Appendix C

Public Comments from Department of Homeland Security Staff

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) created an online public comment tool to obtain input related to the IOM Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Workforce Resilience Committee’s charge from current DHS staff. The Office of Health Affairs at DHS circulated an email with a link to the tool to all DHS staff (approximately 200,000).1 Responses were received from 130 individuals from 8 component agencies (Customs and Border Protection [CBP], Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA], Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE], Management Directorate, Office of Health Affairs [OHA], US Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS], US Coast Guard [USCG], and the US Secret Service [USSS]). It is not clear to the committee why the response rate was so low. The committee heard at their information gathering meetings that DHS employees suffer from survey fatigue,2,3 and sometimes do not partake in surveys because they feel their concerns and suggestions are not addressed. Verbatim responses were grouped by category and are available in this appendix.4

______________________

1The IOM was not involved in dissemination.

2Green, A., and L. Perkins. 2012. DHS workforce resilience: Past, current and future. Presentation to the IOM Committee on DHS Workforce Resilience: Meeting 1, December 13–14, Washington, DC.

3IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2012. Building a resilient workforce: Opportunities for the Department of Homeland Security: Workshop summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

4Minor edits have been made to the responses for punctuation, spelling, and style consistency.



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Appendix C Public Comments from Department of Homeland Security Staff The Institute of Medicine (IOM) created an online public comment tool to obtain input related to the IOM Department of Homeland Securi- ty’s (DHS’s) Workforce Resilience Committee’s charge from current DHS staff. The Office of Health Affairs at DHS circulated an email with a link to the tool to all DHS staff (approximately 200,000).1 Responses were received from 130 individuals from 8 component agencies (Cus- toms and Border Protection [CBP], Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA], Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE], Man- agement Directorate, Office of Health Affairs [OHA], US Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS], US Coast Guard [USCG], and the US Secret Service [USSS]). It is not clear to the committee why the re- sponse rate was so low. The committee heard at their information gather- ing meetings that DHS employees suffer from survey fatigue, 2 , 3 and sometimes do not partake in surveys because they feel their concerns and suggestions are not addressed. Verbatim responses were grouped by cat- egory and are available in this appendix.4 1 The IOM was not involved in dissemination. 2 Green, A., and L. Perkins. 2012. DHS workforce resilience: Past, current and future. Presentation to the IOM Committee on DHS Workforce Resilience: Meeting 1, December 13–14, Washington, DC. 3 IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2012. Building a resilient workforce: Opportunities for the Department of Homeland Security: Workshop summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 4 Minor edits have been made to the responses for punctuation, spelling, and style consistency. 211

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212 A READY AND RESILIENT WORKFORCE FOR DHS Q: Please use the following space to share some of the stressors you typically encounter while working at DHS/your component agency COMMENTS Management/Leadership  Management’s inability to give clear direction and constant criti- cism of an effort (Directorate for Management)  Some micromanaging of projects (USCIS)  Disorganized management (OHA)  Impossibly short deadlines or turn-around times (Directorate for Management)  High levels of responsibility, low control o Everything is an emergency o Turnaround times are, for the most part, artificially immedi- ate. Very few of the emergencies should actually be classi- fied as such but rank-and-file employees are expected to jump on demand o Overall low morale o Micromanagement (Directorate for Management)  Reinventing the wheel. Fighting the supervisor to do the job (USCG)  Calls 24/7 for services (USCG)  Program managers that discourage questions (USCG)  Supervisory—my immediate military supervisor was recently re- lieved, and a civilian coworker with less experience and educa- tion was named supervisor for the next year. In my 10 years in this office as a civilian, I have had 1 competent supervisor out of 4 (USCG)  Demanding unappreciative supervisor o No autonomy o Serious lack of leadership in my program (USCG)  Leadership disparity of issues between leadership and workers (USCG)  Unqualified and inexperienced managers who are making deci- sions that have negative consequences for the DHS workforce. More focus is on creating projects and false missions to keep

