Moving From Vision to Reality
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Eleven employees have been selected to serve as Cary’s first citizen advocates. These advocates represent six departments and have from six months to more than 21 years of experience with the Town of Cary. Advocates continue to cross-train in preparation to transition from a 311 project to 311 service, and departments are working closely with Human Resources to ensure the advocates’ former departmental work is addressed.
As the advocates take more calls, they are working closely with the platform developers to create a streamlined process to intake phone calls and citizen reporting, including data quality/consistency/governance and ease of use. Constant iteration ensures building a system that makes the technology work best for its end users and, ultimately, our citizens.
In support of our advocates, integration teams are forming in departments across Town Hall. These 311 power users will shepherd cases within each department between the 311 Center and the appropriate subject matter expert. Additionally, IT is enhancing the appropriate telephony so that citizens can physically dial 311 starting in 2020. Training on cases and citizen engagement using Salesforce is expected to occur this fall as we work toward an internal soft launch of services in Q2.
The Research & Development group has been facilitating a GIS working group consisting of subject matter experts from various departments to assess and make recommendations for implementing GIS across the organization. On September 26, the GIS working group conducted two focus groups with staff from various departments to share progress and collect input on needed next steps. A key focus of the GIS working group has been the purposeful integration of Cary’s GIS platform to support other platforms such as Cary’s 311 (Salesforce) platform. Staff expressed a need to better visualize, question, analyze and interpret data, which can lead to a deeper understanding of relationships, patterns and trends that will aid in better decision making, efficient operations and more effective planning. A survey following each focus group will help dictate next steps in implementation.
For the last six months, the newly-formed Organizational Development (OD) Team focused on establishing relationships and advancing the OneCary culture. Closely aligned with the Human Resources Department, the OD team provides coaching conversations to colleagues, offers fresh eyes to improving processes and systems, and helps to identify gaps to connect the dots across the organization.
Organizational development work supports our cultural value of focusing on the individual instead of systems. Self-awareness is paramount to a culture of authenticity. Emergenetics is a personality assessment tool that provides in-depth knowledge of the unique strengths of each individual. This tool helps us think about the work we accomplish in teams and how we are stronger through our differences. Recently, we have started using Emergenetics to host Meeting of the Minds workshops to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, both individually and collectively.
The OD team is also committed to creating pathways for developing multi-faceted employees through a variety of professional development opportunities. For the fourth year, Cary has extended an opportunity to attend the ICMA Annual Conference to interested employees who submitted an essay explaining why they wanted to attend and what they hoped to gain from the experience. This year, Financial Strategy Manager Stacey Teachey, Sgt. Randy Byrd, and Deanna Hawkes of Public Safety, were chosen to attend the conference in Nashville in October.
As we work together to adapt to this ever-changing world, documenting our journey allows us to share successes and struggles across the organization. Our internal communications specialist shares stories of our cultural journey through case studies, Q&As and profiles. By chronicling what we are doing, we can learn from one another’s work, experiences and experiments to keep what’s great and improve what can be even greater.
Crucial Accountability training was reintroduced in August. Demand for the training was so high that additional training dates are being provided. As employees create OneCary connections throughout the organization, holding ourselves and others accountable continues to challenge us as we strive for excellence. Support and training for Crucial Conversations are key factors in helping people thrive in our culture.
As the Signature Experience project team reimagines onboarding of new hires, many remarkable experiences created by this interdepartmental OneCary group continue to roll out. This summer, two electronic roadmaps for hiring managers and new employees streamlined a formerly cumbersome, all-paper process, created online workflows for multiple forms, and made our new colleagues feel welcomed as the best before they even arrived for Day One of employment.
During the week of September 23, dozens of municipalities across the country hosted sessions on pressing issues or innovations within their agency as part of the ELGL (Emerging Local Government Leaders) Road Trip series. Danielle Mahoney and Carolyn Roman led a ninety-minute discussion on creating a single source of truth to make data-driven decisions. They spoke to fellow innovators from the public and private sector, with positions ranging from assistant town managers to business analysts, on what it takes to transform local government through a people-first approach. Using the Catalog as an example, the pair spoke to how this seed of an idea that once was just a list has led to a transformational shift in the organization. By empowering staff and encouraging the practice of leadership, the Catalog has helped to uncover the adaptive issues surrounding transparency, vulnerability and the courage to lead, helping Cary to make data-driven decisions on our quest to create the local government that doesn’t exist.
Health and Benefits
The Town of Cary continuously strives to take care of employees, our most important resource, by addressing holistic health and supporting the well-being of all employees.
A key component to overall well-being is an understanding of the benefits that are available. As a result of employee feedback that indicated a desire for a printed benefits overview rather than information only accessible on CNET (the Town’s intranet), a cross-departmental committee not only redesigned the Health & Benefits section of CNET but also developed the Town’s first Health & Benefits Handbook in both electronic and booklet format.
Prioritizing mental and emotional well-being is essential for taking care of one another, and the new Self-Care series focuses emotional energy to help improve coping skills, energy levels and the ability to create balance. Along with onsite meditation and chair massages, this well-received initiative will continue to be part of our wellness toolkit.