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Volume 46 | Issue 2 | March 2004



Can we talk? Center leaders seek dialogue

Dryden employees will get a chance to sit down with the Center leadership and talk about issues in a face-to-face setting as part of a new initiative being launched in March.

The "Can We Talk" series of informal discussion groups arises out of the Agency's "Workforce Culture Enhancement Strategies" designed to improve communications between management and employees. The results of a fear-of-reprisal study conducted at Dryden in late 2003 also revealed the need for more open dialogue between the two.

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe held the first "Can We Talk" session in January. Dryden and other Centers are now following suit. Dryden's first session, with Center Director Kevin Petersen, will be held at 8 a.m. March 25 in the Building 4800 small mezzanine.

The goal of the sessions is to provide employees with more direct access to information as a means of reducing the anxiety and second-guessing that inevitably goes on in the workforce, especially during dynamic times such as those the Agency is currently experiencing. The effort was initiated at Headquarters by the office of Dr. Dorothy Hayden-Watkins, Associate Administrator for Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP). Although initiated by the EOP office, issues discussed in the "Can We Talk" sessions will not have to be equal employment opportunity-related.

At Dryden, Center leaders envision hosting regular "Can We Talk" events in small settings such as the Executive Conference Room or the small mezzanine, hoping to maintain an informal atmosphere conducive to open conversation. Attendance at the sessions will be held to 10-15 participants, who will be pre-registered.   Employees will choose the topics they want to see addressed in the sessions. Specific topics of discussion for each session will not be determined. Organizers hope that approach will encourage participants to air thoughts and concerns on any subject. In addition to Petersen, who will conduct the March 25 session, acting Deputy Director Bob Meyer and Associate Director for Management Gwen Young also will serve as future facilitators.

Petersen said items brought up for discussion will be confidential, and no records of the sessions will be kept. Participation, which is entirely voluntary, is open to civil servants and contractors. Details about sign-up and session dates and locations will be available on the Dryden Intranet and in flyers circulated throughout the Center.