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8 Perspectives on Priorities and Next Steps This chapter includes materials from two closing panels from the September 2011 workshop and some comments from the sponsor. A multidisciplinary panel was tasked with summarizing the key points from the workshop. The summary panel included experts from different fields related to resilience: Brian Flynn, associate director of the Center for Studies of Traumatic Stress at Uniform Services University; Joseph Hurrell, editor of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology; Kevin Livingston, deputy associate director for the Washington Operations for the Federal Law Enforcement Center; and Bryan Vila, professor at the Sleep and Performance Research Center at the University of Washington, Spokane. The second panel included representatives from various Department of Homeland Security (DHS) component agencies. Representatives from the DHS components discussed resilience issues relevant to their specific component and resilience or resilience-supportive initiatives they are currently undertaking. The panelists were Sean Byrne, Transportation Safety Administration (TSA); Keith Hill, U.S. Secret Service (USSS); Mark Tedesco, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG); Shelia Clark, Federal Emer- gency Management Agency (FEMA); Linda Gray, Customs and Border Protection (CBP); and Laronna Bell, Immigration and Customs En- forcement (ICE). In each panel, speakers made individual remarks and then participat- ed in a panel discussion. The panel discussions were moderated by the planning committee chair James Peake. Throughout the two panel dis- cussions, speakers shared common concerns and issues (see Box 8-1). 167
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168 BUILDING A RESILIENT WORKFORCE BOX 8-1 Themes from Individual Speakers from the Panel Discussions Role of chronic fatigue and poor physical health on resilience Consequences of frequent deployment and relocation on stress and resilience Challenge of DHS workforce diversity for creating department- wide resilience programs Role of leadership in resilience interventions Role of evidence and performance measurement in developing and improving interventions Relationships among individual, family, organizational, and community resilience Effects of preventing occupational stressors on resilience efforts KEY COMMENTS FROM THE SEPTEMBER WORKSHOP Each panelist was asked to distill the key messages from the work- shop proceeding from their perspective. The panel was designed to draw upon the experiences and expertise from different fields related to resili- ence as well as the target populations—operational and law enforcement personnel. The individual presentations by Flynn, Hurrell, and Livingston’s are summarized below. Vila’s presentation concentrated on the role of sleep and fatigue on resilience, which he felt was missing from the work- shop discussions, and has been moved to Chapter 4, which focused on factors that influence resilience. All four of the summary panelists partic- ipated in a panelist discussion and addressed questions and comments from workshop participants. The Community Health and Resilience Perspective Brian Flynn focused his comments on those issues he considered key based upon the presentations and discussions. He suggested there were sev- eral keys points that arose from the workshop presentations and discussions: Resilience is a process. Resilience has been considered for a long time using different terminology. There is a need to focus on function.
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169 PRIORITIES AND NEXT STEPS Stress management does not equal resilience promotion. Both stressors and rewards/positives must be emphasized. It is important to define “rewards.” Resilience involves individuals, families, organizations, and the community. There are several ways to look at interactions and trajectories. It is important to integrate health/safety and resilience. Resilience efforts should begin early through task design. Moving Beyond Definitions It is important to further tease out the similarities and differences be- tween individual, resilience, and organizational resilience, commented Flynn. Resilience is applied to all these different areas and is often used interchangeably. He asserts that it is probably not necessary to concen- trate further on defining resilience; it is now time to focus on how these things get evaluated and operationalized. Resilience Programs Based upon the presentations, many programs and potential models appear to be already out there for DHS to explore. Flynn commented that program designs that include postadversity growth in response to stress and critical incidents may be the most useful to DHS. The presentations made clear that resilience promotion begins before the incident or stress- or. He quoted workshop presenter Col. Carl Castro, who stated, “Ideally they come to us resilient.” Flynn suggested that, for programs to succeed, both individuals and organizations must be responsible for resilience promotion and stress reduction. This responsibility starts with the leadership. Flynn noted that although he is very impressed by the Department of Defense (DOD) pro- grams, it is unclear, because of legal and administrative differences, how that model can be applied intact to DHS. Leadership Flynn noted that the role of leadership is critical. There are various aspects to consider in leaders. Leadership can be seen as a means rather than an end. Leadership occurs at many levels and takes many forms. Key leadership characteristics include strength and honor. He also noted
