Nancy Jones has recently been hired as program manager at CCHS. Her first order of business was to have a meeting with the judge and Klenk. The judge is insisting that they agency fix their employee problems within the next three months. The agency is not doing anyone, especially the children of Cherry County any good operating the way that it is now. The agency needs to completely overhaul the way it does business, so that it can once again be a successful contributor to the welfare of both the county and the children.
The Cherry County Human Services Department finds them selves in a very bad situation. The entire agency is overworked and over stressed. They have a bad reputation in the local court system along with the community as a whole. The turnover rate at the agency has been very high in recent years. This makes for over worked and under trained employees trying to a very hard and sometimes dangerous job. The entire agency needs to be cleaned up and reorganized in order to make it successful.
As it stands now the agency has no consistency and accountability in the way that it is run and managed. Employees seem to do as they please with no real consequences for their actions. They leave whenever they want, do non-work related functions on company time and even fight amongst themselves in the office. There is no team continuity among the group at all.
The purpose of the agency is to protect and advocate for the children of the community and functioning the way that this agency does, they certainly can not be serving their purpose to the fullest. Both the local courts and the community in general have bad feelings towards the agency, making for a very bad reputation.
The local court judge, Kathleen Owen, has stepped in to try and perpetuate some change among the employees of the agency. She has given the Cherry County Human Services Direction, David Klenk, three months to improve the relationships among the staff. Klenk has a tough job in front of him to try and weed out the bad employees, while trying to preserve the department as a whole. It will not be able to replace the workers but it is necessary to get rid of those that are counter productive to the mission of the agency and to the children. He also faces a big issue in the fact that he truly does not have enough full time positions and yet is facing budget cuts.
Recommended Course of Action
The Cherry County Human Services Department needs a complete overhaul. Those employees that don't really want to be there and are making everyone else's life miserable need to be weeded out. The agency as a whole has a bad morale and a lot of that has to do with the bad attitudes that the majority of the employees have. The workers need to feel as if they are part of a team and need to function as one if the agency is to be successful.
The purpose of the agency is to protect and advocate for the children of the county and as the agency stands now they are not doing a very good job of this. The court system feels as if they are being slighted when it comes to being given information in court cases. The employees of the agency do not get along with each other or with workers in the court system, which makes it very difficult to communicate with each other. The court system has insisted that they employee problems that are within the agency need to be remedied as soon as possible.
There needs to be a committee formed in order to try and figure out the problems that exist between the agency and the court system along with why the public has such a bad opinion of the agency. This committee would have representative from the agency, the court system and the public. This would help to increase the communication between the agency and the court system and help to fix the PR problem that the agency has with the general public.
There really needs to be caseworkers hired in order to help decrease the overload of work that the present caseworkers have. Unfortunately, it seems that the agency is facing budget costs and may even be losing a full time employee, instead of gaining any. The agency needs to come up with a plan to try and alleviate the amount of workload that each caseworker is assigned in order to try and alleviate the stress and burnout that they are all suffering.
1. There are a number of serious problems with the organization. Identify some of the most serious of them. How did the atmosphere of the agency get to be so negative and problematic?
The problems that are present in the organization include: staff burnout, workers leaving early, high stress levels and employees conducting non-work related activities on county time. The atmosphere of the organization got this way over the years because of high turnover along with a change in public attitudes toward the cost of assisting others and the negative feelings towards welfare programs.
2. What do you do first? Identify the barriers to any plan of action. What interests and pressures will be facing Jones? What other resources could be utilized to improve the overall atmosphere of CCHS?
I think that the first thing that needs to be done is that the employees that are not performing or that are festering in their own discontent need to be removed. The immediate drawback to this plan is that their will be an immediate shortage of workers. But the ones that are continually bringing the entire agency down have to be dealt with through a formal disciplinary process in order not to elicit the wrath of the union. The best interest of the children will be a pressure that faces Jones, but leaving things the way they are is certainly not doing the children in Cherry County any favors. There needs to be more money made available in order to increase staffing although it does not look as if that will be happening anytime soon. But at the very least they need to figure out how not to eliminate any positions that already exist.
3. What plan should be developed regarding low morale among the staff?
In order to address the problem of low morale among the staff must be convinced that they are indeed a team and need to function as one. This may not ever happen with the staff that is currently employed but needs to happen in order for the agency to ever be successful.
4. It seems the agency has a PR problem. How would you improve the agency's relations with the community and court?
I would form a committee that is responsible for improving relations between the agency and the community and court. This committee would need to have representatives from each of the three entities in order to be able to address the PR problems at hand and improve the communication between all three.
5. A new manager dealing with long-time employees always faces the challenge of gaining their support and respect. This is especially true for Jones, who is not from Cherry County and who must contend with Strong, who has applied for her job. What problems can Jones expect to have in working with the employees, and what should be done to facilitate positive relations with the staff?
Jones can expect that long time employees are going to be unreceptive to a new manager and unwilling to embrace any change that needs to be done. Jones has to make sure that a plan is laid out and communicated to all the employees as to what needs to be done to improve the situation at hand. She needs to make sure that the lines of communication are kept open in order for any success to take place.
South County, which has a population of about 270,000 has for many years enjoyed a health financial situation, but has lately found they are facing a budget shortfall. The Board of Commissioners has relied on their county administrator to rearrange the money every year in order to make the budget balance. He has been telling the board for several years that this would not work forever and that they needed to put something else in place in order to deal with it. But the board did not want to hear any of his suggestions and now find themselves in a position that something has to be done now.
The county is now faced with a budget shortfall and a General Fund Contingency and Fund Balance that are low. There needs to be a plan put into place to not only replenish the contingency funds back…