The EESA Operations team held their annual retreat in Wang Hall on June 29.  The day featured team building exercises and breakout sessions focused on launching five key strategies in the form of Progressive Operations Projects (POPs) for the coming year.

During an icebreaker designed to set the stage for their POPs breakout sessions, the 25-person Operations team engaged in a team building exercise that brought forward some very clever and unique strategies for building a spaghetti tower using nothing but spaghetti, marshmallows, and tape!

The EESA Progressive Operations Projects (POPs) are envisioned to be mini working groups that offer new opportunities for our team to collaborate and work together to develop and bring to fruition new ideas for advancing our services and support. The primary focus of the 2018 EESA POPs is to catalyze engagement of diverse teams. The Ops team has selected 5 key strategies/projects to focus on in the coming year:

Financial Reporting: This POPs team, led by Carol Chien, hopes to develop a standard set of financial reporting templates that can be used across a variety of projects in order to transition away from our siloed approach to individual adhoc reporting. Additionally, the templates will be automated where it makes sense to do so to increase operational efficiency and make better use of our analysts’ time toward higher-level and higher-value activities.

Instrumentation: This POPs team led by Peter Lau will be developing a web-based tool that would enable any user to search for instrumentation in EESA prior to purchasing similar items (to reduce project costs). With this tool, a researcher will be able to quickly and easily determine if the Area already owns the equipment/instruments needed for their research, thereby:

  • facilitating opportunities for shared instrumentation across the area;
  • possibly increasing usage rates of our instruments; and
  • potentially reducing project costs

Employee End-to-End Experience: In this POPs, led by Yingying Kooyman, the plan is to introduce a phased approach that lends itself to a consistent and complete process that ensures a smooth pre-arrival, arrival, and termination experience for all EESA employees and affiliates. The end goal will ensure we reduce the chance for missing a step; provides an environment where both the employee and the hiring manager are informed and thus lends itself to an improved arrival and departure experience for the employees; not to mention, the off-boarding process provides the Area with metrics needed to help track alumni.

Publications Management: This POPs, led by Jacob Gimbel, is focused on integrating various EESA publication-related processes. The impact of this project will provide:

  • Users: Centralized user (scientist) experience for complying with EESA publication process
  • Support staff: Reduced administrative effort for maintaining EESA publications record
  • Public: Improved and dynamic display of publications on EESA webpages

EESA’s Approach to Internships:  This POPs led by Sandy Chin was created to develop a formal and coordinated EESA approach (or program) to improve our ability to:

  • Attract student interns across diverse and under-represented backgrounds
  • Attract viable student candidates with high potential to meet project needs
  • Tap and train EESA early careers and other researchers for mentoring roles
  • Provide interns and student hires with a rich Berkeley Lab experience to increase their likelihood to return to EESA in the future or stay in science elsewhere
  • Build and nurture a rich, diverse STEM pipeline in order to develop our next-gen scientists