The APHIS Cultural Transformation Action Plan

Cultural Transformation - A Roadmap for Success

Identifying Issues and Concerns
Town Hall Meetings
MRP Management Review

Transformation Initiatives
Cultural Transformation Training
Business Practice Re-engineering
Stakeholder Engagement
Career Management


Measurement of Success

Cultural Transformation - The APHIS Roadmap for Success

Appendix A - MRP Management Review
Appendix B - Employee Viewpoint Survey

Cultural Transformation - A Roadmap for Success

On September 21, 2009, Secretary Vilsack issued a “call to action” to USDA's senior leadership to culturally transform USDA from a business-oriented perspective. Cultural Transformation at USDA is based upon the premise that how well we serve our customers, their level of satisfaction, and the results produced by our delivery processes is directly related to how well our organization is a representation of those we serve and how well we understand the vast array of cultural differences they represent. To create an environment that is responsive to the demographic and cultural changes occurring in our Nation and in our workforce, we must look at how we perform our tasks, serve our customers, and transform our beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions about differences between employees, customers, and stakeholders.

USDA has defined Cultural Transformation as the process of creating a workplace where all employees and customers are treated with dignity and respect, and provided the opportunity for success. Secretary Vilsack's commitment to USDA's Cultural Transformation is unwavering and he has asked each Agency to make it a priority. As such, the Secretary convened a task force of diverse USDA leaders to develop a plan for meeting his goals of improving diversity and inclusion for our customers and employees. As a first step, the task force sponsored a series of six employee listening sessions across the United States and a session with Union representatives. These listening sessions provided a platform for employee feedback in the areas of Leadership, Employee Development, Talent Management, Recruitment and Retention, Customer Focus, and Community Outreach.

The APHIS Management Team (AMT) and Senior Leaders share the Secretary's commitment to Cultural Transformation and have worked closely with their employees to understand their issues and concerns from not only an operational perspective but from a leadership, employee interaction, and customer service basis.

At the heart of Cultural Transformation is the creation of a highly performing organization that values diversity and inclusion and leverages the unique talents, abilities, and perspectives of its workforce to enhance decision making, increase operational efficiency and effectiveness, boost employee morale and performance, and improve customer service. While our senior leaders are responsible for leading change and achieving cultural transformation, it is each employee's responsibility to embrace cultural transformation and help lead the charge. Each APHIS employee plays a major role in creating an inclusive and highly performing organization and each can make a significant contribution towards its success.

The APHIS Action Plan builds upon the Department's guidance and the Cultural Transformation initiatives already undertaken within APHIS and charts a course for the future. It utilizes the information learned from the Administrator's Town Hall meetings and the MRP Management Review and addresses the issues and concerns raised therein. It establishes initiatives that focus on leadership responsibilities and actions, Cultural Transformation training for all APHIS employees, process improvements to increase productivity, intensified stakeholder engagement to improve customer service, enhanced communication, revitalized employee career management, and a more transparent awards process. While Leadership clearly plays a prominent role in each and every aspect of this plan, we elected to highlight Leadership as a primary initiative because of its importance to the success of all aspects of Cultural Transformation and program delivery.

Identifying Issues and Concerns -

Town Hall Meetings

In an immediate response to the Secretary's call to action, the APHIS Administrator held a series of Town Hall meetings during the month of October, 2009, during which employees were invited and encouraged to share their ideas, issues, and concerns. The Administrator met personally with employees in Raleigh, North Carolina; Fort Collins, Colorado; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Ames, Iowa; and Riverdale, Maryland. During these meetings, employee concerns focused on two primary issues - the increasing time required for administrative processes and the need for improved communication. More specifically, employees expressed a concern that the amount of time devoted to certain administrative tasks and procedural requirements had substantially increased to the detriment of their primary responsibilities. They also indicated that they often felt that they were without a voice and it was difficult for them to communicate up the chain of command. Due to the often remote locations of some APHIS employees, they do not feel that information filters down as easily as it could or that their thoughts and viewpoints are solicited for resolving problems and issues.