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170 BUILDING A RESILIENT WORKFORCE that one of the key components of leadership is the ability to sustain ef- forts and resilience. He added that it is possible to train leaders. Flynn commented that leadership buy-in is essential to the programs and their objectives. DHS has an overwhelming challenge, which is fur- ther complicated by the need to promote and sustain positive leadership in an organization where the top leadership changes every 4 years. Flynn offered several thoughts to promote buy-in: What are the strategies and the paths to access leadership? Building and maintaining credibility is important. Are there issues with the staff versus line personnel? Are there issues with employees versus contractors? DHS is not alone. Potential partners exist within other federal agencies and academic institutions. Flynn felt it was important to point out to DHS that collaborating with other organizations could have many benefits. Partnerships poten- tially reduce costs and increase transparency. Flynn’s final thought about how to promote buy-in is the importance of reminding people of the con- sequences of not acting. Resilience-Related/Supportive Programs Flynn noted that both wellness programs and EAPs must make a business case for the positive effects of employee supportive programs. Although Flynn observed that wellness programs appear to be more broadly evaluated than EAPs, both have potentials solutions and strate- gies that can be applied to resilience programs. Flynn cautioned that perception is everything. DHS must understand that the staff’s and management’s perceptions are as important as the services offered. Therefore, whether it is a resilience, wellness, or an EAP, it is necessary that the services are relevant to the employees and have strong quality-control mechanisms in place. Evidence Base and Program Evaluation Many methods are available to evaluate the evidence base to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a program. Flynn noted that, at this point, almost any level is sufficient as long as the program designers are
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171 PRIORITIES AND NEXT STEPS clear and honest about the strengths and weakness of the evidence base underlying the program. It is the nature of government to crave consistency in all things, in- cluding program design. However, there are negatives as well as posi- tives inherent in consistency. Consistency is good if it ensures access to needed services and programs across the organization. It is not good if it does not respect and recognize differences in mission and culture. DHS should work not to be caught in defining consistency all positively or all negatively. Program Resources Funding programs is always an issue. Flynn noted that funding was a theme in DHS’s discussions about how to move the program forward. He believes that significant changes can be made with limited resources, particularly in terms of policy and communications changes. However, the reality is that there is no free lunch. DHS needs to assess whether it is making appropriate funding choices regarding stress reduction and resili- ence enhancement, and whether these decisions reflect stigma regarding behavioral health. Flynn suggest that DHS ask itself, “If DHS found that 25 percent of the uniform workers were developing some kind of trans- missible rash and it was adversely impacting many of their family mem- bers, because of X, would they still say, ‘there is not enough money to address the problem or to delay an attempted solution?’” An approach such as this helped DHS assess whether it is approaching parity in ad- dressing behavioral health concerns with the same seriousness as it would other medical or public health challenges. Importance of Culture Flynn noted that it is important to recognize the effect of culture at all levels with DHS. Throughout the workshop, there were discussions about how to change the culture to support resilience for issues such as stigma. Given the diversity of cultures, DHS should be careful in consid- ering changes in the culture that may result in unintended consequences. In developing a general strategy and approach to culture change, DHS should look at the extent of these efforts and whether they should be department-wide or specific to the individual components. DHS should also look at the role of isolation and job fit. Flynn suggested that perception is everything in behavioral health. What role does perception play in stress and resilience, both on the indi-