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APPENDIX C 213 OHA afloat instead of focusing on the well-being of the DHS workforce. This is extremely stressful; dishonesty on a constant basis creates disillusionment. OHA has a very unhealthy envi- ronment. Managers do not communicate or even give common courtesy responses to difficult questions. That is unacceptable (OHA)  Any other stress relates mostly to agency handling of a situation or policy/administrative decisions that I may be curious about or question, or disagree with (USSS)  I rarely encounter stress in my job, but if so, it is event specific and is mitigated rather swiftly (USSS)  No clear guidance regarding my ability to perform my job (USCG)  Support functions like peer support, chaplaincy, etc., are not supported by management to the fullest capacity when employ- ees are in need. It is usually frowned upon to be absent from your daily job duties to be present with those in grief or in need of support from their fellow employees. This is frustrating be- cause our agencies train us to do these collateral duties yet don’t support the time it requires to do things the right way and truly provide needed support to our employees (CBP)  Disconnection of upper and middle management to the field (USCG)  Frustration at upper management: those providing “technical di- rection” do not have subject matter expertise, and make ill- informed decisions (USCG)  Actually, you can look over the federal employee survey for the last 10 years and find most of the stressors at DHS o Lack of communication from senior management o Lack of empowerment of employees o Lack of valuing employees o Lack of respect for employees. This is why [morale] at DHS continues to be low and will never improve until there is an effort from the very top down to do so (OHA)  Senior management that doesn’t understand profession and/or area that I am working; lack of cooperation between components in the office (OHA)  The stressor that I [most] find on the job is the changing direc- tion for ongoing projects when new leadership, or reassigned leadership, take the office/Component in different directions. Of- ten from one administration or realignment to another the focus can shift back and forth 180 degrees (OHA)

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214 A READY AND RESILIENT WORKFORCE FOR DHS  I find that people are often placed in leadership positions who do not have the requisite skillsets to perform such duties and often are very poor managers but perhaps good [subject-matter ex- perts]. It is very frustrating to deal with this in one’s career. I know so many people within DHS who just want out of the De- partment for the very reasons I have just detailed. It saddens so many people (OHA)  Lack of structure, [standard operating procedures], turnover in personnel, no decision making below the most senior of levels and an incredible number of levels of approval for the most mundane work products (USCIS)  Personally, stove-piping within multiple agency facilities is my stressor. Getting several agencies to work cohesively is an uphill battle: policy guidance is vague at best in most collaborative sit- uations (USCIS)  Upper management not working with supervisor in that they are not on the same page with office recommendations/solutions (USCIS)  Indecisive leadership at first- and second-level supervisors. Feel like our group is kept in the dark about the future of our duties and what will be expected of us (USCIS)  Micromanagement of senior leadership on mission-essential travel (even though funds are available) (OHA)  Poor leadership—they stay closed up in their little areas clueless to what is going on in their own agency (OHA)  Lack of leadership and employees being blamed for poor per- formance causes stress (USCIS)  Disorganization micromanagement; lack of trust in subordinate managers; lack of credibility in upper management (USCIS)  Employee evaluations are a farce when they actually occur. Gen- erally a lot of paper pushing and time wasted. Employees almost never have input upfront or during the process which is always changing. Poor management, everything is a reaction to new di- rectives and situations (USCIS) Lack of Communication  Lack of communication that causes a lot of uncertainty and stress (USCIS)

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APPENDIX C 215  Poor communication from leadership (OHA)  Lack of communication from above; not given an opportunity to provide input to administration and/or program managers; being told to do something (by the book) even though it may not make sense (USCG)  Constant talk about moving our unit to another section. Little communication with upper management on possible move (USCIS)  Lack of written standards and procedures (USCIS)  Vague and unwritten instructions (USCIS)  Incongruent management style. Ineffective communication (ICE)  Lack of communication between senior leadership and programs (OHA)  Lack of communication from my supervisor and supervisor’s su- pervisor. It is very secretive and I never know what is going on. I don’t get clear direction and I can’t figure it out for myself be- cause there is very little communication (OHA)  No communication with upper management (USCIS) Employee Favoritism/Nepotism  Blatant favoritism. Senior management does not practice what they preach (USCIS)  Politics in selection of new employees being friends or family (USCIS)  There are barriers that specific individuals in positions of power that put up blatant disregard for specific support components. Moreover, some of these persons holding these positions are un- qualified, untrained, or inexperienced. However, they are only in those positions due to nepotism and sycophants (CBP)  My biggest stressors involve not being involved in any of the cliques. The cliques and personal friendships get in the way of getting the office work completed. I can’t go to supervisors be- cause they are the ones that keep the cliques going (OHA)

