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Orange County (Fla.)
CATEGORY: Personnel Management
To provide outstanding customer service through teamwork, innovation, and the development of positive relationships for today and tomorrow.
To provide safe, quality, sustainable, and well-maintained facilities and services for the citizens and employees of Orange County through high standards of integrity, professionalism, and ethics.
Orange County, Florida is recognized as the number one tourist destination in the United States. Over 50 million tourists visit the central Florida attractions, resorts, and convention centers every year which are predominately located in Orange County. Orange County Government (OCG) has over 400 buildings, comprised of 5.3 million square feet, of which serve the citizens and visitors of the county. Orange County Facilities Management (OCFM) is responsible for the operations and maintenance of all the facilities. Under the leadership of Richard F. Steiger, Jr., FMA, the division is comprised of overseeing contract management, capital projects, maintenance operations, worksite services, training and development, warehouse operations, and mail distribution. OCFM currently has six maintenance districts totaling 154 skilled employees.
Once Mr. Steiger assumed the role of manager, he conducted a workplace climate assessment that focused on training and development. The entire staff had the opportunity to provide feedback regarding employee training. The results of the assessment revealed that 26.5% of employees disagreed and strongly disagreed with OCFM abilities to provide employee training. Over 55.5% of the employees stated they were neutral, disagreed, and strongly disagreed that the organization was dedicated to their professional growth. The assessment also revealed that employees were under-skilled partly due to the advancement of technology within the industry. These issues created a major impact on the organization’s ability to provide quality performance and outstanding customer service. This triggered the push for improved personnel management. OCFM initiated the largest personnel management transformation in the history of the organization.
To assist with the transformation, OCFM used the Human Resources’ Culture by Design methodology. The methodology focuses on the design of a workplace culture that better serves the needs of the employees. It emphases on four areas: selection, development, communication, and care. These four areas guided OCFM in the creation of the “first ever” training and development program. This program is managed by the Training and Development team that consists of seven employees ranging from supervisory staff to maintenance technicians. The team is responsible for analyzing, reviewing, and recommending appropriate actions for all training activities under the OCFM organization. Employee morale, job satisfaction, and organizational performance would be elevated due to the team’s efforts.
Mr. Steiger realized the lack of investment in training and development. This hindered the employees’ professional growth and their abilities to keep up with advanced technology. To improve the performance levels of employees, Mr. Steiger increased the training expenditures by 350% for fiscal year 2015 and another 15% for fiscal year 2016. This allowed more employees the opportunity to attend training, workshops, and seminars. The pursuit of certifications or trade licenses was also incorporate into training the program. As of today, over $49,000 has been spent on training and development totaling over 350 enrollments from 23 training providers. In addition, training opportunities were increased by 65% compared to previous fiscal years. These courses elevated the employees’ confidences and their work performance which increased our customer satisfaction throughout the County.
Because customer service has been on a decline for a number of years, Mr. Steiger recognized it was an area that could be improved upon. He enlisted the help from Human Resources’ Organizational Development and Training section in developing team playbooks. These playbooks helped the maintenance districts understand the staff personality style, define their workplace values, and improve customer service. To create the playbook, each maintenance district met with their employees and discussed their concerns that prevented them from achieving outstanding customer service. All the information was then captured and written in a playbook. The districts would then review the playbook every six months. In addition, employees were encouraged to register for Human Resources’ Passport courses. These courses would help cultivate their customer service skills. Within one and half year, the employees of OCFM invested 1,644 training hours and attended 411 courses. This was a staggering accomplishment. With their newfound knowledge, employees were able to communicate more effectively by listening to their customers and providing them timely feedback on facilities maintenance issues.
Mr. Steiger also noted an issue with employee training records. OCFM was not properly monitoring all the past training provided to the employees. Employees were participating in training opportunities with limited educational oversight. The organization was unable to produce accurate training reports for all 154 employees. Without the proper oversight, employees registered for duplicate and non-beneficial training. In addition, supervisors had limited documentation and history of their employees’ training record. To correct this issue, over a period of three months, all OCFM employees provided copies of their completed training certificates to include certifications, licenses, diplomas, and college degrees. Nearly 2,000 documents were collected, reviewed, and sorted. The records were input into a date file, categorized and sorted. Once the monumental tasking was completed, it painted a clear picture of the organization’s training history. It uncovered training deficiencies that management was not aware of. This awareness gave management and the Training and Development team the oversight they needed to correct the training deficiencies and to ensure employees maximized available training opportunities. Moreover, the collection of training record data helped reduce duplicate training and saved OCFM thousands of training dollars.
OCFM has many talented trades professionals. Unfortunately, the organization did not have any type of written program to determine an employee’s performance potential. Management assumed the employees were skilled and knowledgeable enough to do their job. To correct this matter, Mr. Steiger started the trade skills assessment program. The purpose of this program was to recognize the skillsets of all 27 professions at OCFM and to give the management team a better understanding of their employee’s skill sets. Eighteen Heating, Ventilation, & Air-Conditioning (HVAC) employees were selected to participate in the groundbreaking assessment program. They completed 300 multiple-choice questions in a three-hour period using booklets designed by TPC Training Systems. The results of the assessment showed strengths and deficiencies of HVAC knowledge. This assessment allowed the management team to pin-point the exact training requirements so OCFM could prevent wasteful spending on training and increase the skill sets of its HVAC employees. Other professions will be assessed throughout the upcoming years.
During the first quarter of 2016, another training survey was conducted. The results were positive and showed OCFM was heading in the right direction. Employees generally agreed that the organization cared for their professional growth. This was something that the staff had not felt in years prior to new management. The survey also revealed that 54.5% of employees agreed and strongly agreed that the organization provided training for their job compared to 38.4% of last year. Moreover, 63.4% agreed and strong agreed that OCFM has improved the training and development program.
In summary, the vision of Mr. Steiger led the Training and Development team to institute a training and development program that represented the best interest of the County and OCFM employees. Their efforts generated a positive outcome which included increased number of training classes held, elevated the number of training hours performed, reclassified employees to advanced positions, improved maintenance to facilities, and supported the improvement of employee’s performance.
John Weldon-Assistant Manager
Dean Cousins-District Maintenance Supervisor
Julian Newton-District Maintenance Supervisor
Charles Melton-Facilities Operations Chief
Lee Mathews-Project Coordinator
Raymond Ng-Project Coordinator
James Middleton-Senior Operations Technician
Horace Roofe-Operations Technician
Marsha Noel-Administrative Intern