Enhancing Workforce Development

State: GA Type: Neither Year: 2016

Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH)/District 3-1 serves both Cobb and Douglas Counties in northwest Georgia. Both of these suburban counties are within 20 miles of the state’s capital Atlanta, Georgia. Cobb County spans 340 square miles and includes the municipalities of Acworth, Austell, Kennesaw, Marietta, Powder Springs, and Smyrna. Douglas County is one of the smallest in the state with just under 200 square miles and includes the cities of Douglasville and Lithia Springs. According to the US Census the total population of Cobb County in 2011 was 697,553 making it the 4th most populated county in Georgia. The total population of Douglas County according to the US Census was 133,355 and was the 16th most populated county in the state. The sociocultural environment of CDPH/District 3-1 is primarily white Anglo-Saxon making up 67% of Cobb County and 55% of Douglas County. African Americans make up an additional 26% of Cobb County and 40% of Douglas County. The remainder of the district population is a cultural mixture as the foreign born population of both counties has risen significantly over the last 10 years.  The public health issue we are addressing is strengthening our workforce.  According to the 2015 Forces of Change survey conducted by the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO), since 2008, local health departments nationally have lost 51,700 jobs due to layoffs and attrition. Over the past decade, public health departments have been challenged to “do more with less” amid dwindling public health resources (including people). Recognizing that our employees are our greatest resource, CDPH determined in 2009 that it would take a deliberate approach to strengthening the public health workforce. The health department developed an employee satisfaction survey, collected data on retention and attrition rates, and in 2015 developed a strategic “Championing Workforce Enhancement” plan. Our goals and objectives are:  1) enhance strategic training & career development, 2) increase effective and consistent internal communications, and 3) promote a culture were employees feel valued and we celebrate success. We implemented several initiatives, to include: 1) Partnered with the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government to offer managers/prospective managers an opportunity to participate in a Management Development Program. We have successfully graduated one class and a second class begins 11/4/15. 2) Creating more career opportunities by implementing the state of Georgia Job Classification and Career Planning model in 2016 3) Implementing succession planning for critical positions.  We have created a retirement list and plans for critical positions 4) Offering a quarterly Supervisors Meeting where our District Health Director, Director of Communications and Director of HR meet with supervisors, conduct training and entertain questions the supervisors may have for the panel. Evaluations have been very positive. 5) Offering "3rd Thursday Lunch & Learns" where employees are made aware of other departments and services they provide 6) Offering an annual Continuing Education Day event for all employees and have for over 20 years.  The next one is scheduled for May 3, 2016 and will focus on "Culture of Quality". 7) Successfully implementing an Internal Communications Plan, which includes connecting employees to the "big picture", rewarding employees who go above and beyond, letting employees know they matter, making decisions transparent, collaborating on organizational goals, sharing the positive news, keeping employees in the know, and encouraging program managers to involve staff on a regular basis. 8) Moving our salary toward market average within the next 5 years and we have increased nursing salary, public health educators and some environmental health positions. We provided a 3% one-time lump payment in FY15, increased 80 front desk positions, provided a 2% merit increase in 2016 and plan to provide a 3% merit increase in FY17. 9) Improving our employees' work environment by renovating our Douglasville location, acquired and renovated HQ Bldg B, currently renovating HQ Bldg A. We plan to construct a new Acworth center and purchase and renovate a new Smyrna center. 10) Improving our employee recognition program by implementing a "Soaring Eagle" award for leadership members and implementing a Team of the Quarter Award this FY We are on target with all objectives.  The biggest factor to our success was buy in from our District Health Director and Administrator.  We also had support from the Office of Communications and all of our Leadership Team.  Our Leadership agreed to support the initiative by putting a stake in the ground with our 2020 Vision for our agency. The impact of our efforts has been a 7% increase in our Employee Satisfaction Survey (score from 1-5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the best) from a 3.64 in 2013 to a 3.9 in 2015. We have also been able to reduce our turnover from 25% to 20%.