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216 A READY AND RESILIENT WORKFORCE FOR DHS Budget/Funding  Lack of budget (Directorate for Management)  Unable to visit units due to lack of funding (USCG)  No funding for my program o No set expectations o No stability o Job insecurity o High cost of living in California (USCG)  Lack of resources (USCG)  Inequality of pay compared with nongovernment positions. Con- tinued pay freeze only increases this issue (USCG)  Budgetary restrictions but the continued expectation that the quality of work remains (USCG)  Fiscal budget limitation (no training and/or travel) (USCIS)  Stress trying to help some contractors who have experienced se- rious financial problems due to the economy which may prevent their access to USCIS contracts (USCIS)  The ever-increasing number of “Quick Turnaround Taskings”; working in a “more with less” environment (USCIS)  Lack of available funds to adequately do my job (USCIS)  No cost-of-living raises (USCG) Staffing  The stressors I encounter have more to do with having to do a lot with a minimal staff. I think my program would be even more ef- fective if I had adequate staffing (USSS)  Doing other employees’ work or addressing research questions that they should [Google] or answer themselves (FEMA)  Intense work load. Military environment (USCG)  No recognition of work done for years (salary raise) (USCG)  Lack of administrative support (USCG)  When the active supervisor has been trained and is able to under- stand the organization, they rotate and the professional work force has to break in a new supervisor. Feels like a training ground for active duty supervisors (USCG)  Mission fatigue (USCG)

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APPENDIX C 217  Increased workload with decreased resources (USCG)  Staffing shortages makes it difficult to complete all assigned ac- tions across numerous programs (USCIS)  Too much work, not enough staff to handle the workload (USCIS)  Employee vacancies; increased workload with staffing shortages (USCIS)  Coworkers taking excessive or unscheduled leave, which im- pacts my workload. Unreasonable deadlines or unreasonably de- tailed data calls that require the dropping of regularly scheduled work for completion with no obvious connection to the mission (USCIS) Training  Mandatory training is a total waste of time—nothing has ever been shown that training such as sexual assault or equal oppor- tunity employment has yielded positive changes over time. I take the training every year; sleep through half, and who cares? (USCG)  Little training before entering a new position and often after en- tering on duty with an expectation you will be proficient in your new position. Short suspense on new tasking, with the expecta- tion all other responsibilities will be met. Working additional hours to meet the short suspense times are seldom recovered as normal expectation of employees remains in place (USCIS)  Lack of support every area from training to job opportunities. [Morale] is extremely low (USCIS)  Lack of valuable training due to lack of funding (USCG) Sexual Assault  Working with a culture of denial and no understanding of the problems (sexual assaults) (USCG)  Sexual assault; sexual harassment (USCG)

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218 A READY AND RESILIENT WORKFORCE FOR DHS Workplace Practices  Lack of physical fitness program (USCG)  Not enough telework core schedule flexibility from management (USCIS)  Not allowed to telework on Fridays because our boss feels it gives us a 3-day weekend (USCIS)  Our fitness centers are small for the number of employees we have and the machines are either outdated or broken. We have very few health-related workshops because the issue of ethics always seems to prohibit a program for some reason or another. Secondly, the administration will not give employees any addi- tional time in conjunction with their lunch to attend these work- shops, so any programs that have been offered are very poorly attended (USCIS)  Non-implementation of telework. No flexible work schedule op- tions (USCIS)  Inability to telework (USCIS)  Less-than-flexible working hours (USCG)  No performance awards (USCG)  No on-the-spot cash awards (USCG) Q: Please use the following space to describe where you go if you need services related to wellness (physical, mental, and emotional well- being) and what work-life/wellness programs you use at DHS/your component agency. What would you want to stay the same? What would you change or add? COMMENTS Gym/Fitness Center  I go to my gym almost every night to release stress (Directorate for Management)  Fitness center (Directorate for Management)

