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Case Study

How UTA broke down silos and revamped communication in their workplace

About UTA – The Office of Information Technology (OIT)

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) department at the University of Texas Arlington (UTA) provides the advanced infrastructure to help UTA improve the quality of education and research, prepare students for work in the twenty-first century, expand its role in the community and around the world, and act as good stewards of the environment and university resources.

The financial piece is right. The support piece is right. The tools, the features. It’s an overall quality employee engagement tool.

– Tom George, University of Texas Arlington (UTA), Project Management Office Business Analyst

The Challenge

After conducting a Denison Culture Survey in 2016, the Office of Information Technology department at UTA knew they needed to make some changes. The survey pointed out two key areas of improvement;

  1. People worked in silos, and
  2. There wasn’t much cross communication between departments.

After a lot of internal work and making changes, UTA did the survey again in 2019, which showed a lot of improvements had been made… but there was still more work to be done. The same points as the 2016 survey came up and highlighted there was still room to improve communication between departments.

However the new survey also highlighted a new area that staff don’t get recognized for the good things they do.

With communication being a recurring theme, UTA decided they needed to look at external tools to have a bigger impact on improvements. This led them to Bucketlist’s employee recognition tool, which not only helps recognition but also improves communication.

UTA’s Unique Requirements

UTA were really focused on the following three areas;

  1. Recognition between peers and managers.
  2. The ability to celebrate peoples birthdays.
  3. Give shout-outs for work anniversaries.

But… being a government organization with strict regulations around gifts and rewarding staff, UTA had to customize the Bucketlist Recognition Software to suit their unique needs.

Some of the unique customizations they made were:

  • Instead of points for recognition, UTA’s leaderboard comprises the top 8 recognition ‘givers’ and ‘getters’ each month. This motivates the act of giving recognition.
  • Each month, the top 8 givers and getters get to choose an item from their custom reward store.

The team at Bucketlist were very easy to work with and so accommodating to our needs. They were able to jig the software to something that works for us and our regulations, and their ongoing support has been above and beyond

– Tom

The Results

Recognition has resulted in incredible success for UTA.

Launching the Employee Recognition Tool

UTA went live with the corporate recognition app on November 1, 2019. Prior to the launch they conducted some ‘Lunch & Learns’ to introduce Managers to the platform and to provide organizational visibility.

There was so much communication around Bucketlist and a lot of hype around it by the time it launched

Staff Uptake

The feedback Tom has received from staff has been incredibly positive.

It’s right there. It’s so easy to use. It’s incorporated into our programs. If you want to say something nice about an individual, you put it in Bucketlist. I have people reach out to me directly to say ‘thank you for the recognition’. If that’s happening to me, I’m sure it’s happening to a lot of other people. It makes you feel good.

Culture & Communication Improvements

The culture and communication at UTA has improved immensely.

There is more of a communication and celebration culture now,” said Tom, It removes the wall from individual departments. You can see what other teams are doing and the good things they’re doing for the benefit of the organization. Without Bucketlist, we didn’t have that. We didn’t know what other people were doing outside their team.

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