A key strategy that has helped Tyler weather the tough economic times has been the commitment to the Blueprint Business Model and implementation of employee engagement strategies such as City University, Leadership Academy, Called to SERVE Internal Communications and Lean Six Sigma. These programs are all part of the City of Tyler's Performance Excellence Program: PEP.
Established in 2008, City University is the City of Tyler’s employee training department. Led by the Manager for Organizational Development, and housed in a state-of-the-art training facility, City University’s vision is to create a well-trained, highly skilled workforce that embraces opportunities for life-long learning and growth. Programming for City U is structured into five tracks: Leadership Development, Professional Development, Innovation, Life Management and Core Competency. In 2009, Leadership Academy (LA) was added to the program structure. LA is a selective program limited to 15-18 employees,who spend one year together developing skills that will help prepare them to fill critical leadership roles. Also in 2009, City U added a Toastmasters Club for City employees to enhance their public speaking skills.
Called to SERVE Internal Communications
The Called to S-E-R-V-E internal communications initiative was developed in 2008. The motto, Called to S-E-R-V-E, has a dual meaning: it reminds employees that they entered into public service to serve others and S-E-R-V-E is an acronym for Streamline, Empower, Respond, Venture and Evaluate, the goals established under the Tyler Blueprint. A myriad of tactics are encompassed in the plan, all aimed at enhancing employee communications. Examples include an employee newsletter, intranet, recognition program, celebrations, City Manager visits, lunch and learns and much more.
Lean Six Sigma
In 2009, the City of Tyler launched a comprehensive Lean Six Sigma initiative throughout the organization. This was the logical evolution of Tyler’s long history of performance excellence. A full time Lean Sigma Master Black Belt was hired who trains current employees to reduce waste and variation in processes. A Green Belt has been trained in each department and several Black Belts have been certified. The Green and Black Belts works with employee project teams to improve City processes: saving both time and money. To date, more than $5 million has been saved in hard and soft savings.
These programs empower City employees to find solutions, develop programs and enhance processes that result in higher-quality services and cost savings.
The City of Tyler is now converging these strategies into the Performance Excellence Program (PEP). Each department is challenged with evaluating themselves in seven criteria areas:
2. Strategic Planning
3. Customer Focus
4. Measurement, Analysis and Knowledge Management
5. Workforce Focus
6. Operations Focus
As part of the PEP process, each Department prepares an annual Business Plan. The Departmental Business Plans link organizational goals and objectives to the department level. This plan contains key performance indicators (measurables), trend information and performance improvement projects. Business Plans are submitted on a quarterly basis and reviewed by a Performance Excellence Team. Quarterly reviews and coaching sessions are help to enhance performance outcomes.
The City of Tyler’s budget process encompasses tri-annual forecasting, annual budget development and adoption, and monthly forecasting. Each City department prepares a three-year budget forecast which is submitted to the Budget Committee. Tri-annual budget reviews are held with each department and the information is used for long range budget planning. An annual budget request is then prepared by each department and submitted to the budget committee. Budget hearings are then held with each department. This information is rolled up and the budget committee makes a budget recommendation to the City Council for adoption, following public hearings to gather community input. Once the budget is adopted, each department must submit a monthly budget forecast spreadsheet to the Budget Committee, who reviews the overall budget of the City and makes recommendations to the City Manager.
Through the PEP process, the City of Tyler will be able to meet the mission “to SERVE our community to make a positive difference” and exceed the vision “to be the standard for responsive local government.”