MRP Management Review

In response to the feedback garnered from the Secretary's listening sessions, the Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP) mission area was tasked with conducting a more focused management review. The management review team, led by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration, Robin Heard, included Karen Grillo from MRP, Billy Milton from the Office of Human Resources Management, Ron Hicks, Deputy Administrator, International Services; Chris Zakarka, Deputy Administrator, Policy and Program Development; and Sharon Coursey, Director, Human Resources Division. The team analyzed workforce data, held three MRP-wide focus sessions during July and August, conducted an all-employee MRP-wide survey from July 23 through August 10, and developed findings in the areas of Hiring and Employee Development and Organizational Climate and Communication.

The workforce data analysis depicted a significant downward trend in the number of informal and formal complaints which is attributed to a substantial increase in the use of the Alternative Dispute Resolution process. Similarly, the workforce profile data (including hiring and separation data) resulted in no trends that would point to unfair selection processes. Therefore, the team recommended that the APHIS senior leadership focus on improving communication up and down the chain of command, creating a more accessible system for developmental assignments and details, and developing a more transparent awards process.

Transformation Initiatives -


Leadership does and must occur at all levels of an organization. APHIS employees acknowledge that ALL employees - supervisory, non-supervisory, first line supervisors, middle managers, and senior managers - have a role in creating an inclusive and highly performing organization. While employees indicated that their leadership worked well with employees of differing backgrounds and demonstrated support for Work/Life programs, communication, collaboration, and support for career development remained challenges. As communications and career management were recurring themes throughout the Town Hall meetings and Management Review and are intricately entwined in the Cultural Transformation process, each is addressed as an individual transformation initiative in this Action Plan. To further enhance leadership throughout APHIS, will:

  • Provide, for all APHIS employees, a better understanding of the organization's goals, priorities, roles and responsibilities, as well as how the organization is progressing in these areas:
    • Continue the employee suggestion process through the portal and leadership communications through blogs. Incorporate more discussions on recent decisions made and the factors impacting those decision as well as advice/feedback from management on the outcome of its work. Completion Date: September 30, 2010 and ongoing);
    • Conduct a teleconference with Senior Leaders the Monday following the monthly AMT meeting to discuss action items from the management meeting and key messages for all APHIS employees. The Senior Leaders will conduct subsequent calls/meetings with their staffs all the way down through to the organization to ensure all employees are involved in the discussion and have an opportunity for input. Employee input should channel back up through the organization to the Senior Leaders for discussion at the next monthly teleconference. (Completion Date: December 31, 2010 and ongoing);
    • Conduct monthly program tele/videoconference updates that are available to all field employees. (Completion Date: January 31, 2011 and ongoing); and
    • Publish senior executive performance standards on the Cultural Transformation website. (Completion Date: January 31, 2011)
  • Improve follow-up on employee suggestions for organizational improvements in products, services, or work processes:
    • Include a special focus session on the portal to collect and address employee suggestions. (Completion Date: January 31, 2011)
  • Provide more developmental support to supervisors throughout their career, targeting communication, coaching, and employee development skills:
  • Enforce the mandatory 24 hours of leadership development training each year and 360 Degree assessments every 5 years;
  • Establish teams of supervisors and employees to tackle the three persistent issues of communication, career development, and recognition; and
  • Use Monthly leadership calls for discussions on leadership topics. (Completion Date: March 30, 2011)
  • Establish hiring criteria to ensure the candidate pool is diverse and the hiring decisions are based on selecting the best qualified applicants. Employees indicated the primary obstacles to promotions and career advancement is the lack of understanding of the selection criteria and the weighting of KSAs, and inadequate publication of opportunities:
    • Implement the new government-wide hiring reform policy that requires management involvement in the recruitment and hiring process. Hiring managers and human resources representatives will work jointly to identify recruitment strategies that will result in a diverse and high quality applicant pool, and to develop and use applicant assessment tools that will identify the best qualified candidates. (Completion Date: October 31, 2010)
  • Develop a Cultural Transformation website that links to the Department's website to share information on the initiative. (Completion Date: )
  • Publicize the outcomes of the listening sessions and provide follow-up information so employees are aware of the next steps:
    • Post the outcomes of the listening session on the Cultural Transformation website and distribute a report to employees via eBlast. (Completion Date: November 30, 2010);
  • Implement a more transparent awards process. (Completion Date: June 30, 2011);
  • Develop an updated telework policy that will enhance APHIS' ability to deliver its mission while supporting the needs of its supervisors and employees. (Completion Date: September 30, 2011); and
  • Improve the confidence employees have in the organization's senior leadership by incorporating supervisory effectiveness and employee satisfaction as part of their strategic agenda and include these areas as action items in their performance plans to ensure accountability. (Completion Date: September 30, 2011)