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APPENDIX C 219  I use the onsite gym, which is provided more because of our lo- cation then due to any particular commitment to fitness on the part of my organization (USCG)  There is a fabulous yoga class offered at lunch time in the Base Alameda gym. There are opportunities to participate in walking/ jogging/biking/rowing aboard Base Alameda (USCG)  I regularly take annual leave to exercise during the workday (USCG)  I use physical exercise during the day to relax and relieve stress (OHA)  I attend Jazzercise classes or go to the YMCA. I also attend health-related workshops on my own (USCIS)  Walk/gym (USCG) Suggestions: Gym/Fitness Center  Add the physical exercise program for civilians (USCG)  I would like to see larger fitness centers for employees and exer- cise classes offered, perhaps after work (USCIS)  Add gym membership/use of gym in federal building (USCIS)  Our facilities do not have a gym. My building is not in proximity to amenities that could assist with reducing stress. I have a disa- bility, but my building does not allow disabled parking because this is a GSA [General Services Administration] space, and eat- eries are at least 1.5 blocks away (USCIS)  Although an enormous expense, I would appreciate having a moderately sized physical exercise room where one could, in bad weather, use the treadmill, weight machine, and bicycle exerciser to relieve physical tensions. In one location, where we were shar- ing facilities with the security personnel who have such facilities, I was able to use the treadmill frequently (USCIS)  I would like to see the availability of time to be used each pay period for exercise/workouts. Even if it’s minimal, such as 2–4 hours per pay period (USCIS)  I don’t use any work-life/wellness programs at my agency. Due to the distance of my office from my home, I think it unlikely that I would actually use any programs that would be added. A full gym would be great, but the cost (and inevitable liability concerns) would preclude the type of facility I’d be likely to use (USCIS)

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220 A READY AND RESILIENT WORKFORCE FOR DHS  I think having a reimbursable program for physical fitness regi- ments or onsite gyms goes a long way [toward] physical and mental stress relief (USCIS) Employee Assistance Program (EAP)/Counseling  EAP (twice since joining USCIS in 2008) (USCIS)  I go to the Employee Assistance Program within the agency to receive counseling and guidance (USSS)  In-house counseling (FEMA)  I use the Employee Assistance Program and my family doctor. I would like to see the EAP/work-life program remain at USCIS/DHS (USCIS)  EAP is available. I don’t use any of the services, therefore have no suggestions (Directorate for Management)  [Coast Guard] Work-Life; CG SUPRT (USCG)  I go to work-life staff responsible for the issue. Sometimes, talk to chaplain (USCG)  CG [SUPRT]; local counselors services are adequate and easy to use (USCG)  I have used the EAP program and appreciate the current pilot program that provides distance counseling (USCG)  [Critical-incident stress management] counseling, TRICARE, EAP are all resources used. Increased accountability of members who abuse other members will improve safety and culture of the organization. CG doesn’t even track mandated training of sexual assault prevention and harassment effectively. [Equal Opportuni- ty Employment] (EEO) system is broken (USCG)  The EAP is close by so I can usually drop in for a 5-minute chat (USCG)  USCG Health Safety Work Life; CG SUPRT (USCG)  Work-Life, chaplain, CGSUPRT.com (USCG)  CG SUPRT—it is working well and is very supportive (USCG)  I would use CG SUPRT; health promotions (USCG)  Our EAP program is strong (USCG)  USCIS work-life program (USCIS)  EAP is very [supportive], would not change anything (USCIS)