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172 BUILDING A RESILIENT WORKFORCE vidual level and among the components, in Congress, the administration, and in the public? How does DHS deal with perception as a factor in re- silience? Flynn noted that the workshop did not include information on making stress management and resilience promotion a required job skill. He suggested that people are certified in many things, so there may be some opportunities to do the same here, for instance. Flynn also pointed out that DHS must determine if and how it is go- ing to make a business case for these programs. Flynn stated that in order to advance these programs, it will be essential to develop a business case for the effect of operational readiness and subsequently cost-effectiveness. Expectation Management Flynn advised DHS that the success and survival of its resilience ini- tiative may be more dependent on management of expectations than on the end accomplishments. The challenge becomes balancing hope and optimism with reality. The reality is that DHS is a huge, diverse, and young organization. As part of the federal government, DHS faces signif- icant restrictions that limit some of the options that would be possible in the private sector. Additionally, the current environment is defined by declining resources, a poor general economy, and the public’s antigov- ernment sentiment. Past Experience with the FEMA Stress Management Study Flynn related his experience developing the FEMA Stress Manage- ment Study, a program for FEMA in response to Hurricane Hugo. The program was motivated by the need to evaluate some of the decisions made during Hugo. Stress was a factor in bad organizational decisions. The study was broad in its scope, and subsequent recommendations ad- dressed policy and communication changes, as well as additional ser- vices for the staff. Many of these changes could be made with very little resources. However, because of funding limitations, the program was not evaluated. The Occupational Health Psychology Perspective Joseph Hurrell began his comments by emphasizing that how an is- sue is defined has enormous implications for how it is approached. De- fining an issue can affect what interventions are developed and their
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173 PRIORITIES AND NEXT STEPS success. For example, if you view how someone experiences job stress as the result of individual vulnerability, then it is likely that you would fo- cus on secondary interventions such as stress management to help them cope with the conditions of a job. Alternately, if job stress is seen as an organizational issue or related to the design of the job itself, then a pri- mary intervention would focus on changing aspects of the job or the or- ganization to alleviate the underlying conditions that create unnecessary stressors. Hurrell quoted Talcott Parsons, who wrote, “A wonderful concept is stress, what it means is anyone’s guess. Though it is fun to be clinical and rude to be cynical, operationally, it’s a mess.” Hurrell notes that the same is true of resilience. How resilience is characterized is important because it determines how one thinks about it, and it may dictate the kind of intervention developed. Primary and Secondary Prevention Hurrell recalled his experience on a recent trip where there were de- lays in the security lines because of breakdowns in the screening equip- ment. The delays created a frustrated and hostile crowd for the TSA screeners to screen. In this situation, secondary interventions such as changing the culture, improving leadership, and training do not address these types of stressors. Primary prevention such as fixing equipment failures is a more appropriate response to the problem. Hurrell suggested that the whole field of job stress and the term job stress is very value laden. The same may be true about resilience. For instance, TSA screeners might be offended if they are offered resilience training but would probably welcome improvements to the equipment. Primary prevention seeks to address the daily chronic issues people face in their jobs. Hurrell did not suggest that primary prevention could be the entire solution, noting that one size does not fit all. However, he cautioned that as DHS moves to design secondary interventions, it should be judicious. After 35 years in government, Hurrell noted that regardless of how hard it is to change federal jobs and environments, it might be a lot easier than changing people or cultures.
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174 BUILDING A RESILIENT WORKFORCE Using Other Fields of Research Some of the issues in the job stress literature are analogous to the is- sues within resilience. In the past, much of the research in job stress fo- cused on identifying the bad conditions and eliminating them. Current theories of job stress are much more positively oriented and think more in terms of developing engagement among people. In particular, the job demands–resources model includes both negative and positive indicators and outcomes of employee well-being. The idea is that people face all kinds of demands, and providing resources to cope with those kinds of demands will mitigate the negative effects. These resources could in- clude social support and giving workers more control over their work. Employees will be more engaged in their jobs as a result. This engage- ment among employees leads to lower levels of job stress and lower lev- els of burnout. Hurrell noted that this sounds very similar to the whole notion of resilience. Given the similarity in the concepts, it is possible that the types of approaches used to develop an engaged workforce would be quite similar to those developed to create a resilient workforce. Although this is a slightly different approach, it offers current and reasona- ble recommendations on how to positively change the work environment. The Law Enforcement Perspective Kevin Livingston started by saying that the workshop presentations have reinforced for him many of the things he had learned through his experiences in the military, Secret Service, and many years in federal law enforcement. Although the term resilience is new to him, much of what he has heard at the workshop boils down to what he