Cultural Transformation Training

Inherent in the success of any initiative for chance is the understanding of why change is important and necessary and how it will result in an improved way of operating. It is, therefore, critically important that all APHIS employees understand the relationship between diversity and inclusion and how they are both critical to achieving our mission and improving our performance. To enhance this understanding, APHIS will undertake an initiative to train all employees in fundamentals of Cultural Transformation. In so doing, APHIS will:

  • Establish a team of training experts to develop a plan to train all APHIS employees in Cultural Transformation;
  • Provide training to that team through the Wharton Executive Education Program offered November 29 through December 3, 2010;
  • Utilize the training received to prepare the team to design, implement, and lead training that will transform the culture of USDA to be more diverse and inclusive and to support the empowerment of employees; and
  • Conduct and complete the training initiative. (Completion Date: September 30, 2011)

Business Practice Re-engineering

A fundamental aspect of the business case for Cultural Transformation is the implementation of far-reaching changes to traditional business practices. In response to the concerns raised by employees during the Administrator's Town Hall meetings regarding the increased time required to complete certain administrative processes and procedural requirements, the AMT decided to review and improve administrative processes across APHIS. The AMT identified five initial processes to be improved - Travel Approval (MRP-13); Travel Authorization & Vouchering (GovTrip); Time and Attendance (WebTA); APHIS Cost Management System (ACMS); and Unliquidated Obligations Report (ULO). To accomplish this goal, APHIS:

  • Identified four Executive Sponsors to provide guidance and assist in decision making who:
    • Established teams of Planning, Evaluation, and Monitoring analysts for each of the five processes under review;
    • Built larger networks devoted to each process by inviting program employees with specific subject matter expertise;
    • Established an e-mail account to solicit feedback from employees thereby engaging end users directly in the process; and
    • Linked the e-mail account to the APHIS Portal webpage to provide employees another venue for providing information and raising concerns. (Completion Date: January 31, 2009)
  • Implemented the following improvements:
    • Established a shared-drive for ULO documents and clarified ULO reporting requirements. (Completion Date: December 31, 2009);
    • Refined communication with end users on the Banner Page to ensure information is clear and relevant; and enhanced training for end users. (Completion Date: March 31, 2010);
    • Eliminated 95% of the required MRP 13 submissions; improved MRP Business Services Travel Services Center website; developed and disseminated interim and final guidance on special travel approvals; implemented a new annual travel plan for non-APHIS sponsored events; and the established a vetting process for end-users for travel related policy and procedures documents. (Completion Date: March 31, 2010);
    • Empowered each program, based upon its unique travel requirements, to determine responsibility for entry of travel documents into the web-based system; hired a supervisor for the Travel Services Center and an additional staff resource; created a training program and a GovTrip help desk for administrative personnel; and implemented GovTrip 2.0. (Completion Date: July 31, 2011); and
    • Developed a new policy that enables employees to enter Time and Attendance data once and encourages employees and supervisors to utilize the enhanced features offered by WebTA (Completion Date: August 31, 2010).
  • Developed an internal ombudsman position to solicit ongoing feedback from employees on recommendations for process improvements and address employee concerns. (Completion Date: November 30, 2010).

Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement is critically important to the successful delivery of APHIS programs. It is essential that APHIS identifies its stakeholders, both traditional and non-traditional, and learns what is important to them as well as how they will react to our policies and programs. We cannot reserve stakeholder interactions for when we want or need their assistance or for when we have a significant agricultural issue to address. Rather, we must proactively incorporate stakeholder engagement into our daily operations and make it the norm rather than the exception. We must be open and transparent and regularly communicate with and consider the opinions of all interested parties.

