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Five state teams receive Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — State leaders recognized the accomplishments of workers that set an example of quality and productivity within Missouri’s government.

On Tuesday morning, Gov. Mike Parson and the Office of Administration recognized five state teams with the 2018 Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity (GAQP). The award is geared to acknowledge accomplishments that serve as an example of continuous improvement, quality, efficiency and productivity in Missouri state government.

“These teams are great examples of what our State of Missouri public servants can do,” Parson said. “They all decided the status quo was not acceptable. And, they changed the way work gets done. We need a lot more change like this. This is how we will serve our citizens better.”

Since 1988, the award program has recognized service excellence, encouraged and rewarded innovation, and reinforced pride in service to Missouri state government. The GAQP program is administered by the Missouri Division of Personnel’s Center for Management and Professional Development.

All winning nominations were required to meet criteria related to effectiveness, responsiveness and efficiency that would serve as a model of excellence for other work teams in state government.

This year’s GAQP recipients include:

Truck Mounted Attenuator (TMA) Flagger Team: Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) for designing and creating an automated flagger that has made traffic control safer, more efficient, and more effective for MoDOT employees and drivers. After two individuals were struck and killed by motorists while on duty flagging traffic in a period of less than six months, a small but extraordinarily dedicated team began developing a concept that evolved into the TMA Flagger. Since November 2016, the TMA flaggers have improved worker safety by replacing flaggers on Missouri roadways who are typically located near traffic approaching a work zone. The flaggers used easily-recognizable signage for all drivers, and continued to operate in harsh weather conditions that required MoDOT flaggers to postpone work or to move along traffic with frequent interruptions.

Missouri Division of Employment Security (DES) Unemployment Insurance Claims Intake Cross-Training Initiative: Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations for identifying a way to better handle the influx of unemployment insurance claims in the winter when seasonal layoffs occur. In the past, nearly 25 percent of an entire year’s initial Unemployment Insurance (UI) workload is filed in December and January. DES leadership created a vision to handle the spike in initial UI claims. An agency-wide workforce development initiative was executed and a cross-divisional team was assembled for intensive initial claims intake cross-training for rapid staff augmentation. Compared to a five-week period in December and January 2018 to the same period the prior year, calls answered increased 29 percent, average wait time decreased 41 percent, and the total number of unanswered calls decreased 72 percent.

St. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center (SLPRC) Nursing Recruitment and Retention Turnaround Team: Missouri Department of Mental Health for reducing the turnover and vacancy rates of psychiatric technicians, licensed professional nurses, and behavioral health registered nurses, which are mental health positions critical to the facility, department, and patients. The SLPRC has been challenged with high turnover among its nursing ranks and other professionals, with the highest turnover among the three aforementioned positions. In response, the team implemented numerous changes, including: adopting a private sector schedule for RNs and LPNs; using robust process improvement to reduce costs, errors, and inefficient processes; committing to Trauma Informed Care, which recognizes pervasive chronic stress and trauma exposure in behavioral health settings; and enhancing staff satisfaction for direct care staff. The changes led to dramatic deceases in turnover and vacancy rates as well as transforming the hospital’s organizational culture and safety for both staff and patients.

Road to 100% Team: Missouri Department of Revenue for tripling the number of calls answered at its Taxpayer Assistance Call Center during peak tax season from February to April. The call center was answering an average of 29 percent to 33 percent of calls during these months in Fiscal Year 2017, and call overflows impacted the calls answered by the Motor Vehicle and Driver Licensing Division. With support from all levels, the department and call center established a new goal to answer 100 percent of incoming calls. To tackle the issue, the Road to 100% Team created analytical tools that provided critical information on call center performance and used the data to improve performance, motivate call center employees to increase their performance, and reduce the number of incoming calls. In Fiscal Year 2018, 81 percent to 89 percent of calls were answered February to April. As the Road to 100% initiative ramped up, the Department’s Driver License Call Center followed suit and reached 100 percent of calls answered multiple times for the first time in recent history.

Discover Nature Schools (DNS) Team: Missouri Department of Conservation for developing an educational program based on Missouri specific science curricula that met strict state and national standards that was also embraced by educators and ultimately students across Missouri. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) for decades produced educational resources widely embraced by educators and enjoyed by students across Missouri, but its educational products (magazines, posters, publications, CDs and books) were often utilized as supplemental materials by educators. As educational standards have become increasingly rigorous, the margin for supplemental/discretionary educational materials used by educators has narrowed. MDC developed the Discover Nature Schools (DNS) program for Pre-K through 12th grade. DNS is a Missouri specific science curricular approach/educational framework that meets Missouri learning standards, national science standards, the needs of teachers, and the needs of students regardless of educational level or ability. As a result, Missouri has become the first state to create such a comprehensive nature based education curricula. DNS was created utilizing groundbreaking partnerships with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and national teacher’s organizations.