Prior to the Public works department merging to become a part of a Major Service Area (MSA), the employees often performed work assignments that were redundant in different department which is a waste of the City of Carlsbad’s financial resources. This redundancy in work was contributed to the lack of cohesiveness in the entire Public works departments except for the water department. Lack of leadership is also a hindrance to the department’s mission and the employee’s guidance because the Public Works director is also the City Engineer. With too many employees performing job duty functions that require supervision, leadership in the Public Works department has been lacking the necessary guidance employees should expect. The employee tenure ratio varied between long and short assignments which could be an issue for training and coordination of day to day work without the proper leadership.
I would introduce myself to the employees within the different departments of the Public Works department to clarify how we will be looking to make the organization better and offer an outline of what we may require from them. I will have discussed this conversation with management prior to speaking with the employees. Cummings & Worley (2008) states, “Before collecting diagnostic information, practitioners need to establish a relationship with those who will provide and subsequently use it. Because the nature of that relationship with those who will provide and subsequently use it” (pg. 121). I would use collection methods such as observation of employees at work, surveys and questionnaires. Because the Public Works department services the residents of Carlsbad, I would also include them in random questionnaires to find out how their service is working and how it can be improved.
This will allow the department to receive feedback from those they work daily to service. Through interviews with the employees in small groups or individual sessions, I would like to pose direct questions such as “What do they need to succeed in their position?”, “Do they feel as if they are provided enough direction in their day to day?”, or “What they feel the vision of the organization is?” Cummings & Worley (2008) states, “Further probing and clarifications is, therefore, possible as the interview proceeds. This flexibility is invaluable for gaining private views and feelings about the organization and for exploring new issues that emerge during the interview” (126).
I would recommend interventions for the Public Works department such as a process consultation with the open-systems method intervention. Performing the process consultation prior to offering the department any solutions to make any changes will allow us to identify where the disconnect in communication with the employees while providing the ground work for establishing the organizations goals. Cummings & Worley (2008) states, ” Rather the process consultant works to help managers, employees, and groups assess and improve human processes, such as communication, interpersonal relations, decision making, and task performance”(pg. 253).
Because the Public Works department has been comprised of so many different groups providing a variety of services to the residents of Carlsbad, I would recommend the open-systems method to the intervention. Through this intervention, we will be able to narrowly focus of the core mission of the organization and its purpose while creating an ideal future of how the Public Works department can progress with the inclusion of its employees. Because employees were often doing redundant work, we will use this time to assess how many people are needed on a task and what areas is not being taken care of due to mismanagement of assignments.
I would begin the implementation of the action plan by interviewing and meeting with employees individually to introduce the goals of the OD intervention and perform interviews during this discussion. I would also perform random interviews with the residents of Carlsbad who rely on the Public Works service to discern their likes, dislikes and suggestions for improvement. I would then reveal the discrepancies of what the employees and management believe they are doing to what is actually happening.
This will allow everyone to gauge the disconnect in their services as well as a starting point for improvement. During this time, we can refocus the employees on the vision of the Public Works department. Cummings & Worley (2008) states, ” Generally, a vision describes the core values and purpose that guide the organization as well as an envisioned future toward which change is directed. It provides a valued direction for designing, implementing, and assessing organizational changes” (pg.169).
Through the establishment of a communications plan, daily assignment check-ins and training the employees will be able to garner a more focused work day and reduce redundant work being duplicated. During the intervention a separate amount of time will be devoted to assess the leadership of the department. With the supervisor splitting duties as the City engineer, we may assess the need for an assistant to properly manage the employee’s daily. Anonymous surveys and observation will be used to garner feedback on how well the action plan works.
Cummings, T. & Worley, C. (2008). Organization Development & Change. (Pgs. 121, 126, 169, 253) Cengage Learning. Mason, OH.