thinks of as morale. In his view, morale is affected by a broad number of factors including physical health and wellness and leadership. In particular, the presentations citing the effect of physical health on resilience ring true with his personal views on wellness. As for the dis- cussions about leadership and resilience, he joked that as a supervisor for many years, he is used to being the person causing stress. It is his job to get more out of his workers and to push them to do better, be successful, and move up within the organization. In the Marine Corps, Livingston learned that it was important to understand the jobs of the next two ranks above yours. This was based on the idea that you never knew when you would have to move up. Livingston noted that before there were resili- ence and resilience-related programs, it was his role as a supervisor to
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175 PRIORITIES AND NEXT STEPS work on these issues. He suggested that it takes knowing your employees and understanding what is going on with them to be able to support them when they need it. As a supervisor, he felt there are three areas worth restating: the role of the supervisors in supporting their staff, the impact of fitness on overall well-being, and the difficulty in having clear communication. Livingston stated that fitness is critical and includes mental and emo- tional health. He also mentioned the importance of job design. He sug- gested that a job is supposed to challenge an employee because otherwise work will be routine and boring. That is not healthy for the employee, and it kills productivity. Livingston commented that the workshop was incredibly helpful for him and validated many of the things he believed before. The question he posed for the group was “What is next?” He added that while it is pri- marily the Office of Health Affairs’ challenge, it is also his and all the other DHS staff’s as well. He added that it is the nature of law enforce- ment to always want a solution. He suggested that DHS move forward, like the Army, and do a pilot program. Take a port, a TSA airport, a Se- cret Service office, or any area of opportunity, and apply the lessons from the workshop. DHS should try to replicate other programs’ suc- cesses. Figure out what works and keep going. The employees are DHS’s most valuable asset, and everyone should help to do their job better. Summary Panel Discussion Planning committee chair James Peake noted that it was not clear how well the problem is defined. This could be due to the diversity of organizations, personnel, and cultures. While there are differences, there are also a lot of commonalities between these groups, principally because of the shared core mission. There are effectively two types of resilience in this situation. Everybody faces stress on the job because these are high-stress jobs. How does DHS help employees build resilience to cope with the ongoing stressors from a normal day? The next level is when the situation goes beyond the normal day due to an event. How does DHS help employees bounce back from an unknown stressor?
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176 BUILDING A RESILIENT WORKFORCE Defining the Problem Flynn noted that because resilience is multidimensional, a matrix might be a way to conceptualize the issues. It would need to include in- dividual challenges, different events and stressors, and a third dimension with information about the types of people such as policy and line per- sonnel. Given all of the complexities, there may need to be more than one strategy used to address the issues. Hurrell pointed out that if there were a reduction in the chronic levels of stress that people experience every day, then people would be much better prepared to face the unknown situations. The evidence suggests that people with lower levels of day-to-day stress caused by the job are also much less likely to develop PTSD. Vila noted that the military has specialized in adaptability. U.S. Ar- my Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) has worked in this area for several years and recently updated its training. The training is focused on teaching individuals to navigate the rules and environment and adjust their behavior if either or both changes. Adaptability seems like one of the pieces of building resilience at the organizational level, which links back to management style and policies. He commented that there are as- pects of law enforcement’s and first responders’ missions and jobs that are intrinsically difficult. For the most part, managers and employees deal with the day-to-day issues. When someone gets knocked down by an event, the ability to come back has to do with how healthy and cen- tered that person is and how well he or she is supported by his or her family, community, or organization. At an organizational level, it is pos- sible to promote both physical and mental wellness through health pro- motion, EAPs, and, most importantly, strong day-to-day management. Livingston added that having a strong base is important, which in- cludes a sound and healthy employee, as well as a supervisor that is in tune with his or her people. Once these two pieces are in place it is pos- sible to train for change and adaptability. Planning committee member Joseph Barbera pointed out that not all stress is bad. Some stress is like lifting weights. When managed correct- ly, stress can build character. Much of how stress is managed is based upon how it is interpreted.
