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Padre Dam achieve open and honest dialogue with staff

Padre Dam Municipal Water District (Padre Dam) has 139 employees, many of whom spend most of their workday offsite, working in the field or satellite offices. Staying connected can be tricky for them. However, they’ve made communication a priority with the Jostle platform.

They’ve had great results since rolling out the platform but recently took this to the next level with a noteworthy Jostle campaign. This campaign won first place in the Jostle Awards 2016 Employee Engagement Initiative category.

“Padre Dam is recognized as a leader in the water industry. The Jostle platform is a key component to maintaining and exceeding that level of performance.”

Allen Carlisle

Allen Carlisle
CEO/General Manager

The challenge

In 2016, Padre Dam’s leadership team began to notice that the dialogue from employees on the Jostle platform and during their quarterly all-employee meetings (GM Dialogue Sessions) was consistently positive and upbeat.

While this may not seem like a problem, Padre Dam has a realistic view of workplace culture and strives for a healthy environment. They knew not everyone could agree with everything. Yet, the comments they were receiving didn’t demonstrate any differences in opinions. Padre Dam wanted staff to ask questions if they didn’t agree with (or understand) something. They also wanted employees to feel empowered to make suggestions.

The solution

Padre Dam launched an experimental, ongoing article called “Ask Allen” (Allen Carlisle, General Manager) two weeks after a GM Dialogue Session occurred. They chose a funny image related to a company inside joke to grab attention and create buzz.

The article provided opportunities to garner quality feedback on unanswered questions from the last GM Dialogue Session or new questions that had arisen since the session.

Padre Dam uses Jostle for an honest two-way dialogue

Padre Dam uses Jostle for an honest two-way dialogue

A courageous team member initiated the process by posting thoughtful questions on issues close to employees’ hearts. Allen provided timely and honest answers to these questions.

This was a breakthrough moment. It opened up the floor to questions, and suddenly employees who had never commented before were weighing in with great suggestions and follow-up questions.

The results

Padre Dam already had extremely high participation rates on the Jostle platform (98% of employees sign in each month), but this initiative did something even more powerful: it encouraged honest and open communication. Padre Dam believes that input from all employees is vital to a successful workplace culture and that Jostle is the key component for these discussions.

This campaign is just one aspect of Padre Dam’s overall strategy for improving communication via their employee platform.

Using water industry terminology, they personalized their platform by naming it the “Stream,” and that’s just one piece of their “Pipeline” (their Workforce Partnership philosophy that encourages broad-based participation in the organization’s decision-making processes).

Overall, the Pipeline consists of:

The Basin (a filtering system)—An oversight committee that manages Pipeline performance.

Laterals (water pipes)—All working committees that collaborate to solve business issues.

The Stream—The flow of information; it’s the place to see and be seen.

“The Jostle platform complements our collaborative culture and even helps strengthen it.”

Allen Carlisle

Allen Carlisle
CEO/General Manager

Padre Dam’s Pipeline

Padre Dam’s Pipeline

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