CASE STUDY

U.S. Department of Justice - Community Relations Service (CRS)

October 2017 – December 2019 

BACKGROUND

The U.S. DOJ Community Relations Service (CRS) serves as “America’s Peacemaker” for communities facing conflict based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. Over the recent years, CRS has seen a reduction in workforce while maintaining their level of service, in order to achieve their mission, across the country. CRS was seeking consultative support services including to assist in with managing day-to-day operations and special projects 

APPROACH

SCB was subcontracted to lead the Strategic Planning workstream (“SP workstream”) of the overall CRS Support Services engagement.  SCB’s approach was to work with SP workstream team to first identify the immediate needs of the organization—those that had imminent deadlines as well as low-hanging fruit that could make an immediate impact on the organization. Within three months, the SP workstream team: 

  • Prepared the organization’s Annual Strategic Plan to the Attorney General 
  • Began Business Process Reengineering focus groups to re-write the organizations Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual of more than 100 SOPs. This was identified as essential to employee engagement to ensure consistency in the management of staff and operations.   
  • Launched the organization’s first-ever analysis of their Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVs) results. This included focus groups to identify root causes of results, and staff and leader recommendations for improvements. 
  • Launched bi-monthly Employee Council meetings—prepared agendas and meeting notes, assisted Director in rolling key initiatives, and partnered with Council members to ensure action items were complete. 

RESULTS

Throughout the two-year engagement, SCB developed a clear understanding of the organization’s goals and the need for consultative and implementation support. SCB continually expanded the SP workstream team’s role and deliverables to support the client’s ongoing needs:  

 

Strategic Planning 

 
  • Performance Measures: Identified SMART goals and KPIs for each initiative to ensure measurable results. 

 

  • Implementation Management: Implemented numerous Strategic Plan initiatives aimed at supporting the reduced staff and their competing casework priorities. The initiatives helped to ensure the success of the Strategic Plan. SCB partnered with internal CRS resources for independently management projects—large and small (e.g., Knowledge Transfer Plan (cross-country video project) to capture historical knowledge, at some of the agency’s most historic civil rights landmarks (from the MLK Center in Atlanta, Georgia to the State Capitol in Sacramento, California) before key leader impending retirements, new transparent Annual Award Process). 

 

  • Annual Regional Assessment and Priorities (RAPs): The RAP process is utilized to identify the resources that are required across the country for the new fiscal year. SCB led the team to streamline and automate a timely RAP annual process to identify the Regional Casework priorities for all 50 states which includes more than 30 survey questions for each state; analyze results to identify national trends; and measure and report quarterly results utilizing Tableau robust software.  
 
  • Management Reporting: Developed a quarterly reporting process to measure and report goals, as well as identify solutions to potential barriers to achieving the plan; presented results to staff, and prepared Attorney General executive summary report. 

 

Employee Engagement 

 

  • SOP Manual: it was determined by the organization that having updated, consistent policies and procedures would set a good foundation for employee engagement. SCB led the reissuance of the full SOP manual including facilitated Business Process Reengineering focus groups; drafted and validated SOPs; and launched the SharePoint site to serve as a central repository; held training sessions for staff as each SOP category (Finance, Human Resources, Case Management, Legal, etc.) was rolled out to introduce the updated procedures. 

 

  • Annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS): implemented a systematic process of analysis, focus group feedback, action planning, and quarterly results reporting. The SCB Project Manager served as the organization’s DOJ representative for agency-wide FEVS forums, including offering new best practices that SP workstream had successfully implemented for CRS.  

 

  • Annual Awards: implemented a new process to ensure transparency in the award nomination and selection process. The process included collaboration with staff and leaders to identify past challenges and new opportunities, development of streamlined nomination form, selection of nomination committees, and standardized nomination committee processes. Additionally, SCB supported Division Directors by writing award speeches and coordinating award ceremony processes. 

 

 

SCB’s Project Management approach was to ensure consultative staff were trained prior to starting their assignments. Training ensured an understanding of the organization, clarity on performance goals, service level objectives, and appropriate communications with the government.  Weekly team meetings were used to review the prior week’s accomplishments, schedule milestones, check the status of open risks, and develop solutions for new risks.  Bi-weekly one-on-one meetings were used to address individual development, employee, government, or management concerns, and performance.  Weekly check-ins and quarterly Contract Performance Briefings provided an early warning system to the Program and DOJ officials to promptly resolve concerns or solution pending changes. 

As a result of the work of the SP workstream team, CRS consistently met their strategic plan goals and implemented numerous sustainable processes that allow for efficiency, effectiveness and compliance throughout the organization that improved People, Processes and Technology.