According to one of Northrop Grumman's women in engineering, a high-five can go a long way.
That's Tina Rateau's philosophy, and why she started an employee recognition program that's become ingrained in the culture at Northrop Grumman's Salt Lake City site.
Rateau began “high-fives” four years ago with her team of quality engineers. “I wanted to recognize people for doing things right,” she says. “I wanted to accentuate the good.”
What started as a card and a candy bar is now an employee morale booster used by senior leadership throughout the site. Recipients' good deeds are posted for other employees to see, and they receive a $5 credit in the cafeteria. More than 350 “high-fives” were awarded last year.
Rateau, who's worked at Northrop Grumman for eight years, serves as a Mission Assurance Quality and Receiving Inspection Manager. She is also an important member of the Northrop Grumman Women's International Network (NGWIN) employee resource group.
“I am a firm believer in the value of quality. It is the thread of success for business, life and a reflection of the individual,” she says. “I chose to be in quality to ensure we support the lives we save in the field. When a product leaves our facility, I feel better knowing it will protect men and women around the globe.”
Rateau also is a staunch supporter of NGWIN's efforts to support women in the Salt Lake City community. Their focus in 2017 on suicide prevention addressed an urgent need for Utah teens in particular, and brought attention to an issue that touched Rateau both personally and professionally. The Utah Department of Health classifies suicide as a “major public health problem” in the state, with the youth suicide rate jumping 141 percent since 2011.
The “Out of the Darkness” walk Rateau helped organize in September drew nearly 100 employees and family members and raised nearly $1,900 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In their second year sponsoring the event, the NGWIN nearly tripled participation, doubled donations and brought five other employee resource groups into the effort.
“It needs a voice. So many people suffer with depression and other causes of suicide,” Rateau says. “The board believes being a voice for those who suffer in silence will help others realize they have better options and that help is available.”
Rateau calls NGWIN “a force for good” and is proud of the way the group is making a difference locally. Her call to action: “Get a cause. Get involved. Get going.”
“You don't have to be in a leadership position to be a leader. There are people who change the world because of passion, love of life and a cause. We can all make a difference both individually and collectively.”
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