. And we’re not close to being done.”

New funding available!

Even if you didn’t get directly involved last year, it is evident that everyone benefits from the great work that’s happening at NEOMED. With that in mind, the University has allocated $500K to fund additional projects in FY 2023. More information regarding the funding process will be coming soon.

Dr. Langell sums it up best, “If the last two years are any indication, we have validation that when employees and students are empowered, they take strategy to new heights.”

Visit the dashboard to learn more about these initiatives and see the many ways that members of NEOMED are leading the way to the plan’s success.

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