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Relentlessly Engaged: The State of Michigan's Employee Survey and The Office of Performance and Transformation

Photo of Relentlessly Engaged: The State of Michigan's Employee Survey and The Office of Performance and Transformation PublicationOn January 1, 2011, Rick Snyder was inaugurated as Governor of Michigan amid one of the starkest economic periods in state history. From 2000 to 2009, incomes in the state plummeted from being the 18th-highest in the country to 38th place, a decline that only a few states had experienced since the Great Depression. What’s more, in 2009, Michigan became the first state in 25 years to eclipse 15 percent unemployment. Finally, numerous companies and municipalities (including General Motors and Detroit) had declared or were on the brink of bankruptcy. For the Michigan economy, the 2000s were a “lost decade.”

Michigan’s economic woes had a pernicious impact on state employees. The loss of revenue resulted in the budget becoming “structurally broken,” forcing the state to implement “early outs” and furloughs and eliminate training. Thus, when Snyder declared that “The reinvention of Michigan must not leave anyone behind,” he was referring to not only the hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who had lost jobs but also the tens of thousands of state employees serving them. 

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The Perfect Storm: The State of Kansas Moves Its HR and Finance Systems to the Cloud

The Perfect Storm: The State of Kansas Moves Its HR and Finance Systems to the Cloud PublicationIn 2015, the State of Kansas was scheduled to perform what was supposed to be a routine upgrade to the software that supported its accounting system. However, as the deadline approached, officials realized that the transition would be anything but ordinary. Instead, they recognized a set of challenges that created what Sarah Gigous, the Director of the Office of Systems Management in the Department of Administration (DOA), later described as “the perfect storm.” To begin with, they were struggling to recruit technical staff, resulting in the costly practice of retaining an on-site consultant. In addition, they were wrestling with how to replace aging infrastructure that supported the system, a thorny issue because the state’s Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO) was contemplating IT consolidations and did not want departments building costly new systems. Finally, DOA was operating in a constrained fiscal environment, meaning that they could not spend their way out of the problem. These difficulties came to a head when the CITO informed Jim Clark, then the Secretary of Administration, that “they just couldn’t provide us with the support we needed.” “Everything was happening at the same time,” Gigous said, “and we thought, ‘We’ve got to look outside the box and [see] what can we do?’”

 

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Tennessee's Alternative Workplace Solutions Initiative

Tennessee's Alternative Workplace Solutions InitiativeAs the home of more than 2,100 state employees and a fixture on Nashville’s skyline, the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower Complex (“Tennessee Tower”) is one of the State of Tennessee’s flagship facilities. Yet in 2011, when Governor Bill Haslam came into office, the 43-year-old building was a relic. Robert Oglesby, the Commissioner of the Department of General Services (DGS) reflected, “[It had] 70s color schemes, and people just showed up and went to work in their high-walled cubicles or offices and didn’t interact, didn’t collaborate, [and] weren’t focused on anything other than just putting in their ti me and just doing what they were tasked to do.”

Six years later, the Tennessee Tower has undergone a metamorphosis. In lieu of drab colors, the facility has sleek, modern designs. The state has replaced high-walled cubicles with open, sun-drenched co-working spaces, replete with standing desks, whiteboards, and airy conference rooms. Most importantly, the revamped space has awakened a previously stagnant culture. “What we have now is the antithesis of the [old] work environment,” Oglesby observed. “Now, people work together to solve problems and create better solutions for the citizens.”

 

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Consolidating Human Resources and Information Technology Services in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Consolidating Human Resources and Information Technology Services in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania PublicationIn early January 2017, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf sent a memo to his Cabinet announcing a dramatic change: over the next six months, the commonwealth would consolidate Human Resources (HR) and Information Technology (IT) under a shared services model.1 This would help offset a budget deficit of more than $600 million in the 2016-2017 fiscal year and an even larger anticipated deficit the following year.2 It also represented an opportunity to improve service over the long-term. Nonetheless, the pace of the move represented a significant challenge for Secretary of Administration Sharon Minnich, who had been tasked with leading the initiative. Dating back to the 1990s, Pennsylvania had taken in intermittent steps toward HR and IT consolidation. Now, in just six months, Minnich and her colleagues would have to build on more than 20 years of work and develop a new model.