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177 PRIORITIES AND NEXT STEPS Job Fit as Primary Prevention Flynn noted that getting resilient people into the job is a part of pri- mary prevention. While the workshop has included discussions about task design and job description, there has not been much discussion about matching temperament to the job. A possible part of the solution is a clear understanding of what type of person is needed for a particular job. That requires more attention to DHS’s recruitment and selection process. Kathryn Brinsfield from DHS’s Office of Health Affairs added that the type of psychological screenings used in the private sector to match personality and jobs are not possible within the federal agencies. Flynn responded that there does not need to be a formal evaluation but rather an informal set of questions relevant to the position. From a clinical point of view, Flynn suggested asking about difficult situations that the person has encountered on the job and how he or she dealt with them would be a good place to see how adaptable a person can be and under what conditions. Hurrell commented that screening presents some significant chal- lenges, not only legally but also empirically. To his knowledge there is no solid empirical evidence supporting pre-hire screening. The tools and the science are not at a place where he feels comfortable supporting them. Vila noted that within law enforcement there is a lot of screening. The police psychology section of the International Association of Chiefs of Police has about 500 members and has been focused for the past 10 years on research. There are almost 800,000 law enforcement personnel in the United States. All of them take an oral and written interview, about 90 percent of them get a preemployment psychological evaluation, and a large proportion have had a polygraph test. The oral interview is focused on challenging the applicant to see if he or she is mentally flexible and how he or she responds to stress. Planning committee member Karen Sexton noted that there has been a shift to value-based interviewing within nursing that looks at the de- mands of being a nurse and the ability to advocate for patients. While this is not a perfect solution, there has been some success in that area. The Military Model Brinsfield noted many DHS components are paramilitary in the way they think. She asked the speakers if they think of the military programs
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184 BUILDING A RESILIENT WORKFORCE Tedesco noted that the Coast Guard struggles with the rapidity of communications and information flow. Managing the intake of infor- mation and responding at all levels within the organization to keep that operational tempo at top speed is difficult. The Coast Guard’s mission shifts, and while the security of the homeland is paramount the guard also has a lifesaving service. Since 9/11 the homeland security mission has gone from about 10 percent to about 40 percent of the workload, but none of the other responsibilities has gone away. As a military service, there is constant turnover of per- sonnel leaving the service or transferring through the regular change in assignments. The guard also is currently made up of a higher than normal percent- age of younger personnel. In the past, the Coast Guard has been able to count on the more senior master chiefs to bring the junior staff up to speed. However, as new platforms are brought onboard the master chiefs are inexperienced with them. Tedesco noted that he was in his 40s when 9/11 happened, but 50 percent of today’s Coast Guard was between the ages of 7 and 15 years old. Reaching out to this different demographic is challenging. It responds to different stimuli and has different cultural norms. There is a target-rich environment of information flow for that younger population, and the Coast Guard must learn how to use those kinds of opportunities as part of the solution set. There is a constant pressure to become more efficient and do more with less. Given the budget pressures, it is not going to be rosy for any department in the government for a while. However, it is important to have perspective on these issues. The Coast Guard’s programs are mi- nuscule compared to DOD’s programs. On the other side of the coin, the Coast Guard’s programs are far more expansive than those in the rest of DHS. The Coast Guard started participating in a DOD behavior-related health survey in 2008. For 30 years the DOD has conducted a survey every 3 years looking at a variety of health risk behaviors. Through this process the Coast Guard has found some compelling information. The 2008 survey indicated that the Coast Guard has a substance abuse prob- lem. It also indicated that a significant minority who engaged in sub- stance abuse behaviors also screened positive for depression and anxiety.
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185 PRIORITIES AND NEXT STEPS Coast Guard Health Infrastructure Tedesco oversees 43 clinic and 150 sick-bay direct health care pro- grams that he can leverage for effect. Tedesco noted that he and his staff are focused on how to best synergize the safety, health, and work-life offices together. For primary prevention the safety staff can ensure that the work envi- ronment is in compliance through inspections and incident response. Their efforts are focused on being proactive and preventing future mis- haps. Every mishap is a health risk. Tedesco asserted that the more peo- ple are invested in the safety culture, the more they are invested in themselves and shipmates, which helps resilience. For many of the work-life programs in a military population, it is possible to order personnel to do things or to strongly recommend that they do them. However, it is not possible to order morale. It has been mentioned several times in the workshop that physical fitness underlies resilience. The Coast Guard is going to institute a mandatory exercise program similar to those in the DOD services; it will use an individual- ized program in the beginning in order to make sure that everybody par- ticipates in physical fitness at his or her own pace each week. Tedesco recently signed a request for a group to explore the Navy’s operational stress control. While addressing stress does not necessarily build resilience, it is one of the underlying factors. The operational stress control program trains leaders how to view their unit, and how to assist their units in dealing with the day-to-day ebb and flow of operational pace. The Coast Guard is also revising the EAP contract. The EAP over- sees benefits for both the civilian and military population and their fami- lies. The Coast Guard intends to increase the amount of visits and include the reserve population. The reserve population can be hard to reach because its members are not in the Coast Guard most of the time. They are, however, called upon during disasters and have to mobilize quickly. In the past, they would not benefit from the Coast Guard ser- vices and programs. Tedesco concluded that there are two significant issues he would like addressed in this effort. He would like to learn how to reduce stigma and make asking for help a strength, rather than a weakness. He would also like to know how to promote the services and programs that are available so people will take advantage of them.
