Enhancing Productivity- Leadership and Management Objectives
In FY 2011, sound planning and execution for the strategic use of resources to achieve CVM’s mission resulted in several notable accomplishments. In most instances, these accomplishments, described below, were spearheaded by the Office of Management, but they are generally applicable across the Center. The accomplishments also relate to the enhancement of employee satisfaction and productivity.
Advancing strategic direction of and increasing accountability for the Animal Drugs and Feed Program. The challenge was to develop and implement an operational planning process to increase accountability, efficiency, and fiscal responsibility of CVM resources, including dollars and staff members. The response was the successful development of a FY 2011 operational plan to serve as a guide for the strategic execution of FY 2011 CVM office budgets. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to focus attention on CVM’s high priority goals that are both effective and efficient in support of the Center’s and agency’s public health priorities. The operational plans for succeeding years will ensure that CVM starts each fiscal year with actionable and measureable targets against which we may later measure performance and make improvements for future years, as necessary.
The Office of Management directed the development of cost modules on the resource needs to implement two key programs in CVM: the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) pilot program, and the Import Tolerance program. The modules ensure that CVM can plan adequately for the internal and external resources needed to manage both programs appropriately. The project delivered a tool used for planning purposes and performance tracking, and identifies anticipated future resource gaps.
Identifying the key components/steps necessary to support the renegotiation progress for two of our user fee programs: Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA) and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Act (AGDUFA). The Animal Drug User Fee Amendments of 2008 amended ADUFA and extended its authorization for an additional 5 years, through 2013. The first generic animal drug user fee program was authorized for 5 years (2009 – 2013) with the passage of the Animal Generic Drug User Fee Act of 2008. The goal for both of these user fee programs is to better serve animal and public health by providing additional funds to augment FDA resources devoted to the process for review of pioneer and generic animal drug applications. During FY 2011, the Office of Management led development of a project plan to identify the key components and the corresponding timeline in preparation for the upcoming ADUFA and AGDUFA renegotiations. The user fee programs provide CVM with a sound financial footing for the evaluation of new animal drugs.
The challenge was to identify a framework for connecting Foods Program resources to public health outcomes. In response, the Office of Management led development of a Foods Activity Framework for CVM that depicts the purpose and types of work performed and services delivered. The initiative led to enhanced operational effectiveness through the development of an evidenced-based methodology that reveals reliable and verifiable estimates of the resources needed to fulfill FDA’s responsibilities regarding this program. It allows the agency to more accurately articulate and defend the resources needed to protect and promote the public health at a level of assurance that the American public expects.
20% Time. The challenge was to increase the development of creative and innovative ideas throughout the Office of Management. In response, the Office of Management Director led and encouraged the development of a framework for “20% Time.” 20% Time is a program that enables employees to spend 20 percent of their week working on whatever projects they desire, as long as they are not associated with their regular work. There are two requirements: a) employees must share their creations with others, and b) the projects must benefit the organization. Giving employees autonomy over some portion of their time at work has the potential of leading to implementation of ideas that they are truly passionate about. The program was piloted within the Office of Management’s Human Capital Management Staff. The pilot was so successful that the program was implemented for all Office of Management employees.
The implementation of the 20% Time has led to a number of process revisions and original projects that have significantly aided in the effectiveness and efficiency of the office as a whole. For example, the program has spurred the development of a quarterly Office of Management newsletter, an electronic library of articles on human capital topics, an employee guide to understanding the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program, and a project that identified payroll errors.
Leadership Belongs to Everyone. The challenge was to create an environment where leadership belongs to everyone. In response, the Office of Management initiated monthly “Teachable Moments” sessions with all Office of Management employees. Each session focused on one mainstream leader and the primary tenets of his/her leadership philosophy. Each Teachable Moment session’s theme was applied to CVM in terms of how Office of Management employees can further develop and flex their leadership skills.