Thus, as Minnich and her team swung into action, they faced difficult questions. How would they manage the consolidation while maintaining normal operations? How would they balance the divergent needs of the IT and HR communities and different agencies? How should the consolidation be structured, governed, and measured Would they obtain the requisite savings without furloughs or layoffs? With Wolf up for reelection in fall 2018, would the change endure? Most fundamentally, could they make IT and HR more efficient and effective and in the process, improve the lives of Pennsylvanians for years to come?

 

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NASCA and NASPO Topical Roundtable: Procurement Leadership

READ MORE NASCA and NASPO Topical Roundtable: Procurement Leadership PublicationTo help states explore evolving state procurement for new agility and value creation, the National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA) and the National association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) convened State Chief Administrators and Chief Procurement Officials for the NASCA and NASPO Topical Roundtable on Procurement Leadership October 10-11, 2017. During this Roundtable, facilitators from Leadership for a Networked World and the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, Richard Pennington, Dugan Petty, and Gary Zura guided sessions and discussions, providing opportunities for leaders to collaborate with their peers in other states to identify challenges, brainstorm solutions, and develop action steps for driving transformation.

Through a series of presentations, panels and moderated discussions, the Roundtable culminated in an ideation session, in which participants worked together to develop new ideas and strategies for modernizing procurement to respond to the velocity of change and increase value generation in their states.

By sharing highlights from this event, leadership insights, and concrete action steps, we hope this report will inspire and inform public sector leaders across the country as they modernize procurement processes. Read the whole case study here

 

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Cross-sector Partnerships: A New Era of Public-Private Interdependence

Cross-sector Partnerships: A New Era of Public-Private Interdependence PublicationCross-sector partnerships can help the public sector unlock access to private sector innovation and funding. A collaborative approach between the public and private sectors means that contracting arrangements may be less constrained by pre-existing public sector knowledge and practice, and more open to facilitating novel and cost-effective approaches to public service delivery or facility management.

This resource was created in partnership with Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania to recap the key points from the NASCA Facilities Management Roundtable.

 

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Pioneers: A Managed Service Contract for Facilities Management in Tennessee

Pioneers: A Managed Service Contract for Facilities Management in TennesseeOne day in June 2012, officials from the Tennessee Department of General Services (DGS) listened intently as representatives of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) delivered a presentation that was simultaneously sobering and enlightening. Earlier that year, DGS had contracted with JLL—a large, multinational firm that specializes in real estate services—to prepare a master plan of the agency’ s facilities and make recommendations for improving the organization and management of those facilities. As the company’s officials now explained in their presentation, JLL had found significant problems, including a lack of accountability, an unnecessarily “high headcount,” inconsistent skill levels, and highly variabl e service. As discouraging as this analysis was, it also, as JLL officials added, presented an opportunity: If DGS were to revamp its approach to facilities management, the agency could save approximately $40 million over five years. JLL concluded, “The State of Tennessee can achieve substantial cost savings and workplace enhancements by implementing these actions.”

The analysis illustrated that DGS had a powerful incentive to change its approach to facilities management, but it also presented the agency’s officials with difficult questions. Should they outsource the transformation effort, and, if so, with which company should they partner? How could they design and implement a strategy to realize the service improvements and savings that JLL projected? Would any State employees be laid off? If the project succeeded, how could Tennessee add the rest of the portfolio, including non-office general government facilities (e.g., parks and prisons) and higher education?

A Cabinet-level agency with an operating budget of approximately $230 million, DGS’s primary responsibility is managing real estate and providing and procuring goods and services—including motor vehicle and equipment management, postal services, and warehousing and distribution—to other State agencies. DGS is also responsible for operating, managing, and maintaining a substantial swath of the State’s real estate holdings. In particular, in 2011, DGS oversaw approximately 10 million square feet of State real estate assets in 550 locations, of the total State portfolio of 94 million square feet.

