Respect at Work - Job Shadowing at Stony Mountain Institution


In May 2016, Stony Mountain Institution (SMI) formally launched a staff job shadowing initiative. The initiative’s primary goal was to identify and communicate a process by which staff with an interest in another area or job function could observe and get some hands-on experience in that role. A secondary objective was to support the site’s vision of a respectful workplace through increased knowledge and appreciation of interdepartmental differences.


Interested employees seek their supervisor’s support and forward a request to a generic email account outlining their area of interest. Volunteers then forward the request to a supervisor in the area. Ideally, the request is to be addressed within 10 days and once the shadowing experience is completed, the participant is asked to submit a short feedback form.


Since the roll-out in May, the site has had 19 requests for job shadow experiences from 16 staff members (some have more than one area identified to shadow). Nine have been completed successfully. This is Megan’s story…


 My Job Shadowing Experience 


In May 2016, Megan Shaffer from Administrative Services requested and was granted a job shadowing experience with the Detector Dog Program. She spent the day with handler Matt Figur and dog Drake. 


What was the most surprising/unexpected thing you learned while shadowing?

I wouldn’t say I was necessarily surprised by anything, more so impressed at what the dog is capable of and the incredible ability of the handler to interpret signals from the dog. The relationship between a handler and their dog is evident and undoubtedly why these teams have such an impact on the seizure of contraband in the institution. It is obvious to me now why they are such an important part of CSC. 


What did you like least about shadowing?

Not being able to take Drake home with me! 


What did you enjoy most about shadowing?

Doing hides with Drake. It is truly amazing to see how much a dog enjoys working. I believe that a dog with a job is living to its fullest potential and loving it! They are devoted to detection for the reward and praise they receive from their handler. What a wonderful afternoon spent with Matt and Drake. I would highly suggest that others shadow any place within the institution they desire! I was pleased to have had this opportunity. Thank you! 


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