In the last year, 2014, there were 1,300 layoffs and 2,100 positions lost to attrition, as reported in a survey of public health leaders conducted by NACCHO.  Our workforce/population consists of over 325 employees. We have a variety of employees to include professionals and clerical staff. Types of professionals include:  Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, RNs, LPNs, Epidemiologists, Dentist & Hygienists, Environmental Health Specialists, Health Educators, Program Managers and other subject matter experts.  We have approximately 90% female employees and 10% male. Our initiatives are for all employees.   Prior to 2015, we have had an Employee Enhancement Committee that mostly focused on providing employee recognition in for the form of "Employee of the Month" and "Employee of the Year", as well as employee appreciation activities such as Public Health Week, our Annual Continuing Education Day and employee Holiday Lunches.   The current approach is much more deliberate and focused.  It has garnered significantly better results with the staff as shown in the most recent Employee Satisfaction Survey.   Our initiative is innovative and new in several key ways:1. While over the years health departments have employed various methods of merit and recognition programs reactively, the Employee Enhancement workgroup has proactively developed strategies that will develop a culture in which employees feel recognized and valued for years to come.2. This strategy is unique in that while previous programs were developed and administered by the leadership team (top down), the Employee Enhancement workgroup and activities are staff driven, since the workgroup is championed by staff from within each division/program.3. CDPH monitors implementation and collects data as evidence of the championing workforce enhancement strategy's success. Additionally, we have taken normal processes such as employee recognition and expanded it to include employees' work environment, the office/clinic they work in, the equipment they use, and the value we place on them to a new level.  This in turn will reduce employee turnover, create a more world-class environment for both the employees and our clients to work in/be treated in.  We have invested $5 million and plan on investing $6.5 more million over the next 2-3 years on facilities and equipment.  We expect both our employees' commitment and our client's experiences to be significantly improved.
Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) determined it would take a deliberate approach to strengthening the public health workforce. The health department developed an employee satisfaction survey, collected data on retention and attrition rates, and developed a strategic, “Championing Workforce Enhancement” plan in 2015. Using findings from the initial employee satisfaction survey, along with input from staff both individually and in “Employee Enhancement” workgroup meetings, the plan contains three key goals: 1) Enhance Strategic Training & Career Development2) Increase Effective & Consistent Internal Communications3) Promote a Culture Where Employees Feel Valued and We Celebrate Success Each goal contains several sub-strategies with SMART goals to monitor progress and evaluate the project’s success. The effort is lead by a cross-functional “Employee Enhancement Committee” that assists with implementation and monitors progress.  We took the following steps to implement our program: 1) Enhance Strategic Training & Career Developmenta. Offer 20 spots annually in the Management Development Training through partnership with the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson                   Institute of Government FY15 (complete), FY16 (will start in November) We have committed $10k annually to this effortb. Created more career opportunities and succession planning by:    i. Adopting and implementing the state of Georgia Job Classification and Career Planning model in FY16    ii. Creating a 5-year list of possible retirees and develop succession plans for critical positions in FY15 and 16    iii. Working with supervisors to create procedure job training manuals for critical positions in FY16 c. Offer a greater variety of training    i.  Annual mandated training – we contract $9,000 annually with WeComply to provide the training through elearning    ii. Require Carl Vinson Certification in Financial Management Level 1 & 2 for specific positions    iii. Utilize Individual Development Plans in our performance management system for training    iv. Continue to offer a variety of training as requested by supervisors                                                                                                              1. Develop and implement a training needs analysis in FY16                                                                                                                      2. The Georgia Department of Public Health has given us 3 sessions, $3,000 inkind, with a facilitator to instruct our supervisors on                      "Crucial Conversations".   2) Increase Effective & Consistent Internal Communications (We contracted $2,500 with the analytical firm, 524 Creative, to create our Internal Communications Strategy.a. Continue to offer quarterly supervisors meetings in which our District Health Director, Director of Communications and Director of                   Human Resources meet with supervisors to have an open dialog of what is going on in the agency. We also provide training during these         meetings.b. Continue to offer Third Thursday Lunch & Learns where presenters from featured departments make others aware of their program and         the services they provide.c. Continue to offer an annual Continuing Education Day event. We budget $16,000 per year for this event.d. Continue to implement the district’s Internal Communication Plan by:    i. Connecting CDPH Employees to the "big picture"        1. Have Yearly Check Up in July        2. Have Quarterly Supervisors Meetings        3. Ensure big picture messages are incorporated in the Spotlight newsletter    ii. Rewarding employees who go beyond the norm through recognition and appreciation to build morale.        1. WoW cards - "WoW" cards are cards that state "You WoWed Me Today When You...." and then the employee states the reason why                 his/her co-worker "WoWed" him/her.             a. Employees can redeem WoW cards for gifts quarterly.           b. Highlight WoW cards in the Spotlight.         2. Employee of the Month Program        3. Employee of the Year Program    iii. Let all employees know that they matter by:        1. Leadership Team engaging in weekly “floor” walks.        