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APPENDIX C 221  I’m aware of the services EAP provide[s]; however, I prefer to seek counseling through my religious resources and faith beliefs (USCIS)  I take advantage of the employee assistance program’s counselor a few times a year. I think this is a wonderful resource (USCIS)  I go to my church and friends. I do not use any work-life pro- grams at OHA or DHS because I do not think they are genuine or helpful (OHA)  Fortunately, we have several services at my duty post location. We have a gym, a nurse, and a work-life program. On a positive note, I am very grateful to have the services of a nurse. She pro- vides several work-life/wellness services (such as health screen- ings, educational seminars, etc.). I hope the budget doesn’t put this service at risk (USCIS)  I have viewed some of the health- and nutrition-related videos on the EAP work-life site. I liked the list of exercises that we can do to help alleviate the stiffness that often occurs when you sit most of the day at a computer. More should be added because it is a major problem. When I get up from my desk, oftentimes I have to wait a few seconds before I start walking because I am so stiff (USCIS) Counseling Phone Line/Hotline  I am aware of a work-life phone number to call in my agency (USSS)  EAP—work-life—call the 800 number or go online. I think the program works well (USCIS)  Work-life programs. I have used or referred other[s] to use the Coast Guard [SUPRT] hotline for financial, mental health, fami- ly advocacy, elder care, and employment support (USCG) Suggestions: EAP/Counseling/Onsite EAP Programs  I would keep the same EAP contractor (CG SUPRT) but I wish they had more services through the EAP provider ... like anger management and financial management classes (USCG)

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226 A READY AND RESILIENT WORKFORCE FOR DHS day because there isn’t a place to go—it would be frowned upon if employees meditated in their cubes (USCIS)  I don’t know of any programs. Other businesses have massage therapy at the office once a week or every other week, where you can schedule 20 minutes and pay (usually discounted in compar- ison to outside locations). Cafeteria/lounge needs a couch, better communal working spaces. Stretch breaks, where someone knowledgeable leads for 5 minutes, once or twice a week (typi- cally the person rotates around the office space and it’s done at [an] individual’s work location) (OHA) Q: Please use the following space to describe additional support DHS could provide to keep the workforce healthy, productive, and mission ready. COMMENTS Management/Leadership  Teach managers how to be good managers (Directorate for Man- agement)  A lot more honest and open communication between the various levels of management/leadership and regular employees (Direc- torate for Management)  Decrease the bureaucracy and rationalize systems so that they help rather than hinder work. Allow employees to use flexible schedules and some work time to engage in fitness-related activi- ties. Walk the talk. Leadership at all levels should demonstrate a commitment to work-life balance and well-being; not only by supporting employees, but by engaging in those activities them- selves (Directorate for Management)  Competent supervisor training, especially when it is a military supervisor of civilian personnel. My understanding is that the CG hires civilians to provide continuity in its workforce (at least in part). My experience has been that military members do not value civilian employees and/or are all too adept at creating ci- vilian positions that they can fill upon retirement. My most re-

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APPENDIX C 227 cent supervisor, despite his lack of a bachelor’s degree or any job experience in social work, spoke repeatedly of his belief that he could do any job in the office, and specifically stated my job was one he could easily do. I have a master’s in social work and more than 20 years of experience in social services (USCG)  Train active duty and civilian workforce together: “Team First” attitude. Have a senior civilian in command that the civilian workforce can report to. Active duty leadership is not well equipped to handle [civilian personnel] issues and as a result complaints are not handled well and concessions are made be- cause of blunders in [management] decisions by the active duty members. This allows poor performers to remain in their posi- tions in spite of their performance. This is a demotivater to high performers on the [civilian] and [active duty] staff (USCG)  Supervisors and managers should be required to respond (simply communicate) to subordinates. That means return calls or e- mails. Answer questions. Of course I don’t expect every manag- er to immediately drop what they’re doing to answer questions or address concerns, but getting some kind of response EVER is a reasonable request. This is an extremely disrespectful, discourte- ous, and unkind environment. It’s difficult when an employee knows the mission, [is] qualified and ready to perform the mis- sion, but [is] prevented from doing the mission because of mid- dle management barriers and pet projects (OHA)  Being transparent; holding persons accountable for poor perfor- mance; recognizing those hard workers; appropriately dealing with “problem children” by not rewarding/reinforcing negative behavior (e.g., Mr. Doe was not held accountable or fired for in- appropriate workplace behavior but transferred to another [de- partment] and promoted). “Catholic Priest Syndrome”—keep moving the individual around to different dioceses without deal- ing with the problem (CBP)  Executive development training, among other sources, offers various toolkits, lessons learned, and proven approaches in deal- ing with and supporting employees and creating wholesome, productive, and enjoyable work environments. I doubt we need new or tailored items but firmly support using what exists (OHA)

