August 15, 2013

21st Century Workforce – Lead the Way!

by Kate Richardson from National Park Service

There is no doubt that we are all disappointed with the rankings the NPS receives as a Best Place to Work in the Federal Government.  Over the past ten years the workforce has consistently scored the NPS in the bottom quartile of all federal agencies. But there’s a reason to be optimistic. For the first time in 2012, results were delivered on a micro level providing an opportunity for managers to see individual evaluation and remedies at over 200 parks and offices. The survey is intended to help create institutional incentives to focus on key workforce issues and provide managers and leaders with a way to measure and improve employee satisfaction and commitment.

Call to Action #39 – “Lead the Way” is focused on leveraging strong employee commitment, exceptional leadership and improved management practices to build the 21st century workforce necessary to advance the NPS mission.

Through this Call to Action over 50 NPS parks have elected to analyze and take action on their site’s survey results with targeted support from NPS’ Organizational Development Branch. Each park will produce actionable improvement plans that address the findings of their 2012 survey reports.

Most participating parks have held employee meetings and/or established an employee committee to evaluate what is working well and what can be improved upon.  The following are excerpts from some of the feedback we’ve received.

 “…participants shared many common experiences, a strong sense of camaraderie and commitment to their work and the park. Management as well, showed commitment to their positions and to their staff. There seemed to be a strong desire on both parts to make [our park] a work place that brings out the best in its employees.”

 “ I have been impressed by how the process of discussing these questions has engendered an openness and frankness among the staff. The result of these discussions has already catalyzed some positive change at the park level.”

 “We focused primarily on areas where our scores were lower, which represent opportunities for improvement, but we looked closely at all the categories, because high scores represent an opportunity to get even better.  At an all-employee meeting, the employees were informed of the management team’s intention of looking carefully at the survey results and solicited their feedback.”

There’s also no doubt that the NPS has a ways to go to build the ‘ideal’ workplace.   One thing is for sure, of all the federal agencies we have the most dedicated and optimistic employees who, in spite of the internal and external pressures we face, will do their very best to deliver world class resource protection and visitor services.

The next all employee survey will be in the spring of 2014.

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