The Road to Success
The Rehabilitation Services Bureau
This is the time of the year when many of us celebrate significant moments in our lives and voice our appreciation of one another. Here in Des Moines there are a number of activities in which the staff is donating time or treasures to help those in need. This caused me to think of all the fine work our staff does around the state, serving those in need. I can only imagine how difficult this time of year must be for those individuals who are unemployed as they face the winter months. Thank you so much for the time you spend listening to individuals as they voice frustration over the lack of productivity their job search produced. Your skill in voicing encouragement and motivation is the difference between hopelessness and temporary discouragement. You make a difference every day in the lives of these individuals. Your work means so much to the person who wonders what will happen tomorrow, and how to find enough to make it through the day. It is an honor knowing you and it is a privilege working in an organization that puts into action the words “making a difference”. May your holiday be as blessed as the blessing you are to those we serve.
In the December Supervisor’s meeting it was brought to our attention that staff expected a “finalization of the pilot”. At the last ICN staff participating in the notebook pilot provided their insights into how well it worked within our system. The state appeared to be split in terms of how the staff wanted to use it. Some staff really found it helpful, although there were only parts that they wanted to use, while other staff did not find value in it at all. The purpose of the notebook was to create an environment that really added value to the client so that the client understood why information was being gathered and used; rather than the client simply giving IVRS information acting in a gate keeper role. Many staff found this valuable and others had suggestions for improvement. During that meeting we communicated that staff should use the notebook as it appears to work for them, rather than requiring them to go through every aspect of it as we had requested in the pilot. Consequently many offices adopted portions of the notebook that enhanced their work with the clients, while others decided not to proceed.
A small group of counselors who work in transition began work on modifying the notebook so it was more relevant to the students in transition. They hope to finalize their recommendation at the end of this month. Much of the information they provided along with other counselors who recognized the value of the notebook provided input into some of the design in IRSS. Consequently IRSS will contain specific screens related to the notebook, with some of the information being required and other information being optional.
As with all tools that are developed for staff, the tool becomes something staff may or may not use in their work. There is not a plan to roll out the notebook in all offices and require them to use them. Instead the training specific to the IRSS design will be incorporated when that is up and running. Offices that are interested in adopting the notebook as part of their redesign and service delivery should feel free to contact the Assistant Chief assigned to their office to discuss it. There really isn’t much training involved in the notebook as anyone who uses it can tell you that it is very straight forward. In visiting with Mike Maher we discussed that it truly simply requires a person to read the notebook and complete it according to the directions contained in it. So, if others around the state have an interest in using the notebook staff is encouraged to talk to those individuals involved in the pilot and then submit a request to the Assistant Chief. There are about 300 notebooks available for distribution. The new revised notebook is still being developed, but will be part of IRSS.
December Supervisor’s Meeting
Generally the Supervisor’s meeting is an opportunity for managers to come together and hear from folks around the state on various bureau wide activities and outcomes. Many times the meetings are structured in a way that presents information, allows for discussion, and then manager’s return to their local areas and report on the information discussed. This format has been the process for years, and very much reflective of pre-technology days. During the month of December Senior leadership took the opportunity to explore utilizing this meeting time in a more productive manner.
Announcement type topics were gathered and placed on a Supervisory Reference Sheet, rather than spending time reviewing the information as a team. This freed up a great deal of time in the meetings so that the managers’ talents and problem solving could be used to the fullest extent possible. Through out the two days managers spent time considering issues, prioritizing areas, discussing next steps, and considering time frames. Such a process allows for greater use of the managers’ skills and time, while at the same time developing a better follow through plan than what was in place previously. As a result the managers will meet in their regions to work on the various issues, devise accountability and follow through strategies, and discuss coordination of implementation efforts.
In addition to the regional meetings, the managers will meet in a statewide meeting at least on a trimester basis if not quarterly during which time they will discuss the effectiveness of their efforts, the issues that have arisen as a result of the actions taken, and the revisions to those actions that are necessary, thereby allowing for the accountability and follow through. By revising our meetings in this manner it allows for the development and implementation, and then the accountability and effectiveness assessment becomes integral to the process. In the past we had the time for the development and implementation, but we didn’t always have the time for the analysis.
This change in our process moves the Supervisor’s Meeting to more of the strategic design that is necessary for an organization to develop its fullest potential. We believe this process will not only enhance our follow through but also our accountability and implementation of initiatives around the state.
After the Supervisor’s Meeting each manager was given a box of IVRS Tool Kit bags. There is one bag for every employee in the Rehabilitation Services Bureau. These bags are the first step in developing tool kits that staff can use as they work with business and industry, vendors, etc. These bags and the corresponding highlighter that accompanies them are to be used by all staff to carry their business “tools” with them as they work with the various partners. The bags are large enough to carry brochures, reference information, applications, etc. Counselors might use them in working directly with business and industry, or clerical support may use them as they work with clients and need to transport documents and forms. Actually they should be used in whatever way helps the employee achieve the goals of client service and employer contacts. Club 26 and Barb McClannahan are all working on various tools that can be included in the kit once you receive them. We know you will all find them useful as you continue to do your work!
Sending Good Thoughts
Please keep Tomoko Yajima and her mother in your thoughts sending her well wishes. Tomoko learned on Tuesday that her mother appears “to be dying”. She will be leaving for Japan on December 19 th. We can all imagine how difficult this must be for her, and the distance must create more challenges for her. Please keep her in your thoughts during this very difficult time.