Garner, Algona, and Swea City shops tackle Engagement with a whiteboard

Engagement_matters_chevronsSince we began with our first Gallup Q12 engagement survey nearly two years ago, Iowa DOT Engagement Champions have been meeting with teams and working to connect with each other and our workplaces. There have been challenges along the way, but some interesting solutions are starting to emerge that could benefit many others.

Improved accountability, performance, and productivity – those were the topics the teams in Swea City, Algona, and Garner were determined to tackle as part of their latest engagement state-of-the-team meetings. About a year ago the groups came up with the idea to put a whiteboard up in each of the garages to allow anyone to add a “to-do” item to the list. That “to-do” list is then visible by everyone in the shop. Each team member can add, complete, and remove items from the list.

Things To Do
A simple white board helps the crews keep up on equipment and other needs in the shop.

Scott Loge, the highway maintenance supervisor for this circle of garages, says he sees the whiteboard idea going very well. “Each of these shops has five or six employees, so they are smaller shops, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. When one of the team is out on the road and spots something that needs attention but there’s no time, materials, or equipment to fix it immediately, that team member can add that item to the whiteboard back in the shop. Then everyone will know there’s something that needs to be handled. When someone has time to tackle that item, they can get it taken care of and then erase it off the board.”

Algona Crew
The Algona crew: (from left) Dwaine Berte, Travis Elbert,
Brad Tegtmeyer, and Jeff Frambach.
(Two other crew members, Taylor Prothman and Greg Kramer are not pictured)


The Garner crew
The Garner crew: (front row from left) Kevin Rauk, Brian Hagy, Brad Carolus (back row, from left) right front row: Steven Vaughan, Dennis Drabek, Matt Swanson
Swea City crew
The Swea City crew: (front row, from left) Rod Lang, Luke Eichenberger (back row, from left) Ryan Paulson, Justin Engelby, Travis Hassebroek

The whiteboards are a way to share information with team members who may not see each other face-to-face because they are often going different ways at different times of the day. All the detail of the maintenance activity is tracked in our internal tracking systems like RMS and Workday, but the whiteboard allows each person to contribute by either adding a task or picking up a task from the board to complete.

Equipment Board
A whiteboard for equipment needs has been added in each shop.

Over the course of the year, the three teams have expanded on the original “to-do” list whiteboard by adding a whiteboard specifically for equipment needs. Loge said, “We are all pretty protective of our equipment. When it’s not running well, it impacts our ability to get things done. The equipment whiteboard is very handy for the mechanic to know what’s up with a piece of equipment. It’s also good for anyone else who has a little extra time and the skills to tackle an issue. It raises awareness of the status of all of the equipment.”

Another adjustment the garages are making to the whiteboards includes a safety section. Loge said, “If someone notices a safety issue, they can write it down and that increases the awareness for everyone. Once that item is on the board, we’re all more likely to act to get it taken care of.”

The whiteboard concept was the result of state-of-the-team meetings which allowed team members to weigh in on how to improve their work environment. The three garages tackled three of the Gallup “Q12” questions with one simple idea.


The latest engagement survey is now complete.  Managers can expect access to their team results on Gallup’s website after Nov. 10. We encourage all teams to schedule their state-of-the-team meetings as soon as possible to keep moving forward with engagement.

To find more information about the Engagement effort, go to

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