As we engage and collaborate with a broader spectrum of stakeholders, APHIS will focus on expanding who we routinely interact with; changing the nature of the relationship we have with existing stakeholders; identifying and building relationships with new stakeholders or those previously unheard; gaining a better understanding of what stakeholders are concerned about and their thoughts on how to better implement programs; equipping and empowering all levels of APHIS employees to engage with stakeholders; being fair, equitable, and inclusive of all segments of the agricultural community as we deliver programs; and garnering more interest in and support for our programs, policies, and regulations. Toward this end, APHIS will:

  • Develop a Stakeholder Engagement strategy that will enable APHIS to better understand stakeholder concerns and perspectives. (Completion Date: December 31, 2010);
  • Develop a handbook for Stakeholder Engagement that details the process of stakeholder engagement, provides guidance on conducting internal and external assessments, and discusses how to effectively incorporate the information gained into the decision-making process. (Completion Date: December 31, 2010);
  • Develop a strategy for launching the Stakeholder Engagement initiative to all APHIS employees. (Completion Date: December 31, 2010); and
  • Launch the Stakeholder Engagement initiative. (Completion Date: March 31, 2011)


Information gathering and sharing is critical for employees at all levels to excel, be motivated and innovative, and understand the rationale for decision making. Employees want to understand how their duties and responsibilities fit into their local work unit, fulfill the agency's mission, and address departmental priorities. They want an understanding of how and why decisions are made and the potential impact external factors may have on their activities. Employees' top three expectations are often cited as being interesting and fulfilling work, appreciation of the work done, and a feeling of being a part of the organization and its decision making.

APHIS employees responded in much the same manner by raising communications as a fundamental issue. They raised a concern that they do not receive information about Agency activities and priorities nor do they feel a sense of personal accomplishment by seeing where their work fits into the overall APHIS priorities. They feel they lack effective mechanisms that will enable them to provide feedback to management and communicate “up the chain”. They expressed a disdain for receiving too much information via email and a concern that the results of the Employee Viewpoint Survey would not be used to improve the workplace environment.

A more focused internal review revealed that significant time, effort, and resources are currently being devoted to internal communications activities both within the Agency and the individual programs; however, employee feedback suggests these efforts are not providing the desired results. It also revealed that each program defines internal communications differently, based upon the size of the organization, employee needs and locations, and other external factors. A “one size fits all” approach is not appropriate yet there are threads of consistency that would facilitate effective communication. Current internal communications activities have a range of purposes - sharing administrative information; sharing broader information about APHIS priorities, goals, and activities; and providing job- and program-specific information to employees. While this is all valuable information that employees need, the messages need to be evaluated against clearly defined communications goals established by the Agency.

As with every aspect of Cultural Transformation, communications is an ongoing initiative that will constantly evolve as employee issues and concerns are better defined. When considering an approach for addressing communications issues, we must consider using a variety of communication methods that will meet the various needs of and respond the diverse APHIS workforce. Specifically, APHIS will:

