Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Survey Says" - GOVERNING MAGAZINE Survey Links PBB and "Peer Review" with Innovation in the Workforce


"The results of a Governing survey paint a portrait of a public sector hard-hit by budget cuts, pay freezes and a lack of advancement opportunities. But employees have reasons for optimism."

In the latest edition of Governing Magazine, Mike Maciag's article Work Happy: How Governments Are Innovating Their Workforces paints a most fascinating description of one of the more "unintended benefits" of Priority Based Budgeting. With special attention on PBB implementation in the City of Cincinnati, Ohio and the City of Boulder, Colorado, Governing has unveiled the link between implementation of Priority Based Budgeting and improved employee engagement, improved morale and increased innovation in the workforce. 

City of Cincinnati, Ohio's Implementation of Priority Based Budgeting

From the article, Maciag writes "Providing employees platforms to voice opinions and participate in decision-making are crucial to workforce engagement. In Cincinnati, the city initiated a new priority-based budgeting process that it jointly developed with citizens. As part of the process, small teams of city employees evaluated how well all city programs met one of seven priority areas.

Lea Eriksen, the city’s budget director, says this has allowed employees not only to contribute to the city’s overall functioning, but also to learn about other areas of city government. Sewer department employees, for example, assisted in assessing goals for safe communities, while police participated on a commerce review team. In July, the city convened a meeting of employees and residents to find ways to further increase engagement for the next budget.

The department of city planning and buildings also sought employee input as it crafted Cincinnati’s long-term comprehensive plan -- the first such plan in more than three decades. Staff in departments throughout city government contributed their expertise and participated in public meetings as part of the three-year process. “It was fun to see excitement from other city staff,” says Katherine Keough-Jurs, a senior city planner, “because they’re not always asked what they think.”

Engaging Employees in the Peer Review Process

The article also points to the general impact of the "Peer Review" step in the Priority Based Budgeting process, drawing on Cincinnati's experience as well as the City of Boulder, Colorado's

"Bob Lavigna, the University of Wisconsin’s director of human resources, says that while there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, senior leadership must play a key role in ensuring workers stay fully engaged. One such way is to incorporate their feedback in decision-making. The cities of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Boulder, Colo., for example, used peer-review teams as part of the budgeting processes. “There’s a tremendous opportunity to improve the effectiveness of government if we can move the needle of engagement,” says Lavigna, author of Engaging Government Employees: Motivate and Inspire Your People to Achieve Superior Performance."

As Priority Based Budgeting has been implementing in over 40 organizations, it's clear that the impact of Peer Review in the evaluation of programs is truly special and unique. Through the scoring phase, it is essential to give departments the opportunity to first score their own programs, relative to your organization’s Results and demonstrate why they believe their programs are influential in achieving those Results. This gives departments the chance to provide their own unique intelligence on their own programs which no one else but the program providers would have known. Not only does this help solidify organizational buy-in but at the same time provides a more thorough and complete understanding about everything the organization does and how those programs help achieve the identified Results (i.e. “why” we offer the program).

The Peer Review phase then provides for an authentication process to validate (or question) the department’s belief that their programs are indeed relevant to your organization’s Results. Several organizations have commented that, unlike other more conventional approaches to performance measures, Peer Review provides a forum for a far better discussion that leads to a clearer understanding of how programs truly influence Results. Furthermore, departments gain an organization-wide perspective about programs being offered across your organization, which has led to the uncovering of program redundancies. This step in the process has led to cross-departmental collaboration, as departments find out that they provide similar programs to other departments. This process has also contributed to changes in organizational culture as departments are tasked with the duty of objectively analyzing programs that aren’t their own (i.e. a “jury of their peers”). 

The effect of Peer Review has been remarkable, not only for the purposes of Priority Based Budgeting, but for bringing an organization together to look at the programs they offer in the context of how they collectively achieve the Results that citizens find meaningful. In a sense, Peer Review begins to break down the old departmental “silos” and lets staff see the world from a more global perspective. Ultimately, it is through this step that more accurate program scores emerge, that a better understanding of programs is developed, and an assurance that the outcome of the entire process is objective and valid.  For the long-term, this phase in the process sparks the discussion of how to determine what measure or metric will substantiate the fact that a program’s desired outcome is achieving that objective. 

We congratulate the City of Cincinnati, Ohio and the City of Boulder, Colorado for the much-deserved recognition in GOVERNING's survey. And we celebrate the impact of Priority Based Budgeting on the overall improvement of employee engagement, morale and workforce innovation! Thanks to Governing Magazine for such a great article!

Keep an eye on the CPBB blog for further updates. Sign-up for our social media pages so you stay connected with TEAM CPBB!

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If you're thinking of jumping into the world of Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting we would certainly like to be part of your efforts! Contact us to schedule a free webinar and identify the best CPBB service option(s) to meet your organization's particular needs.

"DATA VISUALIZATION" for Local Government

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