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.
Surveying your customers is likely one of the most important things you can embark upon in the development processing system. Customers can be brutally honest if the survey process is confidential and timely. However their feedback often provides clarity on priorities for improvements, bottleneck areas, and generally gives a snapshot about frustrations they have experienced. Yes….you also get positive feedback about what you are doing right, much more than you would expect. Remember though, customer feedback is “perception” of your services. It is up to you to relate that perception to your processing system components and separate angst from reality.