Grow and Retain Talent

Employee Engagement Groups

The Metropolitan Airports Commission employs more than 600 people, spread across seven airports. Considering that the largest of those - Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport - is essentially a small city with employees spread throughout the entire campus, it can be a challenge for new employees to acclimate quickly and understand the organization. Much of the institutional knowledge is also not easily accessible, but rather resides within the brains of many long-time employees. Over the past several years, we've explored employee needs more thoroughly and found employees wanted more opportunities to connect and learn from one another. In response, the organization has established employee engagement groups to help employees connect, solve problems, and provide insights to the organization.
Employee engagement groups are important to the MAC because, as the research shows, people who join and participate in an EEG are more engaged and better connected to organizational strategy.

-Nicole Kiefer, MAC assistant manager, employee relations


Our first employee engagement group, Connections, was developed in 2016 and formally launched in 2017. The group meets monthly at different locations and focuses on helping new employees learn about our complex organization, connect with other new employees, and learn from veteran employees about their experiences at the MAC.
Thirty-eight percent of employees hired in the past two years are now part of the Connections group!
The group's goals of building community and developing a repository of MAC knowledge helpful for new hires came directly from its members - namely, new employees. Upon hire, all employees are welcomed personally by a member of the Connections group, who becomes a resource for when the employee has questions.

Connections' value to the MAC is keeping good employees engaged and helping them connect with the organization's mission - it gives them buy-in and another reason to stay long-term.
- Paula Minell, MAC accountant
My advice to new employees is to step out of your comfort zone - the best way to know an organization is to get as involved as you can right away. When I was approached to be the co-chair, I was apprehensive because I felt I didn't have the lay of the land yet, but I was assured my views were valued so I jumped in and it's been a great experience.
-Brandon Simon, MAC landside operations agent

Recognizing our Team

MSP Employee of the Year 

Every year the Airport Foundation MSP and the Metropolitan Airports Commission's Customer Service Action Council present three airport employees with the MSP Employee of the Year Award. Winners are nominated by their peers for providing outstanding customer service. Officer Mari Askerooth of the Airport Police Department (APD) is one of the winners for 2017.
A 16-year employee of the MAC, and an instructor in human trafficking and suspicious behavior awareness, Mari was drawn to the airport because the work combines policing with customer service. In addition to people flying out for vacation and meeting loved ones, Mari says her work often brings her in contact with people experiencing hardship, like flying out for a funeral or struggling with addiction or mental health issues. "All of these situations can be very stressful for people and bring out strong emotions," says Mari.
In her nomination, co-worker Heidi Leonard writes that "Mari is always going that extra mile for MSP passengers," such as the time she and co-workers collected money for bus and taxi fares, as well as food, for a family of five that had been stranded at the airport. As Leonard writes, that's "just another day at MSP for Mari."
Another example of Mari's going the extra mile is her creation of the "Winter Coat Closet", through which unclaimed coats, boots, hats, mittens, and scarves are given to people at the airport who are in need of those items. For children, she developed activity packages consisting of APD coloring books, crayons, stickers, apple juice, snacks, and an APD child's badge and tattoo. Stuffed animals are occasionally donated to the APD and Mari says, "handing a stuffed animal to a child who hasn't had the opportunity to interact with police officers in a positive manner is an amazing opportunity.
We're grateful for Mari's help in achieving our vision of providing your best airport experience.
Mari is an incredible asset to our department and the MAC. We are incredibly proud of her tireless service and dedication to MSP.

-Chief Mike Everson, airport police department

Goal — Develop and recognize each employee from their first to their last day at the MAC
2017-2021 Objectives
  • Create a connection forum for new hires
  • Create an employee recognition program with multiple points of entry
  • Support next evolution of training and professional development

Welcoming our New Hires
As we welcome new faces into our organization, we are creating a forum for them to network, ask questions, build relationships, and learn about the MAC in a non-traditional way. Beyond our normal onboarding process, this group invites new employees to join for one or all of the sessions during the year to help them get off to a good start. It will also help our organization continue to evolve how we welcome, orient, and integrate new employees into our strong organizational culture. We are looking forward to kicking this program off in 2017!