IVGID GM’s Corner: Creating a more positive workforce at IVGID | SierraSun.com

IVGID GM’s Corner: Creating a more positive workforce at IVGID

Steve Pinkerton
Special to the Bonanza

Steve Pinkerton

Last month, I wrote about service measurements and their importance in delivering cost efficient service to the community.

While defining service levels and measuring costs are a critical part of how we do business, it doesn't specifically address the human element.

As a service organization, it is people and not machines that still deliver the majority of our services. And it is people, and not machines, who receive our services.

While this seems like a simple concept, balancing the cost element with the human element is a delicate act, and it is a balance that needs to be understood by every single employee in the organization.

Recognizing that, the Board of Trustees generously supported my request last year to initiate culture alignment training for all of the District's employees

I enlisted the Blanchard Organization, one of the legends in employee training, to assist us in this process. They have a program called "Gung Ho!" that is a well-recognized program for developing and improving organizational culture and performance.

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It focuses on helping your workforce align its purpose, values and goals. It emphasizes frontline, not top-down, decision-making responsibility and celebrating workforce successes, no matter how small.

Its principles are general enough to respond to various organizational needs and adjust with the ever-changing demands of today's workplace.

The main goals of the process are to: improve employee morale and productivity, reduce employee turnover, develop a sense of purpose at the personal and corporate level, improve service to internal and external customers, and empower individuals and teams.

Gung Ho! has three central principles:

1. Doing worthwhile work driven by the goals and values defined by the workforce.

2. Putting your workers in control of achieving their goals.

3. Cheering each other on.

The process to implement Gung Ho! began last August, with our Senior Management team drafting our workforce purpose, vision, values and behaviors.

Our middle managers then reviewed the results and worked with our Senior Team to finalize all of the documents.

We updated the Board of Trustees on our progress at the Feb. 5 Board Retreat, and the balance of the full-time workforce went through the training process this past week.

While there has already been a great deal of effort put forth by staff to just to learn the principles of Gung Ho! and define all of workforce-specific values and behaviors, we are now moving into the most challenging and important step in the process – Implementation. One of the guiding principles of Gung Ho! is to "walk the talk." That is, you can't just talk a good game, you have to follow through.

As leader of this organization, the onus is on me to set the standard for "walking the talk." So what it is the "talk" we are going to implement?

Very simple — every member of our organization will be expected to perform their tasks consistent with our core values:

Teamwork: We will deliver service and value by collaborating with others in a positive work environment to achieve our goals in the best interests of the community.

Responsibility: We will be professional in our actions, transparent with communication, and accountable to our decisions.

Integrity: We will act in an honest, fair, consistent manner to do the right thing for the greatest good.

Service: We will use teamwork to provide reliable service and superior value to our customers.

Excellence: We will perform to the best of our ability and seek to make tomorrow better than today.

The staff has also come up with 4-6 key behaviors to better describe each of our core values. For example, here are the five behaviors associated with Excellence:

1. I will be timely in my actions.

2. I will be friendly, approachable and genuine.

3. I will commit to excel, improve and take pride in all aspects of my job.

4. I will have the courage to take intelligent risks without regard to personal reward or consequence.

5. I will know my work metrics to monitor progress and evaluate results.

These behaviors will provide the guidance for our employees in everything they do. Every workplace decision is based on its consistency with our core values and behaviors.

The end result is a workforce confident in their daily work and able to make more independent judgments. I believe this makes for a more productive workforce — and a workforce delivering the best service possible to Incline Village and Crystal Bay.

I look forward to sharing Gung Ho! successes with you in future columns.

"GM's Corner" is a twice-monthly column from Incline Village General Improvement Distinct General Manager Steve Pinkerton, who will discuss issues and offer updates regarding various district matters.