  • Develop an APHIS Communications Plan to respond to employee concerns. (Completion Date: November 15, 2010)
    • Develop and establish a general communications model for all supervisors to use as a starting point to facilitate regular and consistent direct two-way communication with employees using methods such as:
      • Regular and appropriately frequent staff meetings;
      • Regular and frequent one-on-one coaching and review sessions with employees;
      • Weekly or monthly reports to staff that include program information, local updates, and business/administrative information (training notices, special emphasis activities, Administrator's blog, GovTrip, WebTA, etc.);
      • Periodic training or team-building activity to build trust and transparency among employees at various levels; and
      • Other appropriate methods that demonstrating reaching out to employees to foster communication and cohesiveness.
    • Develop and implement a “Top Down” communications model using methods that facilitate information access and understanding by employees;
    • Develop and implement an “Up-the-Chain” communications model using methods such as suggestion boxes, newsletters, collaboration sites, town hall meetings, and entrance/exit interviews; and
    • Develop a Decision Communications Protocol for senior leaders to communicate decisions and the basis for the decisions to employees. (Completion Date: March 31, 2011)
  • Develop and implement a communications plan within each program unit that links to the APHIS Internal Communication Plan and is customized to local or program needs. (Completion Date: June 30, 2011)
  • Institute an agency ombudsman program to facilitate communication among employees and leaders. (Completion Date: December 31, 2011)
  • Develop an “Introduction to APHIS” program for new employees for on-boarding and a “Desk Guide” for all employees at all levels that provides information necessary for success, including:
    • An overview of USDA and APHIS, including its mission, vision, and values;
    • A “personal” message from agency leadership that explains the agency's values, beliefs and expectations (for example, quarterly meetings via video/teleconference with the Administrator and all new Agency employees);
    • An overview of sub-agency and management units with linkage to the agency goals;
    • Departmental initiatives and agency strategic plans and management initiatives;
    • Information on general business practices and agency policies on issues such as time and attendance, telework, procurement, and travel;
    • Resources on employee responsibilities and conduct; and
    • The Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP) and related protocols that are supplemented with information specific to a work unit or location. (Completion Date: March 31, 2011)
  • Create resource compact discs for agency and program policies, directives, contacts, and directories. (Completion Date: June 30, 2011 and ongoing);
  • Develop and implement a communications element appropriate for all employees including one specific for supervisors and managers that addresses oral and written communications, as well as communications with fellow employees and with external partners, customers, and stakeholders. (Completion Date: September 30, 2011 for inclusion in 2012 performance standards);
  • Establish an agency-wide communications award that recognizes effective, creative, and innovative methods used to foster and enhance communication within the agency. (Completion Date: September 30, 2011); and
  • Identify and provide training to improve oral and written communications and conflict management skills; for example, Crucial Conversations, Coaching Clinics. (Completion Date: March 31, 2011).

Career Management

Career management is a lifelong process of investing resources to achieve career goals as an employee contributes to the successful achievement of the agency's mission. Career management is not a singular event but a continuing process that is based upon the concepts of lifelong learning and sound relationship management. While each APHIS employee is at the center of his or her own career, it is an important supervisory and agency responsibility to value and invest in employees' experiences while serving the agency mission.

Lifelong learning and relationship management form the backdrop of successful career management. A career vision should be broad enough to be flexible, but specific enough to be actionable. It should be built on a profile of unique traits poised to develop a satisfying career that is adaptable to a variety of work environments. To maintain adaptability and employability, establishing annual learning goals and nurturing business relationships are key.

As an employee's career progresses, the frequency of reconnecting with former professional contacts and co-workers increases. Keeping connected and knowing how to build and maintain good relationships are more important than ever before. The lessons others have gained and share each become a developmental rung on the career ladder. How we interact, respond and connect in all our relationships will impact our present performance and future opportunities. Very little is accomplished in isolation - statistics indicate that networking uncovers more than 70% of current career opportunities.

APHIS employees expressed concerns over career development and advancements opportunities. More specifically, as budgetary constraints increase, promotional and career development opportunities tend to decrease. Workloads become heavier and fewer supervisors promote the APHIS Leadership Roadmap. Too much emphasis is placed on program performance and not enough on employee performance. Employees also expressed concerns about a lack of understanding of selection criteria and the weighting of KSAs in the selection process.

Individual career development and management is the pathway to achieving the agency's mission and goals. While career ownership and management is each employee's individual responsibility, at the core of any Cultural Transformation is the supervisor's and manager's responsibility to create a work environment where opportunity, feedback, and individual growth are available in a manner that is fair, equitable, consistent, and transparent. To ensure this equality and transparency, APHIS will:

