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Situation

Sound cybersecurity infrastructure and wide-ranging information technology starts with the fingers behind the keyboards and the people behind the computers. Understanding better communications opportunities and methods for engaging employees is the key to high quality output and effective mission support services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of Information and Technology (OIT), Office of Organization Development and Engagement (ODE) needed a strategic plan and approach that would foster increased employee engagement and proven change management methods to enhance the experience of their 8,000-employee workforce.

Focus Areas
  • Strategic Communications Planning and Development
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Training Content Development
  • Quantitative Data Collection and Analysis
  • Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis
  • Website Support
  • Employee Engagement
  • Video Production

NEED:

ODE understood it was essential for this venture to include succinct and concise communication, a keen change management journey and data-directed, decision-based processes. This endeavor involved increased accountability from executives, recognizing the career development needs of a multigenerational workforce, ongoing engaging activities for a diverse workforce and doing so while transitioning to a remote environment.

ACTION:

Aptive, alongside teaming partners Duty First Consulting and the CFI Group, established an action plan that started with an in-depth assessment of the current workforce climate.

Best practice reports development and support: Team Aptive developed tools, assessments and materials that educated the OIT enterprise on employee engagement, change management, organization development, and the application of lessons from organization development, employee engagement, strategy and change management. We then conducted research on industry best practices and benchmarking across federal agencies. Additionally, we captured experiential and actionable findings in research documents and best practice toolkits.

Quantitative data collection and analysis support: We supported all survey research activities, including survey design, survey administration, data collection, data extraction, data cleansing, analysis and reporting. ODE conducts quarterly employee engagement surveys with all OIT employees and other monthly or special surveys to evaluate the impact of program implementations and interventions targeting different subpopulations of VA employees. We extracted, analyzed and reported findings from VA’s All Employee Survey, garnering 175,000 responses.

Qualitative data collection and analysis support: Team Aptive conducted qualitative data collection through structured interviews, focus groups and analysis of survey comments to discover factors affecting employee engagement, employee experience and productivity within OIT.

Organization development support: Team Aptive implemented change management strategies that engaged staff and improved organizational outcomes across OIT. We used Prosci’s three-phased approach for successful change management and the ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement) to develop change management training and toolkits for OIT divisions and working groups that support organization development, change management and employee engagement.

Communications and editing support: We developed communications plans for OIT to promote awareness of the employee engagement and all employee surveys. Team Aptive developed key messages and communications to drive participation and we also provided online website content and print editorial services for ODE, including proofreading, fact checking, informational editing and graphic design. We developed and edited a variety of artifacts, including emails, articles, blogs, brochures, technical documents, website content, flyers, posters, advertisements and conference materials. We created and delivered educational/informational materials, technical and nontechnical materials, abstracts, slide decks, reports and recommendations, white papers, guides, scripts and content.

Outreach and engagement: Team Aptive also supported ODE’s primary public-facing event, a biweekly employee engagement connection call. We supported staff meetings for OIT and other leadership events that promoted employee engagement. We conducted focus groups to support further understanding of the engagement needs of OIT employees. Our team used this information to recommend actions that led to improved employee engagement. We planned and conducted 20 site visits to highly engaged VA Medical Centers to capture best practices and gather additional insights on engagement to disseminate across the OIT organization.

Training and Curriculum Development: Team Aptive developed a series of four online, on-demand Organizational Change Management (OCM) learning modules for VA OIT. The objective of the trainings were to convey an awareness and understanding of the OCM approach and process to OIT staff. The goals of the OCM training were to improve staff proficiency in the Change Management competency and help staff plan and manage the extensive change happening within OIT, both at the project and the organizational levels.

RESULTS AND BENEFITS:

  • Better organizational capacity: With a proven method to data collection, analyzing and understanding employee feedback, Team Aptive helped ODE develop and stand up an action plan to cultivate organizational transition.
  • Enhanced employee engagement and improved the employee experience: Through value-based principles and proactive engagement, we created solutions to foster a successful, team-oriented and output-focused workplace culture. Team Aptive has supported more than 75 surveys and completed more than 145 quantitative reports. Additionally, our team has developed six qualitative analysis reports and conducted over 30 focus groups since 2018. The team has provided AES and EES data in over 25 presentations for OIT divisions, subdivisions and workgroups.
  • Improved communications infrastructure: Team Aptive developed and delivered informative and well-written communications artifacts that provided a unified voice to help ODE improve collaboration between employees, departments and executives to ultimately increase business productivity and agility. Aptive has developed numerous team building, informational outreach and action planning presentations to support ODE performance consultants engaging with their OIT stakeholders. Our team supported the development of more than 70 biweekly news articles on employee engagement related topics. The team also implemented eight communication plans to support OIT participation in the quarterly surveys.

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