Pilot Programs Designed to Transform Talk into Action - Penn-Mar

Pilot Programs Designed to Transform Talk into Action

Posted on April 26, 2024

By Gregory T. Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer, Penn-Mar Human Services | Chief Executive Officer, Penn-Mar Foundation
CEO Greg Miller's headshot

Gregory Miller
President/CEO Penn-Mar Human Services

For the past 18 months, our Belonging Initiative has challenged us to dissect how the culture we envision and promote at Penn-Mar reflects the actual day-to-day experiences of our team members.

After extensive research and lots of interviews throughout the organization, three specific areas requiring a more intense focus rose to the surface. So for this Phase 3 stage of our initiative, we recently launched three Pilot Programs that will enable us to further address these areas of concern and improvement. They include:

  • Our Connection
  • Leadership Engagement
  • Consistent Practices

We have 64 team members from a cross-section of our organization participating in these Pilot Programs who will be working in sub-groups to give each area the attention it deserves.

If I could choose a single word that percolated up from the dialog during this initiative, it would be around the idea of “connections.” Specifically, how our team members are connected to each other and the larger part of the whole organization.

At Penn-Mar, each team member works in a specific area, a space where they have a certain level of comfort and camaraderie. But when you expand that circle, things have a tendency to break down a bit. Each is “doing their own thing” but they would like a way to interact with people here doing something different.

Facilitating Our Connection discussions will be Megan Murphy, with Jackie Stevens and Kathy Rogers serving as Leadership Sponsors. The goal of the dialog will be to work together to find ways to make this type of interaction possible, satisfying and an ongoing part of our culture and community.

I will lead the Leadership Engagement Pilot and have a two-fold approach in mind for our discussions. The first half of our sessions will involve listening, followed by a personal vision of how our culture needs to evolve to become even more inclusive and more dynamic.

My intent is to help our folks across all programs better understand this vision without getting bogged down by all the details. With that vision in place, Penn-Mar can become the place where people want to make their career.

Heading up the Consistent Practices discussions will be Paul Schiavone and Jen Skelly. Their group will attempt to ascertain if our people and being led consistently throughout the organization or does it depend on their supervisor or program?

This will be a great area where the team can roll up their sleeves to find ways to ensure that every team member is treated with dignity and respect and that all our leaders are curious about what they can learn from those around them and what they need to do to improve outcomes and morale.

It’s important to know that the Pilot Program Leaders are managing, not setting, the agenda and listening intently to what the group is saying.

Many of our challenges stem from the fact that we have multiple divisions and locations throughout the organization. But now is the time to figure out how we can connect to something bigger than where we work and what we do each day.  We need to create a process for it.

Much of what we learn through this initiative will find its way into our new Three-Year Strategic Plan. I can assure you, based on our new-found knowledge, that it will look fundamentally different than anything we have developed in the past. Expect to see very strong culture and information technology components included in the plan.

If we can get the day-to-day right for the people we support and our team members, we will be able to create more opportunities and innovative best practices.

It will impact everyone for the better when we do.

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