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228 A READY AND RESILIENT WORKFORCE FOR DHS  Remove ineffectual management and bring in private-sector con- sultants to run the agency for a period of time until work product/mission are adequately addressed (USCIS)  Supervisors need to be more sensitive to employee needs. The workforce is changing with more middle-aged and senior em- ployees. The workplace requires more resources to work with the employees’ increasing needs (USCIS)  Get organized at the top. Provide meaningful training and super- visory support when a new position is started and ongoing [train- ing] so employees feel they are skilled to meet their job require- ments. Too much “figure-it-out” mentality. Cuts immediately impacted employees’ ability to obtain needed training. Still large groups of staff traveling but line employees are basically left with online training opportunities at best (USCIS)  Strong leadership training programs for managers/supervisors at every level. Proper leadership is the key to all these “ills.” Good, moral, and honest leaders are the backbone of a healthy and pro- ductive workplace (USCIS)  I would like to be able to score my supervisor on communica- tion, morale building, and honesty, and this would be used on their annual evaluation (OHA)  Managers need to be respectful and decent. Too many are not. I don’t think there’s anything DHS can offer except hire better people. You can’t teach virtues (OHA)  The agency needs better communication ... [for] example, em- ployees need to know who their security and safety employees are (USCIS) Staffing  Additional staff is necessary. When people are overworked (it’s been over a year since we have had the appropriate staffing lev- els), people tend to take more sick time, even if they aren’t phys- ically ill. There appears to be no buffer of staff for “life” events, so when people are out (for surgeries, pregnancies, or just earned vacations), which is a constant, the remaining staff is under con- stant pressure to perform. This stress, in turn, creates additional maladies (USCIS)

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APPENDIX C 229  In my opinion, they could give their internal affairs unit the law enforcement authority the law provides for, that USCIS policy precludes. This would permit USCIS special agents to be on par with their counterparts at ICE, CBP, Secret Service, and OIG. Such authorization of the exercise of such authority would keep the workforce mission ready by permitting USCIS special agents to investigate crimes such as bribery, fraud, human trafficking, etc., committed by USCIS employees, rather than forcing USCIS Special Agents to give away such investigations to other DHS law enforcement components to investigate (USCIS) Budget/Funding  Travel—if we can’t visit all our units annually, it is very hard to market program[s], be sure services get [the] widest dissemina- tion and utilization—avoiding personal issues for those who are not familiar with services, confidentiality/HIPAA [Health Insur- ance Portability and Accountability Act], not stigmatized about use (USCG)  Give us a cost-of-living [raise] and make it retroactive to pay us for all the years we have not gotten one (USCG) EAP/Counseling/Onsite EAP Programs  DHS could ensure that each component has a work-life specialist position across the board (USSS)  Offering a cache of services and/or contact numbers which will highlight and direct component employees to what DHS overall or their own components offer. Perhaps having a select group of DHS employees versed in their respective fields to come to each component quarterly to offer a seminar, group, presentation, or training on a wellness topic with additional resources (USSS)  Counseling services targeted to law enforcement officers. Medi- cal case management services as broadly authorized with as many services as possible. Rotation programs to support people if hard law enforcement positions (ICE)  Healthy: promote wellness in the workplace: morale-building ac- tivities, health programs for staff and time to participate. These

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230 A READY AND RESILIENT WORKFORCE FOR DHS activities create bonds for the teams and promote healthy life- styles that in turn enable staff to handle stress (USCG)  Formulating a special volunteer force of trained emotional/ mental health personnel (past and current experience from our ranks) that work under Ph.D. or Dr. supervision to respond across the [nation] as psychological first aid and mental trauma management forces during small- or large-scale events. This could help prevent emotional and mental health issues that some- times arise down the road from on-duty events where trauma goes unnoticed (CBP)  The number-one support would be for various levels of mental/ emotional support for the workforce. Various communication avenues (soft and hard) to address everyday and long-term stressors would be so very helpful to maintain a healthy work- force. In addition, the availability of intra- and interdepartmental “details” would be very interesting and provide a good return on investment for a more skilled DHS workforce. In fact, this should become a requirement of the workforce to develop addi- tional skillsets, employment opportunities, and morale boosting of the employees (OHA)  Provide a standard amount of time and provide more resources for employees to be engaged in learning how to address personal work-life issues (USCIS)  Peer support program. I think I would trust a coworker more than a therapist (ICE) Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence  New strategic plan for sexual assault has no metrics tied to it. Sexual Assault Report to Congress is not benchmarked to the [Department of Defense] (DoD) and is not transparent even to CG members and leadership. Require CG Sexual Assault Report to be benchmarked to DoD and make it Web-accessible like DoD (USCG)  I’d like to see more sensitivity training in the workplace. People say stuff without thinking about how it could impact those around them. We had a domestic violence training scheduled [but] the [video-teleconference] didn’t work so we just got a handout. That handout was generic and not specific. The training should be conducted by someone with direct knowledge of the situation.