2. If a Leadership Team member is going to another location, take 15 minutes to visit with the staff.        3. Members of the Leadership Team should make an effort to have lunch with employees once a quarter to interact on an informal                     basis (cookouts, chili cook offs, Education Day, etc.).        4. Recognize all employees during Public Service Recognition Week.    iv. Make decisions transparent by:        1. Inviting employees to provide their input by re-instituting the “Solution Box”.    v. Collaborating on organizational goals        1. Chose one organizational goal from the CDPH Mission, Vision, Strategy map or Balanced Scorecard (our strategic management                   system) per quarter and remind employees of it in the Spotlight.        2. Our Office of Quality Management (OQM) Director will attend staff meetings to review Center and Program Score Cards.        3. Our OQM Director has developed a very succinct, easy to understand Balanced Scorecard powerpoint overview for new employee                   orientation, supervisor trainings, and staff meetings.        4. Our OQM Director features “Program in Action” success stories from the program summary tool and highlight in the                                       Spotlight quarterly.    vi. Share the positive news by:         1. Adding video segments to each newsletter, when possible, with a member of leadership sharing a good news and giving kudos to                   those responsible.         2. Holding Third Thursdays Lunch & Learns monthly.         3. Highlighting employee incentives via email, the Spotlight and intranet.    vii. Keep employees in the know by:         1. Communicating via email if a major decision about CDPH has employees nervous and there is no time to meet.         2. Continue to send out the Spotlight newsletter monthly.         3. Address employee survey or solution box each month and address it in the newsletter.    viii. Encourage program managers to involve staff on a regular basis by:         1. Program managers and center directors having weekly staff meetings.         2. Managers reporting back to their own supervisor and/or Leadership team on how these meetings are received and what topics are                  discussed by submitting minutes or a one pager. 3) We Promote a Culture Where Employees Feel Valued and We Celebrate Success    a. Move our salaries more toward market average within the next 5 years.        i. In FY15 we integrated the salary portion of the state Job Code and Classification Plan which increased Nurses, Public Health                            Educators, and some of the Environmental Health positions.        ii. In FY15 we provided a 2% one-time lump payment to all eligible employees, totaling approximately $100,000 from us and                            $100,000 from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).        iii. In FY16, we increased salary for approximately 80 front desk positions.        iv. In FY16, we provided a 2% across the board increase - approximately $200,000.        v. In mid FY16, we provided a 1.5-2% one-time performance-based lump payment - $150,000 - $200,000.        vi. In FY17, we plan to provide a 3% one-time performance-based merit increase - $450,000.    b. Improve our employees' work environment.  We have spent approximately $11.5M through Cobb County's special-purpose local-option           sales tax (SPLOST), which is a financing method for funding capital outlay projects in the state of Georgia. It is an optional 1% sales tax         levied for the purpose of funding the building of parks, schools, roads, and other public facilities.         i. In FY15, we renovated our Douglasville location.        ii. In FY15, we acquired and renovated HQ Bldg B.        iii. In FY15, we were allocated $6.5 million in new county SPLOST money.        iv. In FY15/16, we will renovate the HQ Bldg A clinical area and all other areas in stages.        v. In FY16/17, we will locate property and construct a new Acworth Health Center in the Acworth/Kennesaw area.         vi. In FY16/17/18, we will locate property and renovate existing or construct a new Smyrna center for WIC and clinical services.        vii. Created a 3 year Operation Plan and 5 year Capital Plan.    c. Improved our employee recognition program by:        i. Purchasing new WoW card program prizes-FY15.        ii. Implementing a Team of the Quarter Program-FY16.        iii. Implementing a “Soaring Eagle” Award Program-FY16.    
Our objectives were to: 1) Enhance Strategic Training & Career Development2) Increase Effective & Consistent Internal Communications3) Promote a Culture Where Employees Feel Valued and We Celebrate Success We selected to monitor our progress by: 1) evaluating employee satisfaction rates 2) reducing our turnover rate  The most recent employee satisfaction survey indicates the highest ratings since the inception of the survey.  In 2013, the rating (range 1-5 with 5 being the best) was a 3.64 and in 2015 it was a 3.90 which is a 7% increase.  Increasing our score by 7%.  Additionally, our turnover has decreased from 25% in 2014 to 20% thus far in 2015, a 5% decrease.  
We are committed to sustain our plans at least through 2020 as described in our Vision statement. By 2020, Cobb & Douglas Public Health will be an acknowledged leader among health departments in the United States. In order to continuously improve our effectiveness and the health of our communities, we will work internally and with community partners to: Demonstrate significant improvement on key health and safety indicators Achieve operational excellence by exceeding local public health system performance expectations Champion workforce enhancement To achieve these ambitious goals, we will engage, respect and value our staff and partners, thereby creating healthier lives and a healthier community. The biggest lesson learned is that you MUST have leadership buy in.  We are very lucky that our leadership team committed to include our project in our strategic plan and our agency's vision.  In addition, they provided the financial backing and have taken the time to commit to the plan through training, recognition of staff, and providing a better working environment for us all.  We believe that recognizing and enhancing our workforce is the key to future quality improvement and integrity.  We are striving to have a world class work environment to provide services to our clients and training our employees in the latest service techniques.  We strive to keep our staff motivated and employed with us for the long haul.  
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