Management and Water Environment Federation Essay

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Words: 5215
Pages: 21

WEF/AWWA Joint Management 2006
The Name of the Game is Sustain!

IMPLEMENTATION OF AN ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
TO CREATE A LEARNING ORGANIZATION
David Waltrip, Director of Treatment, Hampton Roads Sanitation District
John Maniscalco, Director of Finance and Administration, Hampton Roads Sanitation District
Charlyne Meinhard, Center for Organizational Effectiveness
Alison Anderson, Center for Organizational Effectiveness
Primary Contact:
David Waltrip
Director of Treatment
Hampton Roads Sanitation District
PO Box 5911
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23471-0911 dwaltrip@hrsd.com ABSTRACT
Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) is a large regional wastewater utility with 694 employees that serve an area with a population of 1.6 million. HRSD initiated an organizational development program in 2003 to create a learning organization. The phased implementation of the program began in 2004 and will continue though 2006. The keys to establishing a learning environment to date have been eliminating internal fear of change, creating an effective 360o evaluation process and obtaining employee buy-in.
The Organizational Development Strategy was based upon the following principles:
• Learning is a managed process.
• Every employee is a learner.
• Every supervisor is a teacher (people developer, mentor, coach).
• Continuous learning is required.
• Advancement is voluntary.
Program initiatives include:
• Updating position descriptions to include job specific technical competencies complemented by a uniform leadership competency model.
• Using position descriptions and the leadership competency model to conduct individual assessments. • Using assessment feedback to assist in creating individual development plans that are written by the employee and approved by the supervisor.
• Developing a mentoring program to facilitate continuous learning for employees that want advancement opportunities.
• Establishing program measurements at the individual and organizational levels.

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Copyright 2006 Water Environment Federation. All Rights Reserved
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WEF/AWWA Joint Management 2006
The Name of the Game is Sustain!

Obstacles the team had to overcome to implement the program successfully include:
• Lack of trust within the organization.
• Fear that assessments would be used as a basis for compensation and promotion.
• A culture of minimal formal performance feedback.
• Past promotion history based heavily upon technical skills.
Successful implementation of the program was accomplished by:
• Utilizing as many employees as practical in developing the program to promote buy-in.
• Implementing the program initially with only the senior leadership so other employees could evaluate the impact without risk.
• Communicating extensively with all affected employees.
• Modifying the program based upon employee feedback.
KEYWORDS
Organizational development, 360o evaluations, mentoring, leadership competencies, succession planning. INTRODUCTION
Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) is a regional wastewater utility that serves nine cities, eight counties and several large military facilities in southeast Virginia. This 3,100 squaremile service area has a population of 1.6 million. The utility, which operates a system of nine major and four smaller treatment plants, transports and treats approximately 170 million gallons of wastewater per day. HRSD has a customer base of more than 468,000 accounts, and bills individual users directly for services. This public utility also provides laboratory and billing services to other jurisdictions.
HRSD, which has 694 employees, evaluated the demographics of its senior leadership in 2002.
The utility realized that 14 of its 20 senior executives were eligible for retirement within the next
5 years. The organization decided to develop a Succession Planning Program to ensure continuity of leadership. HRSD established a team of personnel in high-level leadership positions to develop this program in 2003. Consultants from the…