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APPENDIX C 231 We have access to nonprofit agencies that could come in and de- liver powerful training on difficult topics (USCIS) Gym/Fitness Center  Time off for fitness. Fitness classes. Walking groups (Directorate for Management)  Fitness center and day care at all DHS facilities or consistency in employee usage of other facilities at low cost (USCIS)  Ongoing physical ability standards. Officially recognized sup- port for physical fitness as the military does (Directorate for Management)  Time to do exercise (paid) (law enforcement personnel receive this benefit, but support staff do not). If not that, then something like offering biweekly or monthly chair massages or similar pro- gram in the office (OHA)  Daily workout time for ALL, to include time for meditation, yo- ga, tai chi for those who [have] less physical strength. Everyone out at the flag pole 0730 for morning stretch and daily affirma- tions. Promote positivity and prevention versus always falling back on knee-jerk reactions to negative events and overcompen- sating for that event to the point that everyone suffers for one id- iot’s mistakes (USCG)  Please provide a policy for workouts for civilians during the workday similar to the military component (1 hour 3 days a week or 3 hours a week) so I don’t constantly have to burn my leave and can use it for family time (USCG)  Consider that civilians, as instrumental support, also benefit from morale events and occasional workouts. Suggest partial funding (as opposed to whole account for one active duty member) re: unit morale funds. Also request that civilians be allowed 30 minutes for workout, 3×/week (at supervisor’s discretion) (USCG)  I believe DHS realizes the importance of physical fitness and good health. I believe it is evident in the program they currently have and the work-life/wellness seminars they offer. I also be- lieve that a healthy and happy employee is a productive one. I realize that we are part of the DHS workforce and have an obli- gation to be the best we can be behind our desk but, for some,

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232 A READY AND RESILIENT WORKFORCE FOR DHS including myself, the incentive to participate in physical fitness activities after a full day of work is missing (USCIS)  It would be nice if DHS would subsidize gym memberships. A lot of companies do this to encourage the workforce to improve/ maintain its health. Health costs go down over time for the com- panies as well (USCIS)  Provide more opportunities for people to stay healthy and active. In the military you are afforded the opportunity to get fit on the clock. I think that if it’s efficient and easy to access people will take advantage (USCIS) Workplace Practices  Ergonomic workplace design should be a centralized responsibil- ity; employees shouldn’t have to spend time finding out how to get appropriate chairs [and] desks and/or fill out forms [to] dis- cover [the] process for having modifications made. The set-up should be part of standard process when individual comes on board (Directorate for Management)  More recognition of individual’s work (USCG)  Flexible work schedules (USCG)  Awards and promotions incentive, more training (USCG)  Smok[ing] cessation classes, in-house exercise classes, work- shops supported by administration (USCIS)  Mandatory, half-hour break in the day to eat, relax, and refocus on tasks (USCIS)  More support for teleworking—the days that I don’t have to drive in to work (no public transportation is available), more op- portunities for training (USCIS)  Organizing DHS sports leagues (either across or between com- ponents, and perhaps even with/against other departments) would give an opportunity for exercise, socialization, and fun (even adults like playtime!), all of which are good for health and stress relief. But the first few seasons might be hard to organize until such a program became more a part of the culture (USCIS)  Possibly more in-office stress-relieving activities (i.e., team- building, “fun” exercises, etc.) (USCIS)

