April 5, 2002

Effort to implement survey's recommendations under way

By Tommy Smith

The Laboratory is committed to implementing the recommendations produced by the Employee Survey Action Teams as quickly and effectively as possible. To ensure successful implementation, Administration AD Jan Tulk, who co-chaired the Survey Action Steering Committee, has appointed me to assume responsibility for organizing the effort into a major institutional initiative.

That effort is under way. Though there are still a great many details that need to be worked out, I would like to share with you some aspects of our overall approach to this task.

One of the key features of our intended method of implementing the SAT recommendations is to apply project management concepts using our matrix approach. Throughout the Lab’s 50-year history, this matrix concept has proved its effectiveness in addressing science and technology-based projects and programs. So applying it to a activities that are more administrative in nature makes good sense. Why not pull together the most talented people, who have cross-disciplinary strengths and expertise, to address issues that are important to the Laboratory and its workforce?

A closer look at the SAT implementation effort reveals that it shares many of the same features that make the project approach and matrix effective ways to address programmatic problems. In most cases, the skill and expertise necessary to implement the survey recommendations (see inset page 1) does not reside completely within any one department or discipline. Further, the impacts of the survey recommendations will not be confined to any one directorate.

An additional benefit of using this approach is that it will help promote partnership, collaboration and cooperation around institutional commitments. Finally, it will establish an effective methodology for tackling issues in the future, such as recruitment and retention, or leadership development.

Though I am using the "matrix" in a way that approximates programmatic usage, understand I am not advocating a system quite as rigorous. Both Jan Tulk and I envision an arrangement where individuals will join a project team for a specific duration and percentage in much the same way as the SATs were staffed.

I am currently meeting with the various directorates as well as the co-chairs of the Survey Action Teams to help identify individuals to assist in the effort to implement survey actions. Each action will have a project manager, who will establish project plans and milestones.
If any of you have any questions about this process of selecting team members, or would like to discuss the overall implementation effort, please contact me at 2-6634 or e-mail me at smith80 [at] llnl.gov"> smith80 [at] llnl.gov .

My priority is establishing our teams and coming up with a timeline for implementing all Survey Action Teams’ recommendations. Some recommendations, such as dry cleaning or package delivery, will have a short turnaround. Others, such as policy changes that will affect the performance management process, will take longer and require coordination with the Senior Management Council.

I expect to have the team established by the end of the month. I am very excited about this opportunity to help institute these changes at the Laboratory. One of the things that came out in the survey is that there is no "burning" issue threatening the "health" of the Lab. This is a great place to work — but the survey suggests a number of ways we can make the Lab even better.

Every one of you who answered the survey acted in good faith by communicating your views. It will build a great amount of good will for management to respond by implementing your recommendations as effectively and expeditiously as possible.

In upcoming months I will provide specifics on this efforts, along with regular updates on progress and, ultimately, announcements of recommendations. I look forward to the work ahead.

Tommy Smith is the director of the Lab’s Affirmative Action & Diversity Program. He also served on the Survey Steering Committee as well as a Survey Action Team.