  • Develop a Leadership “Brown Bag Lunch” Program that invites outstanding leaders from USDA, other Federal, Military, and private sector sources to discuss successful management styles and techniques. (Completion Date: March 31, 2011)
  • Expand opportunities for cross-program developmental temporary assignments:
  • Establish a team comprised of APHIS employees from all levels to develop a program of cross-program developmental assignments;
  • Utilize position vacancies as an opportunity to rotate employees through the position. The assignment system should be transparent and accessible to all; and
  • Provide opportunities for both supervisors and employees to temporarily work for a variety of supervisors in a variety of programs. Such assignments should be of adequate duration to allow observation and interaction with the temporary supervisor. (Completion Date: March 31, 2011)
  • Optimize mentoring by enhancing the current program to:
  • Include all new incoming APHIS employees in the Mentoring Program. New employees will have a mentor to address program-specific and APHIS-wide issues such as policies, culture, procedures, personnel, and organization;
  • Establish mentoring as a Collateral Duty Assignment for 2% of APHIS employees, enabling them to spend up to 20% of their time on mentoring;
  • Encourage current employees to participate in the Mentoring Program;
  • Allow and encourage use of mentors from outside of APHIS, both elsewhere in the government and in the private/organizational/state/local government sectors;
  • Utilize Leader of the Year Award winners as mentors for new supervisors; and
  • Allow and encourage use of different mentors as a career develops. (Completion Date: June 30, 2011)
  • Improve the Individual Development Plans (IDP)/Learning Contract (LC) process:
  • Include the core themes of generational differences, crucial communications, emotional intelligence, situational awareness, and coaching/mentoring in current employees' AgLearn learning plans for completion within 2 years. (Completion Date: March 31, 2011. Include these core themes in the IDP/LCs of all new APHIS employees for completion within the first 2 years of their employment. (Completion Date: March 31, 2011);
  • Increase marketing of Leadership Competencies by developing seminars (at Raleigh, Ft. Collins, Riverdale) and webinars related to specific competencies. Utilize a combination of instructional material and personal success stories - current APHIS personnel and guest speakers that discuss their experiences in “mastering” specific competencies. Such a combination would not only personalize the competencies but broaden employees' understanding of how to focus development on specific competencies where they see a deficient. (Completion Date: June 30, 2011 and ongoing);
  • Utilize assessment tools such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and
    360 Degree Assessments in the development of IDP/LCs. Make MBTI available to all APHIS personnel and 360 Degree Assessments available to all supervisors and others, upon their request. (Completion Date: September 30, 2011); and
  • Optimize use of the APHIS Leadership Roadmap. Require (via inclusion in supervisory performance elements) APHIS supervisors to share and discuss the Road Map with personnel during development of IDP/LCs. (Completion Date: September 30, 2011).
  • Optimize the use of the Human Resources Division's (HRD) resources by APHIS personnel. The resources and opportunities managed by HRD are largely unknown by APHIS personnel. The recent HRD reorganization that developed offices/resources related to workplace resolutions and wellness, talent acquisition and retention, executive support leadership services, training and development are directly related to career management for all APHIS personnel.
  • Highlight HRD resources in an Administrator's Blog (Completion Date: January 31, 2011);
  • Develop a process to better market HRD resources to every APHIS employee. (Completion Date: March 31, 2011); and
  • Increase HRD personnel involvement in Programs' meetings and conference calls. (Completion Date: March 31, 2011).

Incentives and Employee Recognition

Incentives and employee recognition are effective resources for hiring and retaining talented individuals and a means for acknowledging their contributions to the agency's mission. Acknowledging contributions and good performance takes many forms, from providing a sincere “Thank You!” for a specific job well done to establishing a formal cash incentive and recognition awards program. APHIS employees expressed a desire for greater acknowledgement of their work and a more transparent awards process. As such, APHIS will:

  • Establish a team comprised of APHIS employees at all levels to review the awards directive to ensure that it addresses the issues regarding transparency of the awards process and public recognition needs:
  • Form award committees in each program (perhaps have sub-groups for headquarters, regions, field) to help ensure more consistency and equity in the issuance of awards;
  • Nominate employees throughout the fiscal year for spot awards, extra-effort awards, and non-monetary awards;
  • Establish guidance to allow peer-to-peer nomination;
  • Administer timely recognition of the individual's or group's efforts;
  • Restrict nominations to special achievements and projects that have been completed and have had positive results;
  • When possible, employees should be given a choice of the type of recognition to be received (e.g. time-off award, spot award, etc); and
  • Issue lump sum performance awards and quality step increases should be reserved until the end of the performance period. (Completion Date: June 30, 2011)
  • Establish an appreciation corner on the portal that recognizes employees for their various contributions. (Completion Date: June 30, 2011)
  • Periodically distribute the award selection process and criteria to all APHIS employees. (Completion Date: June 30, 2011 and ongoing)