 

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Ready to Launch: The State of Colorado Employee Wellness Program

Ready to Launch: The State of Colorado Employee Wellness ProgramIn January 2013, Nate Sassano began a new role as the Statewide Wellness Coordinator for the State of Colorado, and he immediately faced a challenge: his supervisors in the Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA) wanted him to create a new employee wellness program by July 1, 2013. Sassano had known that he would be responsible for crafting the initiative, but the rapid timetable surprised him. “My first thought,” Sassano later recalled, “was, ‘you didn’t tell me that in the interview, but we’ll get it done.’”1 Thus, Sassano quickly faced pressing questions. How should he setup and structure a program that would require collaboration among a wide array of State agencies and private sector stakeholders? How would he and DPA rollout the program in just half a year, and what should they prioritize? Once the program was launched, how would they scale it?

A Cabinet-level agency, DPA “provides centralized human resources, information, tools, resources and materials needed for the State of Colorado to function.” During the 2013- 2014 fiscal year, the agency had a $160 million budget, including a $60.2 million allocation for the Division o f Human Resources. This is the unit in which Sassano and the wellness program were based.

 

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The Promise of Covergence: Transforming Health Care Delivery in Missouri

The Promise of Covergence: Transforming Health Care Delivery in MissouriIn 2006, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors published a report stating that adults suffering from a serious mental illness were dying, on average, 25 years earlier than the general population. Deeply shocked and disturbed by these findings, Missouri officials knew they had to shift the way the state delivered health care services to those suffering from mental illnesses and chronic conditions. Their response? Developing a new model of integrated medical and behavioral care for Missouri’s most vulnerable Medicaid population. They started small and successfully implemented a narrowly focused, integrative care program that produced favorable outcomes for a small population of high-cost Medicaid patients. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, Missouri officials saw an opportunity to expand this coordinated service delivery model. However, they didn’t want to simply create a bigger program; they wanted to facilitate a statewide paradigm shift in the way health care facilities delivered care. Missouri was facing a formidable challenge. The changes needed would impact traditional organizational structures, operating models and systems, as well as workforce composition, roles, and identities. Underpinning this initiative would be new data structures to capture the information needed to guide decisions and measure outcomes, robust partnerships with public and private entities to coordinate various aspects of care and ensure data was shared in a timely manner, and a new workforce model to offer integrative care. Furthermore, new positions would need to integrate into existing health care agencies, staff would have to alter the way they delivered care, and sweeping budget cuts meant resources would be scarce. Lastly, Missouri officials would need to design a sustainable funding model to ensure long term viability for their vision and to secure support from the General Assembly. Read the whole case study here

 

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Leading and Managing During Times of Transition: Virginia Department of General Services Case Study

Leading and Managing During Times of Transition: Virginia Department of General Services Case StudyEnsuring a smooth succession of executive power during a gubernatorial transition requires coordinating many complex, politically-sensitive, moving parts. The state chief administrator sits at the epicenter of this vitally important sixty day period, and is often responsible for managing the transition, inauguration, and executive mansion. These tasks demand strong leadership and management skills, and draw on some of the most important core competencies required to be a successful state chief administrator. Read the whole case study here

 

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Implementing Innovative Policy: A Case Study on Energy Saving in Kentucky

Implementing Innovative Policy: A Case Study on Energy Saving in KentuckyIf we could design state operations from scratch, rarely would we structure government as it is today. The many different legacy systems and structures that grew organically are often an impediment to innovation. New technologies and business processes offer the potential for smarter more efficient ways of running governments, but implementing these technologies and systems is often impossible because of historical baggage. The case study presented here is the story of a state chief administrator in Kentucky faced with a mandate from the governor to reduce energy usage 15% by 2015 that coincided with a brilliant idea to centrally measure and control energy. What stood in the way was decades of customs, practices, software and hardware developed differently in each agency and each building. Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s faced the same challenges in convincing a baseball culture steeped in tradition that there was smarter way of doing business. In spite of steep resistance he revolutionized the sport by overcoming the institutional inertia and demonstrating that a similar data-driven approach could build a championship team on a shoe-string budget.

 

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