To celebrate Public Service Recognition Week, we honor all public servants while highlighting three agencies that adapted and innovated through COVID-19 to meet the growing needs of the public.
Spanning from Sunday, May 2 to Saturday, May 8, this year’s Public Service Recognition Week is one we should celebrate like never before. With the ripple effects of a global pandemic stretching the nation thin, new circumstances continue to test public services in new ways. Yet these agencies and their dedicated staff at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels adapt and innovate to keep serving the public during trying and rapidly changing circumstances.
“As we all have been impacted by the global pandemic, government employees are working tirelessly to deliver on the great needs of the public. These public servants are the heroes that are taken for granted as they work to match experiences to expectations even during the worst of times,” says Lee Becker, VP, Solutions Principal, public sector and regulated industries, Medallia, who previously spent 11 years in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs helping lead the federal government’s first customer experience office. “Those who work in the public sector deserve our appreciation and admiration for all that they do to provide the very best care, benefits, and services to the people they serve.”
Many of these agencies were on the frontlines of supporting a public in dire need of help as COVID-19 brought unexpected financial hardship and unemployment, growing mental and physical health challenges, rapidly changing safety protocols and new regulations. And despite work conditions that limit in-person interactions, these government employees continually found a way to meet and go above and beyond the growing needs of the public.
As we celebrate Public Service Recognition Week, here are just three of many examples of agencies responding to better serve their employees and customers:
With the travel industry turned on its head by the pandemic, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had to quickly reassess and revamp travel security measures to meet changing local public health protocols at over 400 airports across the country.
The TSA quickly realized it needed to find a better and faster way to align headquarters staff with those team members in the field. From coordinating changes to field operations, staff scheduling, and implementing personal protective equipment, the TSA wanted to ensure its field agents could focus more time supporting customers and less searching for answers.
The TSA introduced new communication systems, and its Office of Enterprise Support created communities between mission-support field staff and their headquarters colleagues. These groups established more direct lines of support for the field while instilling the right skills and expertise to better serve customers amid uncertain travel conditions. Second, the TSA’s IT Office rolled out a new mobile app to streamline the feedback loop between the field and headquarters around operations like staffing levels, scheduling changes, and personal protective equipment.
These newly established systems better equipped agents on the frontline to serve travelers, and will help well beyond the pandemic era of travel to keep communications transparent for seamless employee and customer experiences.
As financial stresses of the pandemic taxed both everyday citizens and the government’s most essential agencies, the Bureau of Fiscal Service at the Treasury Department became a pivotal stopgap as the agency that runs accounting for the federal government.
After recently modernizing its legacy technologies and complex decision-making processes, the Bureau of Fiscal Service stood well prepared to shoulder this unexpected burden. These changes ultimately laid the groundwork to fast track the setup of 20 pandemic relief funds and ensured resources made their way to the appropriate government agencies.
During this recovery response, the Bureau specifically leaned on its automated financial systems to streamline manual steps that typically took over a day into just four hours to allocate relief funds to critical programs and services. Additionally, the Bureau’s simplified internal governance processes reduced rounds of panel approvals into two-step decisions to quickly implement changes that benefited the public faster. With these improvements, the Bureau of Fiscal service swiftly responded to emerging financial pressures brought on by the pandemic.
With unforeseen financial and healthcare burdens weighing on a nationwide community of former servicemen and women, Veterans Affairs (VA) became a vital support system that faced staggering amounts of Veterans requiring new aid and assistance.
And despite the hardship-filled year, the VA strategically invested in customer experience capabilities built to collect feedback through data, tools, and improved engagement to further enhance its support services.
Among the new tools of engagement, the VA captured real-time, experience-based data around Veteran outpatient services while also equipping over 100,000 staff members with training to provide competent responsive care. On top of that, the office redesigned VA.gov for an easier, user-friendly web experience while establishing a newsletter and virtual events to engage with the broader Veteran community. During the pandemic all these new efforts led to Veteran trust exceeding 90% for the first time in April 2020 — a new milestone despite strenuous circumstances.
Agencies like the TSA, the Bureau of Fiscal Service, the VA, and many more are able to quickly adapt and innovate to ensure the experience behind their services didn’t falter during incredible uncertainty and public need. To celebrate Public Service Recognition Week, we honor and thank each and every one of them!
Get inspired and learn more! Register for Experience 21 to join peers and industry leaders at one of the most highly anticipated user conferences in experience management. Experience 21 is your free ticket into a community of Public Sector and Public Service leaders who are engaging customers and employees to power exceptional experiences.