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186 BUILDING A RESILIENT WORKFORCE Federal Emergency Management Agency Sheila Clark is Chief Component Human Capital Officer at FEMA. FEMA currently has approximately 53,000 permanent full-time employ- ees and approximately 13,000 reservists that support their disaster re- sponse and recovery efforts. About 3 or 4 years ago, vacancy announcements started to include a statement that all employees are sub- ject to deployment. The reality of this change did not hit until this year. Because of the number of recent events, FEMA has had to tap into its permanent full-time workforce to meet some of the needs in the field. During the response to Hurricane Irene, FEMA found that members of the permanent full-time workforce were resistant to being deployed even though it was a clear possibility when they were hired. Employees are required to be deployed for a minimum of 3 weeks. Deployment condi- tions are often not ideal and include some hardships such as infrequent access to showers and living in tents. When people took the position, they often did not consider the impact of being deployed on their fami- lies. Once employees are deployed, FEMA has a stress-management pro- gram working the disaster site. The counselors provide counseling in- formation and offer referrals to programs and EAP providers. To respond to the issue of increased deployments, FEMA has an ini- tiative under way looking at the impact of deploying the permanent full- time workforce. The initiative will look at family responsibilities, the stress of being deployed, and transitioning after an extended deployment. The imitative will examine the effects of these factors on the attrition rate and increase in worker’s compensation claims. Employees and managers from different parts of FEMA, such as the response and recovery, human capital management, and equal employment offices, are all participating in the initiative. Additionally FEMA is working on a workforce surge initiative that will reach out to other DHS components seeking volunteers from their full-time workforce to support FEMA during major disasters similar to Katrina. Clark noted that the agency now makes it very clear to people inter- viewing for positions that they are subject to deployment and what that entails. The FEMA administrator is very open to all employees having the opportunity to be deployed and visit a Joint Field-Office Operation (JFO). FEMA is working to address the issue of deployment on the per- manent full-time workforce and is (1) making sure that employees are
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187 PRIORITIES AND NEXT STEPS secure where they are deployed and (2) ensuring their families are secure while the employees are deployed. Customs and Border Protection Linda Gray is the director for CBP’s retirement benefits and medical work-life division. The CBP has started a new but aggressive program to address workforce resilience. The CBP is largely a law enforcement agency and has to deal with many of the conditions discussed by earlier presenters. The organization has experienced a spike in suicides. One of the first things the CBP is focused on is erasing the stigma associated with mental and emotional health concerns. To change attitudes and re- duce stigma, the CBP looked at how to change the culture. In the past, representatives from the agency visit families after any type of death, and if the death was a suicide the CBP honorary flag would not be given to the family. About a year ago, with the support of the senior leadership that policy was changed. In the past, suicide was not discussed. The senior leadership weighed in and has been very actively involved in erasing that stigma, and there is now a campaign on the web. Four different series of suicide prevention workshops take place every Wednesday, and September is mental health awareness month. There has also been a branding effort looking at healthy body, mind, and spirit. It seeks to emphasize that mental well- being is just as important as physical fitness. Additionally, the CBP has seen a spike in EAP use, so people are in fact calling in to get help. The CBP faces several challenges in promoting resilience in its workforce. The CBP has a mix of different cultures. When the CBP was formed there were three different organizations pulled together with two different cultures. The pace and type of work is very different for the border patrol and uniform officers working at the ports of entry. There are language and culture barriers, so the CBP is looking at the increasing use of EAP services by providing Spanish-speaking counselors. Gray pointed out that the border patrol already has a physical fitness program. However, for the ports entry workforce, the workload is con- stant, and there is no time for work-mandated physical fitness training. When Gray visited the ports of entry, officers commented to her that it is not possible to get a workout in when employees are only given two 15- minute breaks that they combine for lunch. Officers have to choose be- tween eating, family, sleeping, and working out. Also, pulling officers
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188 BUILDING A RESILIENT WORKFORCE off the line to work out would have people complaining because of the increased wait times The CBP is starting a pilot a program that will include a fitness com- ponent. It will work to find ways to get the officers off the line long enough to work out. There will be a monthly campaign dealing with some area of physical fitness and mental health assistance. It is difficult to get messages out to personnel who are working in very different environments. There will be displays with information in the duty station, and the CBP will be coordinating with the mission- support people in the field to get information out. Gray noted that she was discouraged to see the suicide rate stay the same after the efforts of the first year. The CBP has looked at trends and found that most of the cases are different and that there are a number of contributing factors. Rather than respond to each event and try to fix that particular area, the CBP is instead looking at systemic issues. With everyone pushing the mission, it is important to make sure they are also checking the pulses and attending to the individuals who have to carry out that mission. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Laronna Bell works with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) on a number of services including the EAP, health and wellness, and work-life program management. She noted that in the ICE, most re- quests for or about EAP services come from management seeking infor- mation and guidance on helping their employees. The ICE has been working with the staff at the CBP to develop and implement a fitness program for the operational and administrative employees. The ICE has started to address the challenge of communicating with the field offices about various programs and making sure that managers are supported in knowing how to identify and help employees who are experiencing problems. Department of Homeland Security Components Panel Discussion Peake noted that there were several themes in the discussions, in- cluding the role of physical fitness and leadership, the need to train lead- ers and managers, and the need to manage employee expectations about the job, such as the possibility for deployment or the realities of shift work. Peake added that changing how the organization functions can
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189 PRIORITIES AND NEXT STEPS introduce different stressors and potentially affect resilience in other ways. One of the potential consequences would be an increase in turno- ver. Have the components considered how to measure these types of con- sequences? Are there potential interventions that might mitigate the negative impacts? Changes to the Workforce Several things have the potential to improve the situation for the Coast Guard, Tedesco noted. The guard has recognized that training is an issue and that it is expensive to move personnel. As budgets tighten, costs are a growing constraint. As a result, the Coast Guard is investing more resources into training and is working to move people less fre- quently. Some new initiatives are going into place for the upcoming as- signment season to try to keep people on station up to 6 years, which is previously unheard of in certain mission sets but can create stability for the employees. Byrne repeated that about three-quarters of TSA employees are in the process of being unionized, and this might create a morale issue. The TSA has been very adamant that it will not treat union employees differ- ently from non-bargaining employees. All employees will have the same disciplinary or grievance issues process. The hope is that this will help manage expectations. He added that the TSA is continuing to develop a security, risk-based organizational culture, and working to empower em- ployees to make positive changes in the workplace is part of that culture. Attrition Gray noted that the poor economy has helped reduce attrition. There has been an increase in EAP services related to relationship issues. The CBP is examining how it can build families and relationships as well as promotional messages around those issues. The CBP has released a se- ries of messages on relationships, and it is trying to reach out to families and encourage employees to work on balancing life and work. The CBP is also trying to look at how to better manage the workload of employees that are struggling with their schedules. Hill agrees that the poor economy has reduced attrition rates. He not- ed that the 1811 population (gun-carrying agents) is expected to move to a new detail every 4 to 5 years. He has found that even when recruits go in with the knowledge they will have to move, it is difficult when it actu-
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190 BUILDING A RESILIENT WORKFORCE ally happens. People are facing additional issues when it is time to move because of the decline in the housing market. They may lose money when they have to sell their home. As a result, the agency is trying to adjust and be flexible with moving for a year or so. Although it is impos- sible to predict if a year will help with the housing market it helps with morale when employees know that management is flexible. Deployment Clark commented that at this point deployment is still voluntary. Although it is in the vacancy announcements, employees currently do not sign a statement saying that they understand being deployed is a condi- tion of employment, nor has FEMA negotiated this issue with the union. FEMA is moving toward making it mandatory, however. FEMA is con- sidering how it will affect the ability to hire new people and the attrition rate. Vila asked if FEMA has incentives such as step increases for sign- ing the deployment promise. Clark responded that currently it does not. Planning committee member David Sundwall reflected that during the 1980s, Surgeon General Koop worked to revitalize the U.S. Public Health Commission Corps. Although the corps is a uniformed service, there had been no expectation that it would be deployed for many years. When the policy was in place, the commissioned officers at the National Institutes of Health or those who had a career in research were most re- sistant. It took a great deal of leadership and persistence to establish that commissioned officers and researchers would be deployed at some point during their career in the commissioned corps. Training Sundwall asked Hill to describe in more detail the skill sets he men- tioned in his presentation, in particular how the Secret Service addresses shift work and how shift work affects circadian rhythms. Hill agreed that the effects of the changing shifts are a challenge. The Secret Service found that it was better to have 2-week rotation where agents have the opportunity to work the various shifts and get 2 weeks of training. Travel issues are generally driven by the mission. If the trip is going to be in three different cities, the Secret Service will alternate individuals so agents do not necessarily travel to every city. It is difficult to manage, and there is no way to fix it or prepare or train for it. The Secret Service monitors employees using a formula that has worked for a long time.
