Update on Cultural Transformation activities that support the Cultural Transformation Action Plan

1. Purchasing of Cultural Transformation Tangible Items
OCRDI Cultural Transformation Survival Kits that includes a few items and a few bullet points of how to maintain/survive a cultural transformation.
Purchasing of tangible items, like magnets, bookmarks, pens or small memo pads that have “Cultural Transformation - A Roadmap for Success” written on them, for distribution to all employees. It promotes, motivates, connects us all, and serves as a constant reminder of culture of transformation.

2. OCRDI responses to the following two questions - See Attachment A&B:
1.What do you want to get out of Cultural Transformation?
2.What opportunities do you see?

3 . Updates on the six specific areas of the CT Action Plan

Leadership Development
Measurable Goal 5: 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.

OCRDI uses the new Micro-soft Outlook system to send out e-mail civil rights updates to all agency headquarters and field staff. ATAC is also used to distribute information, for example, the first paragraph of the APHIS Anti-Harassment Statement was revised to link/tie into Cultural Transformation (see attachment) and the statement will be disseminated through ATAC to all employees.

Civil Rights information is regularly distributed to all employees via email messages. OCRDI published several Civil Rights Updates and special editions. Simultaneously, OCRDI provided information to employees through the Civil Rights Conversation database which is a central location on the Agency e-mail system where employees can read information and immediately post questions or comments and civil rights experts may post responses. OCRDI has also posted a wealth of information on the intranet and internet.

Staff members' performance elements/standards are aligned with organizational goals. Mid and end of year performance reviews are conducted within the required timeframes and staff members are provided written feedback on the quality of their performance.

Employee Development
Measurable Goal 4: Share successful management styles and techniques with future leaders.

OCRDI staff members serve on the Agency's Cultural Transformation Implementation Team. Staff members are kept informed of Cultural Transformation activities.

Individual development plans are aligned with organizational goals and used to track the progress and completion of identified training including details and developmental assignments.

Staff members recommend using the APHIS SES candidates to share their ‘teachable moment' situations during the Leadership “Brown Bag Lunch” Program. Also recommend that the Employee Relations Branch Chief share insight and more effective/desirable management approaches (via teleconference or even Microsoft Outlook e-mail) with agency leaders in areas where there are a recurrence of problems . For example, Leave Restriction Letters issued improperly or Letters of Reprimand,etc.

Talent Management
Measurable Goal 1: Optimize a results-oriented performance culture.

OCRDI staff members serve as active members of the Agency's Talent Management and Leadership
Development Board and the Awards and Recognition Workgroup. OCRDI thoughts on the awards and recognitions process were shared with the workgroup.

Deserving staff members and external customers are rewarded as appropriate; awards include spot awards, special act awards and time-off awards. Staff members are given a choice of either cash awards or time off awards.

Communication Plan
Measurable Goal 1: Increase employee knowledge of the Cultural Transformation initiative.

To increase communication and employee knowledge of the Cultural Transformation initiative, regularly scheduled team meetings and quarterly staff meetings are held to discuss Cultural Transformation milestones and priorities which have resulted in a well informed work unit.

All OCRDI staff members are required to complete Cultural Transformation training by September 30, 2011.
To improve customer service to managers and supervisors OCRDI developed a “One Stop EEO Shop” to assist managers in managing their EEO program on-line. The focus is to have all major reports, analysis, and special correspondence housed in one location so that management officials can have prompt access to their EEO data.

OCRDI uses video conferencing as a means of communication with program areas nation-wide. Meetings have included EEO Advisory Committee Updates, Special Programs and Initiatives, and Special Webinar Training Events.

The OCRDI Management Team support programs that improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion. All OCRDI staff members are eligible participate in the Work-At-Home Program and are participating in the Transit Subsidy Program.

Question #1. What do you want to get out of Cultural Transformation?
OCRDI Responses :
---Cultural Transformation needs to be more than a slogan.
--- Culture transformation has to be more than documents; it has to be a living testimony...the DNA that drives us to act.
------A truly transformed USDA culture where lessons have been learned from teachable moments (the Shirley Sherrod fiasco, and spending of $8 million of tax payer money on a diversity study).
--- --- I sincerely hope this is in fact the dawn of a new day; a new and better APHIS. I anticipate seeing a new APHIS where tolerance and inclusion is no longer a worn out coverings, but core concepts.
--- CT has given all employees the opportunity to speak and that managers have responded with a plan to address what they have heard.
---Deliberate role-modeling, teaching, coaching and leaders “walking their talk”.
---An infrastructure that supports the vision of a culture transformed;
---A change in APHIS and maybe an opportunity.
---I believe we are doing better at communication and filtering down information; would like to see continued progress in the area of communication and better use of today's technology.
---I would like to see more detail opportunities for employees in various areas outside of the normal scope of their normal duties and more cross-training from upper managers.
---I'd like to see APHIS emerge as a Model EEO Program; a place free from discrimination and bias at all levels.
--- I'd also like to see equality in opportunities for advancement and training; open recognition and reward for those who are deserving and accountability and assistance for those who are lacking.
---A better understanding of what it is and how it applies to all employees.
---My hope is that we keep the momentum going and see where it takes us as an Agency.
---Too early to assess.