The Teachable Moments sessions have become a staple in the Office of Management and continue to garner a great deal of interest in leadership styles and development. These sessions, supplemented by additional readings authored by the leader highlighted in each Teachable Moment, have helped to foster an Office of Management workforce that is more in tune with how individuals can demonstrate their leadership skills daily, regardless of their position or rank in the organization.
New Employee Orientation. Our philosophy is that all new employees should complete a new employee orientation program that is designed to assist them in adjusting to their jobs and work environment and to infuse a positive work attitude and motivation at the onset. The new employee orientation was implemented in FY 2010 as an integral component of CVM’s Onboarding Program to ensure that new employees feel welcomed, highly valued, and prepared for their new roles. The new employee orientation was revamped by the Office of Management during FY 2011. The new employee orientation has historically been offered to all new hires; however, due to concerns associated with the changes addressed below, not all new hires attended the course.
The revised new employee orientation contains the following changes from previous formats of the session:
- Timing – To ensure that employee engagement and openness to the information shared during the new employee orientation is at its height, the Center now offers the session every two weeks, on the Wednesday following a new employee’s entrance on duty.
- Content – While the traditional new employee orientation included a great deal of information on CVM processes, procedures, and programs, the revised version concentrates only on those big picture aspects of the Center that are essential to new employees’ understanding of how their new job helps to attain the mission of CVM. Additionally, to keep employees as engaged as possible, this information is shared in a more informal, roundtable discussion format, transforming the new employee orientation into a two-way conversation as opposed to a lecture.
The Office of Management’s main objective in revising the Center’s new employee orientation was to afford new employees the understanding that every individual within CVM plays an equal and fundamental role in the organization’s success. Instilling this sense of community and purpose – that “we are CVM” – is the most significant aspect of the revamped orientation and has made new employees feel embraced, comfortable, and secure.
The Center also uses an enhanced Employee Exit Program to help ensure a connected, committed workforce. Under the Exit Program, all departing employees are sent an electronic exit survey before they leave. The survey is used to glean data that could be used to inform recruitment, retention, and engagement initiatives. The Employee Exit Program was introduced in 2010.
During FY 2011, the Office of Management implemented, as an offshoot of the Employee Exit Program, the Off-boarding Program. It is an initiative that seeks to recognize exiting employees in a way that is as personalized as possible. Under the Employee Off-boarding Program, each exiting employee receives a custom letter from the Center Director and – if the employee has sufficient tenure or is retiring – an FDA certificate signed by Commissioner Hamburg and a Career Service Award plaque. The plaque carries a citation inscribed on it that was developed by the exiting employee’s team members.
The purpose of the Off-boarding Program is to demonstrate to departing employees how much their hard work, dedication, and commitment have meant to the Center.
Education Committee. The CVM Education Committee, established in FY 2011, provides a forum for greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing among the Center offices about training needs, course design, course implementation, curriculum evaluation, and employee development. The committee members represent their offices and propose recommendations during monthly meetings to help CVM capitalize on current and future talent development opportunities. The committee serves as a vehicle to connect representatives from each CVM office in an interactive process.
Members discuss Center-wide and office-specific learning and development needs and work with the Talent Development Staff to fine-tune and tailor learning objectives, training design, development activities, and evaluations. The committee members propose topics, brainstorm solutions to learning and development challenges, and discuss successful methods of marketing learning and development opportunities.
Additionally, the committee serves as a communication vehicle within CVM to promote educational projects and opportunities.
In its 3 months of meetings, the committee participated in the development and marketing of 19 educational projects. The committee enhanced
access to learning opportunities; planned, scheduled and delivered information sharing sessions; leveraged internal CVM experts; collaborated to bring in agency subject matter experts; increased the focus on regulatory training; and connected training developers with the subject matter experts that enhance our regulatory curriculum.
The work of the committee has led to stronger ties among the CVM disciplines and advocates for the Center’s training programs, as well as increased employee awareness of learning and development across offices and the Center.