The 2018 W. Edwards Deming Training Award Winners

Graduate School USA | Deming Award

Graduate School USA | Deming Award

Graduate School USA presents the W. Edwards Deming Outstanding Training Award to government organizations that exemplify excellence with an initiative or program that focuses on enhancing quality processes within that organization.

This year, the Deming Award was presented in two categories:
• Human Capital Management: Talent management, employee engagement and succession management
• Employee Engagement: Innovation resulting in improved engagement, internal communication and team-building

2018 W. Edwards Deming Outstanding Training Award Finalists:

• Bureau of Engraving and Printing
• District of Columbia Department of Human Resources
• U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations
• Department of State, Bureau of Administration, Office of Operations – Team Kevlar
• Federal Aviation Administration Office of Talent Development
• Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region III
• Human Development Directorate, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
• Office of the Clerk of Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
• Department of Homeland Security, HQ OCFO/WDD
• Department of Homeland Security, OCFO/WDD
• Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Audit
• Social Security Administration, Operations Office of Disability Determinations
• Social Security Administration, Office of Hearings Operations, Office of Executive Operation and Human Resources



Winner – Employee Engagement Category

Imagine an organization responsible for the safety of over 2.5 million passengers, aboard more than 42,000 daily flights. Imagine that organization has an imperative to transition its major systems from ground- based to satellite-based communications and to introduce drones and commercial space travel while maintaining the safest air navigation system in the world. Now imagine how much better this organization could deliver on its mission with a more engaged workforce fully tapping into discretionary effort.

The Air Traffic Organization (ATO), the operational arm of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), realized that it must take an innovative approach to employee engagement. Thus, the ATO Chief Operating Officer (COO) authorized an executive-sponsored initiative, the ATO Employee Engagement Captains. The ATO Captains have achieved transformative change over the past two years, with remarkable results validated by the annual Federal Employees Viewpoint Survey, monthly ATO business plan metrics, and widespread recognition.

The ATO Captains had rigorous training on industry best practices, communication practices, and teambuilding. Previous ATO employee engagement initiatives were discussed to clarify lessons learned and how variations in cultures had affected past attempts and would influence future success.

The strategy is a two-pronged approach:
1) Cascade from senior executive ranks and down for alignment; and 2) Elevate empowered mid-level teams for lasting operational results. Drawn from the ATO’s eight culturally distinct organizational subcomponents, called Service Units, the ATO Captains meet biweekly as a group to ensure ATO alignment and to share ideas about advocating, influencing, and championing internal change within their own Service Units. Each Captain developed and implemented internal communication, activity plans, and teams to connect their Service Unit employees to their organization’s mission, creating a direct line of sight.

The Captains have proven their value by raising employee engagement to new levels through a free flow of communication, transparency, and openness. This has fostered stronger relationships among different Service Units, as well as among employee associations, corporate human resources, and leadership. It has also acted as a blueprint within each Service Unit, ensuring linkage to the overall ATO goals while allowing organizational innovation and creativity. This increased visibility has also allowed an elevated conversation around employee development as each organizational business goal is developed and implemented.

Winner – Human Capital Management Category

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) has created Education Policies and Standards that are transforming the institution. These Policies and Standards are a roadmap to ensure that training effectively provides the foreign affairs community with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives.

FSI undertook this frank assessment of their processes and capacity so that they could be sure they were delivering on their task to prepare U.S. diplomats for future challenges in a rapidly changing global environment. By adopting and beginning to implement the Education Policies and Standards, FSI is looking to cultivate a culture of excellence and continuous improvement that values rigorous curriculum, effective integration of educational technology to strengthen instruction, and the use of evaluation data to inform decision-making.

FSI recognized it was critical to build staff capacity to successfully create and implement the Policies and Standards. They identified the following three distinct phases of change related to this effort and matched the content and strategies for staff training with these stages: 1) Provide the Training Advisory Group (TAG) the knowledge and exposure they needed to create the Policies and Standards; 2) Develop foundational understanding of key practices in the Policies and Standards across broad audiences within the Institute when they were first introduced; and 3) Build capacity among targeted audiences within the Institute to implement the Policies and Standards.

Implementing the FSI Education Policies and Standards has significantly affected every aspect of the way the Institute operates — prompting course designers, developers, trainers, and evaluators to improve their processes, share their successes and lessons learned, and approach training with a combination of instructional system design and subject matter expertise. For example, incorporating industry best practices is improving the quality of training, and there are now Standard Operating Procedures for designing and developing curriculum. Interest in

FSI’s Educational Technology Innovation Lab as a space to explore technology and potential training applications for the workforce has taken off, with lab usage increasing by 250 percent over the past two years. The number of FSI courses systematically evaluated grew from 48 percent in 2016 to 57 percent in 2017, and the upward trajectory continues in 2018. FSI launched a new Professional Learning Day in 2017, and all staff will participate in 2018.

FSI is delivering on their objective to create a culture that values continuous improvement and the highest standards, and through their evaluation can track how this will translate into training that is more effective and efficient at preparing U.S. foreign affairs professionals for the real challenges they will face once they leave FSI’s classrooms to take on their roles representing the United States around the world. Central to FSI’s efforts to date are teamwork through steering committees, working groups, communities of practice, and organic collaboration — all of which must and will continue moving forward.

Winner – Human Capital Management Category

The Quality Review Branch (QRB) was established in Region IV to address concerns dealing with the Electronic Business Process (eBP) and deficiencies in decision writing that have an impact on timeliness, legal sufficiency, and due process. The team does in-line reviews to identify trends and problems, and it develops training material to address those deficiencies. In doing so, the QRB makes a substantial contribution to the efficiency of the 37 hearing offices within the Region. The senior attorneys and legal assistants are dedicated professionals who work tirelessly to address concerns of the offices.

The QRB was tasked with the training initiative to ensure cohesiveness throughout the region (37 hearing offices). The team ensures compliance with the electronic business process and legal sufficiency in decision writing. Their directive includes carrying out tasks consistent with the agency’s mission, namely, to reach a reasonable level of hearings pending and reduce wait time by providing compassionate and responsive services. This includes implementing improvements to the hearing business process, modernizing IT infrastructure, issuing policy changes, and rallying the workforce to improve.

The QRB is instrumental in reaching these goals because it helps develop the expertise to provide technological training to hearing offices, to identify problems, and to create an action plan that will improve office performance and production.

Learn more about the Deming Award.

Congratulations to all of our 2018 winners, whose commitment and dedication to quality and teamwork has led to organizational success.