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191 PRIORITIES AND NEXT STEPS Everyone’s stress level is calibrated differently because people handle stress differently. Program Engagement Workshop speaker Ann Mirabito commented that although almost all of the workshop presentations addressed the importance of leadership being fully engaged it is also critical that rank and file be fully engaged. Different stakeholders have different objectives. She noted that it may be helpful to think about the way those programs are framed for the differ- ent stakeholders. The private sector has the same issue. The private sec- tor has chosen to call these programs wellness programs. Byrne commented that it would be helpful if a best practices document could be developed to inform the development of programs for the components. Byrne noted that it is a key point that in any diverse organization com- munication is always going to be difficult. Communications Planning committee member Scott Mugno noted that his company struggles with the same issues of dealing with the stigma of using EAPs and how to better promote their use. He asked how the different organi- zations are addressing stigma and communication issues. Tedesco responded that the involvement of the most senior leader- ship has helped. For example, the commandant sent an e-mail to every- one in the Coast Guard explaining that he wants everyone to be engaged with safety and suicide prevention. The core of the message is that the Coast Guard’s personnel are all shipmates, and this is a shared concern. He challenged everyone to be a part of the solution, and then directed people to the health safety and work-life program resources. That type of message is very rare; when the commandant speaks, people are more likely to pay attention then they would to a message from someone else. Byrne added that the TSA has a similar communication mechanism. However, communications from the top leadership are used sparingly for only the most critical issues. He added that most people listen to the sen- ior leadership, but the senior leadership has to be engaged and sincere. It cannot just be a proclamation. Clark noted that the FEMA administrator communicates the im- portance of the work by reinforcing that all FEMA employees are emer- gency management officials, and they are expected to be ready, able, and
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192 BUILDING A RESILIENT WORKFORCE available to be deployed at a moment’s notice. Whether they are a GS-5 or at the senior executive level, FEMA employee IDs all include the la- bel “Federal Emergency Response Official” and every employee has a laptop, a blackberry, and a memory key so they can be deployed at a moment’s notice. Gray noted that everyone is inundated with communications from the different areas, and it is hard to get people’s attention as a result. The CBP human resources office is at the forefront of using podcasts and webinars in DHS. The new messaging from the deputy commissioner will be released in September 2011 in video format. CLOSING COMMENTS In closing, Peake commented that the goal of the workshops was to create a productive environment to explore the issues and concerns DHS has in developing a workforce resilience strategy. He added that the dis- cussions at both workshops highlighted the overlapping nature of the issues and shaped some possible institutional approaches that recognize the importance of all the various elements. At the September workshop, Alexander Garza, Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and chief medical officer for DHS, commented that several of the presentations from the workshops resonated with him. In particular, he cited the presentations outlining the importance of physical fitness and its contribution to mental health. He agreed with several of the presenters’ comments about the importance of program measure- ment, but added that it is very difficult to measure people’s or compo- nent’s stress or resilience levels at any given time. Altough these things are ambiguous and difficult to measure, it is not prudent to just focus on suicide rates or EAP numbers. It is important that all the information is put together in a meaningful way. The anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11 reminded the nation to “never forget” and laid the mission of ensuring that something like this never happens again. Over the past decade, DHS made significant strides in securing the nation against disasters, whether man-made or naturally occurring. This mission creates a tremendous amount of stress on DHS’s employees and their families. Garza stated that it is not possible to ensure national security unless we secure the health of the workforce, and that includes mental health. Garza pointed out that DHSTogether has made
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193 PRIORITIES AND NEXT STEPS extraordinary progress in the past 2 years. The information shared at the- se workshops will help inform where it goes in the future. Kathryn Brinsfield closed the November meeting by noting the workshops answered many questions and brought up new ones for DHS to consider. She added that the dedication of the DHS workforce is un- questioned and is evident in the difficult work it does to accomplish its mission. However, after a decade it is time for DHS to shift the view of how to accomplish the mission away from a sprint and instead to see it as a marathon and understand that protecting the workforce ensures that it can carry out the mission in the long run.
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