"We're changing! And we want you to be a part of it," said DHS Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler as she launched the Local Office Pride initiative at the Woodlawn and Northwest offices. Secretary Saddler and a host of DHS executives visited the Woodlawn Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) at 915 East 63rd Street and the Northwest FCRC at 4105 West Chicago Avenue on Wednesday, January 11. The two events were to celebrate of the work already being done and a commitment to more improvements in the future.
As you know this month DHS announced the creation of the new Division of Family and Community Services through the merger of the Division of Human Capital Development and the Division of Community Health and Prevention. The goal of the new division is to streamline and improve services.
To help achieve that goal we've launched the Local Office Pride initiative.
"If we don't show employees we care, how can we expect them to feel good about their jobs?" asked Secretary Saddler.
Through the Local Office Pride initiative, we intend to create a culture of caring - together.
DHS Family Community Resource Centers are working to improve customer access to programs and services. We're creating a culture of caring in which FCRC staff feel supported and encouraged in their work and customers feel respected.
Local Office Pride will:
- Make our waiting rooms a welcome environment.
- Engage and inspire FCRC staff in this culture shift improvement plan.
- Look for innovative strategies for better serving the high volume of customers who need assistance.
Our goal is to provide a caring waiting room environment in which customers are treated with respect and served as quickly and efficiently as possible.
We're making policy changes in order to minimize caseworker workload and customer traffic and inconvenience.
- Express Desks will address needs of customers that do not require that they see their caseworker, including printing a medical card, issuing a LINK card, address change, add a baby, etc.
- New signage to clearly communicate to customers the services provided and what line they should wait in.
- Waiting room supervisors will be responsible for monitoring the functioning of the new plan, assisting on high volume days and adjusting processes as necessary.
- Greeters will direct customers at the door, inform customer of process, and give number or direct to appropriate line in order to be served.
The Local Office Pride home page will provide more details about the initiative.
Secretary Saddler said our success depends on all of us working together to create the Culture of Caring.
Jennifer Wagner, our Associate Director of the Office of FCRCs & Workforce Development Policy said Local Office Pride recognizes we need help. "We can't keep asking caseworkers to handle more and more without changes to offer some relief."
Wagner and Melissa Wright, Director of Business Services, pledged to make work more manageable and make a better work environment for staff, both physically and emotionally.
In addition to improvements to help staff with their jobs, Wagner also said she wants to streamline services and enable customers "apply once and get all the services and benefits."
Wright said she's working with local offices to get fresh paint, clean and polished floors, more signage, stanchions to help control the customer lines and counters so customers know where they are in line.
John Smith, Chief of the Bureau of Training and Support Services spoke about wellness and EAP programs for staff and how volunteers can help local offices serve customers better.
Local Office Pride will be rolled out in all DHS regions in the near future. The initiative is spearheaded by a committee including:
Front: Aurelio Huertas
Middle: Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler, Linda Shumate, Patricia Munoz, Melissa Wright, and Donna Clay
Back: Joseph Mason, Jennifer Wagner, Kelly Richards, Thomas Green and Linda Saterfield.
- Joseph Mason, Associate Director of the Division of Family and Community Services, LOP co-chair
- Donna Clay, LOP co-chair
- Patricia Munoz. Region Administrator, Region 1 North, Division of Family and Community Services
- Linda Shumate, Region Administrator, Region 1 South, Division of Family and Community Services
- Linda Saterfield, Director of the Division of Family and Community Services
- Jennifer Wagner, Associate Director of the Division of Family and Community Services
- John Smith, Chief, Bureau of Training and Support Services
- Melissa Wright, Director of the Office of Business Services
- Carmen Lebron, Division of Family and Community Services
- Thomas Green, Office of Communications
- Aurelio Huertas, Office of Communications