Resources -

APHIS' commitment of resources begins with the Administrator, the AMT, and its Senior Leaders and ends with each APHIS employee. The Administrator appointed the Deputy Administrator of MRP Business Services (BS) as the Executive Sponsor for the APHIS Cultural Transformation process which includes overall responsibility for both the development and implementation of the APHIS Action Plan. The Deputy Administrator MRPBS will work closely with the Deputy Administrators of Legislative and Public Affairs and Program and Policy Development as each will play a valuable leadership role in the Action Plan implementation, most notably in the Communications and Stakeholder Engagement initiatives. The Deputy Administrator MRPBS will also collaborate with each of the APHIS program Deputy Administrators as they implement the Action Plan throughout their headquarters and field staffs.

The Deputy Administrator, MRPBS, with direct input from each program Deputy Administrator, assembled an agency-wide team to assist in this effort. This diverse team of middle and upper management officials developed the Action Plan with input from their programs' employees at all levels throughout the organization. This team will also assist the Deputy Administrator, MRPBS, in the implementation of the Action Plan to ensure it stays on course and meets scheduled milestones.

The Deputy Administrator, MRPBS, has also assembled a team of talent management and training experts to develop a plan to train all APHIS employees in Cultural Transformation. The team, itself, will be trained through the Wharton Executive Education Program and utilize the knowledge received to design, implement, and lead the APHIS Cultural Transformation training initiative.

While our senior leaders are responsible for leading change and achieving cultural transformation, it is each employee's responsibility to embrace cultural transformation and help lead the charge. Each APHIS employee plays a major role in creating an inclusive and highly performing organization and each can make a significant contribution towards its success.

Measurements of Success -

Successful Cultural Transformation results in an inclusive workplace environment with equity of opportunity and systems of accountability so that employees can achieve high standards of performance and customer service and an unparalleled commitment to diversity and civil rights. Measurement of that success can and should be based upon the very same precepts that led to the determination of a need for Cultural Transformation. To do otherwise would skew results and potentially lead to less effective efforts in the future.

The APHIS Action Plan was based upon information learned from the Administrator's Town Hall meetings and the MRP Management Review. The MRP Management Review encompassed the results of employee focus sessions, the Employee Viewpoint Survey, and workforce data analysis. APHIS utilized the information garnered from these inputs to develop its Cultural Transformation Action Plan and will utilized these same inputs as the baseline measures for our success.

Upon completion of the action items contained in the plan, APHIS will again conduct the Administrator's Town Hall meetings in the same locations as those held in October of 2009 - Raleigh, North Carolina; Fort Collins, Colorado; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Ames, Iowa; and Riverdale, Maryland. Issues and concerns raised by employees will be chronicled and measured against those previously raised. During the 2009 meetings, employee concerns focused on two primary issues - the increasing time required for administrative processes and the need for improved communication. More specifically, employees focused on the administrative processes associated with travel approvals, travel authorizations and vouchering, time and attendance, ACMS, and the ULO report. They also indicated that they often felt that they were without a voice and it was difficult for them to communicate up the chain of command. Therefore, the Town Hall meetings will focus on revisiting these issues as well as any new issues employees want to raise. The new issues will serve as the baseline for future action items.

APHIS will also conduct a new Management Review that will include an analysis of updated workforce data using the same data sets studied in the 2010 review. The resulting information will be compared to the baseline results established during the 2010 review to determine success. The new Management Review will also include an updated Employee Viewpoint Survey that focuses on the same questions utilized to develop the Action Plan - those where APHIS fell below the Federal government average. Increased percentages where APHIS nears or exceeds the government-wide average will be evidence of success.

Cultural Transformation - The APHIS Roadmap for Success

Since the first explorers settled in our country, our culture has been undergoing a continual transformation as new and diverse people make our Nation their home. How well we serve our customers, their level of satisfaction, and the results produced by our delivery processes is directly related to how well our organization is a representation of those we serve and how well we understand the vast array of cultural differences they represent. This Action Plan sets forth how APHIS will create an environment that is responsive to the demographic and cultural changes occurring in our Nation and in our workforce. It is the APHIS Roadmap for Success.

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