Finding the “right” staffer in the development and building services arena who fits not only the professional qualifications, but also the “feel” and “new attitude” you are trying to create during process improvements may seem like a near impossibility. The other scenario is the new staffer that is trying so hard to fit in that they are absorbing all the bad habits of the entrenched staff and are not grasping the new development processes as fully as you would like, making the shift to the new that much more difficult. The Human Resource function is so much more than filling a position; it’s making sure you have the correct tool or resource for the job.
A City change agent’s reflection on their experience……
We have undertaken significant improvements to the development processing system. No matter how good a plan is to address customer service culture issues ….we found that the plan did not meet expectations. We had good intentions by having full participation by a Staff Action Team, made up on representatives from departments, to develop and move improvements forward. We also had executive management and political leadership say that change MUST come or else, however, the truth of the matter is that unless the culture is changed from both top down and bottom up, the plan WILL NOT work.
Does your organization strive to get customers involved in development services-related performance improvement? Most communities have recognized that creating a public/private partnership with customers for managing services is essential for existence. Customers want you to succeed, but they have to be involved to help you. Experience has shown that creating a partnership, involving customers sincerely in your day-to-day challenges will create opportunities for support for resource additions, better communication, and at a minimum an appreciation for how hard your job is. Yes, you read it correctly. Development services is a tough business.
Your government agency has embarked upon a journey to improve customer service in the development processing system. A number of significant changes are anticipated, including a more co-located “one-stop” development services center, shifting to a project-oriented approach when processing applications, and an enhanced information technology and communication system. Can these changes happen? They can, but you must challenge staff and yourself to “suspend disbelief”. What is this challenge you ask? This challenge begins by looking at the basic definition of disbelief.