2016 Game Changer: Kristen Bagwill
Being an HR Game Changer starts with listening to employees says this Missouri state employee.
Kristen Bagwill doesn’t see herself as a game changer. In her mind, she’s doing what makes sense. And what makes sense is listening to the employees she’s managing.
When she first stepped into the role of employee development manager for the Missouri Department of Transportation three years ago, the first thing Bagwill did was get out into the field to visit with managers and employees to get a firsthand experience of what training and development could look like from the user’s perspective and needs.
“I knew going into the role that I had the potential to make a lot of changes for the better, but I couldn’t do it alone,” Bagwill said. “I wanted to give employees what they need to be better at their jobs so I went to them and asked what those things were. The logic was as simple as that.”
Another one of Bagwill’s achievements has been her development of the MoDOT Employee Enrichment Zone, also known as the “MEE Zone,” a blog to provide health and wellness information to employees.
“I’ve always been passionate about health and wellness, so getting information to employees on how to stay well was important to me,” Bagwill said. “I’m also working with a very small budget, so I knew social media and blogging was a great and cost-effective way to get my message out to employees across the company.”
Bagwill posts weekly blogs, inspirational messages and videos and work-life balance articles. Additionally, Bagwill and her team provide monthly MEE Zone seminars on subjects such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer awareness, suicide prevention and financial well-being. Those seminars are live-streamed to remote employees and later posted as videos. Her efforts resulted in MoDOT winning ComPsych Corp.’s Health at Work award in 2014.
While Bagwill, 31, has found great success in her short career, she was promoted to the role of employee development manager just 13 months after joining the organization, she is still the first to credit those around her.
“I work with a great team,” Bagwill said. “We’re remote throughout the state, but not being in the same place doesn’t stop us from implementing great programs. I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything without them.”