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                                                      “Case Study Summary”                                January 1 2010

King County Sheriff’s Office

Creating a High-Performance, Efficient, and Positive Culture

For the King County Sheriff’s 911 Call Center



Overall Objectives


  • Lower Turnover – “save money”
  • Have a positive impact on the overall Call Center Culture – “reduce bullying”
  • Create an experience that improves Staff Efficiency
  • Create an experience that ensures Call Center Users have a positive and effective interaction, and feel a high regard for the outcome of their call




June 15, 2009                                     Scope of Work proposal given to the Sheriff’s Office

Three phases – Discovery, Workshops, Initiatives


August, 2009                                     Discovery


15 individual interviews were conducted with a wide variety of CallCenter employees – Managers, Dispatchers and Call Receivers.  Each shift was represented and special attention to interviewing a wide variety of employees with many years of service as well as just hired.


August, 2009                                      Employee Interview Results and first pass at Call Center Initiatives


Notes were collected in all interviews and summarized in the following conversation areas:

  • Why people do this work
  • Traits to look for when hiring
  • Reasons for turnover
  • Issues with supervisors
  • Employee abuse on a daily basis
  • Consistency of policies and procedures
  • The internal communication in the CallCenter and within the department
  • Definitions needed



The following areas were identified as “Initiatives” for the CallCenter:

  • Hold Workshops for all employees focused on what “must go right” when taking a call from a citizen and supporting the Field Organization
  • Hold regular Roll Call Meetings
  • Refocus Supervisors on case study discussions and positive reinforcement to build common sense
  • Create a more regulated Review Program
  • Allow Supervisors and Trainers more input on hiring
  • Get more consistent and regular User Feedback
  • Create a sense that this is a Profession
  • Update and keep updated the Standard Operating Procedures
  • Involve everyone in being a Trainer
  • Define clearly why we need to change the Culture


August – September, 2009          One-on-one coaching of Call Center Management


Throughout the Discovery phase, meetings with the Captain assigned to the CallCenter and the civilian Operational Manager were held regularly to ensure all employee environment strategies were executed consistently.


Late September –early October, 2009    Employee Workshops


In late July, we held six 2-hour workshops for all 90 employees.  These were facilitated discussions with the following topics:

  • How do we have the right people
  • What is common sense and group common sense
  • What must go right between 911 Caller and Call Receiver (transaction 1)
  • What must go right between Call Receiver and Dispatcher (transaction 2)
  • Thoughts about what must go right between Dispatcher and the Field Organization (transaction 3)
  • A suggestion to improve overall climate/culture – each employee was asked to suggest 3 specific ways that the Captain, the Operations Manager, and the Supervisors could act differently.


October 2009                                     Workshop Notes completed and distributed


Notes from all workshop discussions were compiled and distributed to all employees.


October, 2009                                    Continued Management conversations by meeting between 1 to 3 times per week with the Call Center Management.



October, 2009                                    Introduction of a new Scheduling Protocol and Tardy Policy

Throughout the Discovery Process, 2 policies seemed to create the most uneven management oversight – the Scheduling protocol and the management of the Tardy policy.  The Management Team was challenged to agree upon a more consistent way to manage these 2 issues.  The Management Team used a Google Blog approach to discuss the issue and agreed upon a consistent approach that would be used by each shift.


Late October, 2009                         Presentation to Sheriff’s Office Leadership


A comprehensive updated presentation was made to the senior leadership of the King County Sheriff’s Office defining the activities that had taken place and what the next steps would be.


November – December, 2009    911 Caller Survey


A 911 Caller Survey was conducted with 200 phone conversations asking the caller questions about two basic transactions:

  • The 911 Caller to Call Receiver experience (6 questions)
  • The Dispatched Officer to Citizen experience (10 questions)


These results represented a baseline for a future 911 Caller Survey Program. [Survey results attached]


December, 2009                               CommunicationCenter Employee Survey


All employees of the CommunicationCenter were asked to complete a 23-question Employee Survey.  This cultural-climate survey was based upon the Gallop work discussed in the book “1st Break All the Rules”.  The employee survey scores will serve as a baseline for future employee surveys.[Survey results attached]


January 19, 2010                               CommunicationCenter Senior Management 8-Hour Workshop


After 6 months of facilitating employee conversations, taking employee input and defining initiatives, we gathered all of the senior leadership with the specific goal of having this group discuss and decide how to become more consistent in their approach to managing the CommunicationCenter:

  • How do we use meetings/roll calls, assign seating, use the new laptops, train more consistently
  • How do we create more positive feedback by giving praise to employees with 911 Caller feedback
  • How do we do reviews and quality assurance reviews, deal with out of bounds employee behavior, and deal with conflict
  • How do we make information transfer from the Call Receiver to Dispatcher more consistent, and improve the respect between these two functions



February – June, 2010                    Implementation of CallCenter Initiatives [Phase 1]


During the next 100 days, many specific Initiatives were executed:

  • The Scheduling and Tardy policy was handled consistently
  • Managers discussed the Cultural Climate employee survey and how to improve the lower scores
  • The CallCenter added personal computers to help improve overall communication as well as streamline SOP updates
  • The Captain in charge did his first employee news letter focused on policy updates and general employee information.
  • The Operations Manager moved her office into the main Communications room
  • On March 16th, a standing Managers Meeting was devoted to the progress reports and all on-going initiatives
  • One of the senior managers became the leader of a team of Trainer/Department Supervisors that were charged with working to streamline and redefine the protocol/standards for a Quality Assurance Review Program so that training, reviewing, and user feedback all work together
  • On April 15th, the Training Committee met and redesigned the call receiver Quality Assurance [QA]  process
  • During the months of May and June, the entire staff participated in the revised Caller Receiver QA process



July-Oct, 2010                                    Phase 2 Initiatives Completed


  • All the individuals that were interviewed in the Discovery Process will be re-interviewed to make sure they know there voice was heard in what has taken place to date, as well as in the steps going forward.


  • Final revised Quality Assurance Review standards Written and distributed to all supervisors and trainers  [Standards Attached]


  • All trainers and Supervisors started doing regular group Quality Assurance Reviews on the same recorded Calls to improve consistency between training and Supervisor reviews. [Sample Attached]


  • 911 Caller –200 individuals were  re-surveyed  to judge impact of this work.[Survey attached-plus comparison scores to 1st survey]


  • The Employee Cultural Survey was be re-surveyed to determine impact of this work.[survey attached –plus comparisons to 1st survey]



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