By Bailey McGuire, Madison County Commission
As the third largest county in Alabama, Madison County is proud to provide efficient county services to an ever-growing population. Our workforce of over 1,100 employees, in more than 30 departments, works day in and day out to serve the residents of Madison County. From the waste control and water departments to employees in the courthouse, sheriff ’s office, and everywhere in between, each department is vital to serving our citizens with excellence and making Madison County the greatest place to live and work!
In 2019, Madison County introduced the WE3 initiative to our employees, which stands for Women: Empower, Equip, and Encourage. WE3 was established to empower, equip, and encourage female Madison County employees to pursue leadership roles and increase gender diversity within the county. Our vision is to create a culture in which all people feel safe, seen, heard, and respected, resulting in a work environment that rises to a higher standard of behavior.
What started as a vision for growing female employees has truly bloomed into an opportunity to highlight diversity and train and develop employees as a whole.
Since its conception, WE3 has hosted several leadership trainings including “Engaging Your Potential” with guest speaker Linda Spalla and “Empowering the Women of Madison County,” a discussion focused on the barriers women face in the workplace. These trainings are focused around developing leadership skills and encouraging employees to lead in the roles they are in. In December 2019, WE3 was proud to hold its first community service project – a women’s winter clothing drive. In just 18 days, employees collected nearly four carloads of women’s clothing to benefit the Downtown Rescue Mission.
Through trainings, workshops, and service projects, WE3 has built a community that fosters honest discussion and a safe place for employees to learn and grow.
While 2020 has been challenging in terms of “in person” community, we have refocused our efforts in reaching employees virtually through email campaigns and employee spotlights. Employee spotlights are our way to congratulate female employees who have received certifications, recognize momentous service anniversaries, or commend an employee for going above and beyond.
While we cannot meet for in person trainings, we are working to encourage employees with leadership resources and, in the future, virtual trainings. We are actively planning our 2020 community service project and are excited to creatively give back while following current guidelines for health and safety.
Meeting the needs of a diverse workforce can be hard, but WE3 has proven the importance of encouraging, empowering, and equipping our employees. We have enjoyed building relationships, discussing workplace scenarios, and networking with local women’s leadership advocates and with women across the county. Each one of our employees is vital in the growth and advancement of Madison County, and we hope that WE3 can better serve them as they serve our residents.
We hope that our initiative will inspire you to dive deep into the foundation of your organization and focus on developing your employees and increasing minority representation.
This article appears in the October 2020 issue of Initiatives magazine, a publication of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.