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APPENDIX C 233  Have a DHS team conduct a climate assessment survey. Do not let management identify the employees to be interviewed. Inter- view at least 50 percent of the workforce. Use the information gained to take proper actions to make the work environment less stressful (USCIS)  Specific, concrete guidance for supervisors and non-supervisors on how to effectively balance work demands, improve physical fitness, balance family life and social recreation. There is no ad- equate way to measure these often-competing roles and concrete ways to re-balance them effectively so that we remain most pro- ductive (USCG)  One-pagers on different topics near microwaves or “stall news.” Have health competitions (like pedometer walk-offs) (OHA) Q: Please use the following space to provide any additional comments. COMMENTS Management/Leadership  We appear to have a lot of good programs to help employees, on paper—the execution is what may be questionable (Directorate for Management)  I’ve worked at every level of Army and Coast Guard employment (moved as a spouse of active duty over 10 times). I have had ac- tive duty and civilian supervisors. All have their strengths, but the lack of experience by leaders of [the civilian] workforce has hurt the Coast Guard. [General Schedule] 11, 12, 13 staff being super- vised by rotating [junior]-level ([Lieutenant Commander] and be- low) active duty has resulted in numerous EEO and [management] complaints. Poor performers love this environment. They only have to survive the newest [management] rookie and their reviews are based on limited knowledge of the civilian’s job. Corrective actions or punitive actions are easily contested due to process and performance misunderstandings/mistakes by the supervisor. When possible, large civilian workforce (10 or more?) should be super- vised by an experienced civilian (USCG)

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234 A READY AND RESILIENT WORKFORCE FOR DHS  DHS already has plenty of helpful programs and initiatives. However, no number of stress management, communication, re- lationship classes, peer support, etc., efforts can be effective against a constant barrage of disrespect, lack of accountability, and unqualified managers making poor decisions. Yes, I can cope, but this environment does not lend itself to being a “resili- ent,” healthy place to work. I honestly believe that if 100,000 DHS employees said exactly the same things I have written, nothing would actually change. Yes, there may be a few memos and town hall meetings, but there is no accountability. There would be no real change (OHA)  The office currently does nothing. They did try a [fruit] bowl, but it was costly and hard to sustain. It failed after a month (OHA)  When an employee is happy in his/her work, [it is] because of the people surround[ing] him or her. You will do your very best [if you] have your supervisor or the chief of that division to lift [you] up and be more productive in so many ways that the office would [recognize] in a positive way (USCIS)  If you don’t go along with a bad idea or the wrong way to do something, you get thrown out of the group and nobody will talk to you. So many people leave this organization to go to other DHS components. I do not think most of our managers and lead- ers are competent to be in their positions. Human Capital is a dismal failure (OHA) Communication  It would be nice to have an opportunity to volunteer for details to other offices/agencies to work with others on projects. It would expand knowledge and experience. At this time, there is limited access to this information and no idea where to look (USCIS) Workplace Practices  If creating any new programs, make sure you publicize them well. Also, though I expect you’ll try to come up with programs that inclusively serve as many employees as possible, you might

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APPENDIX C 235 want to try crafting some programs to individual demographics, as well. For instance, while younger employees might love a kickball or softball league, some older employees might prefer other activities. Additionally, maybe tailor certain workshops to different age groups. Money concerns cause stress, so how about a series of workshops as an example? 20-somethings don’t gen- erally give much thought to retirement, but they’re often wrapped up in concerns about how to handle student loan re- payment. 40-somethings are frequently preoccupied with helping their own kids get student loans. 50- and 60-somethings want to know about retirement (even if it may be too late by then) (USCIS)  Ask employees for suggestions to help improve the atmosphere and [morale] in the office (USCIS) EAP/Counseling/Onsite EAP Programs  If we put people in harm’s way and they experience emotional, physical, or mental trauma, they should not be penalized later if they have to seek some type of treatment as a result of that event. There is currently a restrictive atmosphere and stigma for seek- ing help that has been the result of on-duty traumatic events (CBP)  EAP is not working for our employees. They are not being con- tacted back to set up appointments (USCIS) Budget/Funding  Money and budget define most everything that any agency can do to offer or expand existing services. People are well aware of this and thus stop asking for these benefits (USSS)

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