Question #2. What opportunities do you see?
OCRDI Responses :
--- I believe this initiative brings consciousness; it takes a conscious effort from every individual to create a working environment that is welcoming to all people. If everyone gets on board and this caliber of training continues, this will not only prove to be a workplace changing initiative, but a life changing initiative as well.
---There is a litany of opportunities in CT, but as with any change (or opportunity) - it doesn't happen overnight...its slow...its measured, and it takes time and discipline, but opportunities will materialize and become ubiquitous. Opportunities might include:
*Unleashed potential/elevated performance
*Kindling employee creativity and productivity
*Improving employee retention and recruitment
*Coagulating working relationships
*Creating a unified workforce
*Institutionalizing transformed culture
*Bringing aliveness to the Department!

---Not many. The reality of these economic times is that there are few opportunities. Most staffs are bare bones and probably would not allow an employee to do a 6 month detail, due to insufficient human resources.
---If CT works as stated/planned my hope is that there be opportunity for growth and advancement, cross training (including details) and retooling to learn new skill sets.
---A greater chance of reaching diversity goals if they are incorporated into the performance standards of all supervisors and managers who have hiring authority.
---I see opportunity for positive changes that can boost employee morale and agency image.
--- I would like to see more detail opportunities for employees in various areas outside of the normal scope of their normal duties and more cross-training from upper managers.
---Too early to assess.

APHIS logo

USDA logoAnimal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Anti-Harassment Policy Statement

APHIS is committed to preventing and eliminating all types of workplace harassment based upon race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, reprisal, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital, parental or familial status, protected genetic information, or receipt of public assistance. USDA's Cultural Transformation initiative is a call to action to transform our policy into practice as we create a workplace where all employees are treated with dignity and respect. Creating this inclusive workplace culture is the responsibility of each and every APHIS employee. Any actions that are contrary to the mission, vision, and shared values of the Agency are unacceptable.

Bullying or harassment may occur as distinct incidents or can be comprised of multiple events over a period of time that establishes a pattern and creates a hostile work environment. Harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct (whether verbal, physical, psychological, or visual) that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion towards an individual based on that individual's protected status. Offensive conduct includes-but is not limited to-slurs, epithets, name-calling, physical assault, threats, intimidation, insults, written or verbal comments, or graphic materials that are offensive to or show hostility toward an individual or group. Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Harassment (sexual or nonsexual) violates the law where such conduct is a condition of a person's job, is used for employment decisions, creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment, or interferes with the performance of an employee's duties. Even short of that standard, at APHIS, harassment in any form is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

I strongly encourage employees who experience harassment to report the matter as soon as possible. I assure you that employees who bring complaints of harassment or provide information related to such complaints will be protected from retaliation. Employees seeking relief from harassment based on a protected status must contact the Civil Rights Enforcement and Compliance Alternative Dispute Resolution Center (1-800-342-7231) within 45 calendar days of an alleged incident. All other allegations of harassment should be reported to supervisors, managers, or the Workplace Violence Prevention and Response Hotline (1-866-234-3174). Let me further assure you that, to the extent possible, APHIS will protect the confidentially of harassment complaints. Section 301 of the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (the No Fear Act) requires each Federal agency to post summary statistical data pertaining to complaints of employment discrimination filed against it by employees, former employees, and applicants for employment under 29 C.F.R. Part 1614. To view that data please visit the No Fear Act website at www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/nofear.

APHIS is committed to taking immediate action upon learning of possible harassment, even if the involved individual does not pursue a complaint. We will take all necessary steps to ensure that the matter is promptly and impartially investigated and addressed before the situation becomes severe or pervasive. I also expect APHIS management officials to be fully aware of the Agency's responsibilities as specified in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's enforcement guidance documents (posted at www.eeoc.gov). In view of our equal employment opportunity obligations and our commitment to Cultural Transformation, APHIS managers should act proactively to prevent harassment and take immediate and appropriate corrective actions when problems occur to prevent further issues.

This policy statement must be posted and disseminated to all employees. This policy statement is also posted on the OCRDI website at www.aphis.usda.gov/civil_rights.

Gregory L. Parham

Federal Relay Service

Description: APHIS_bw

Safeguarding American Agriculture
APHIS is an agency of USDA's Marketing and Regulatory Program

An Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer

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