Promoting Open Progress and Performance at Broward County

Broward takes big strides towards providing real-time evidence of how the county is performing with their Modern Analytics Program.

ARTICLE | May 14, 2018
by Envisio Staff Writer

With an organization of 7,000 employees and a population of 1.9 million citizens, Broward County is faced with the ongoing challenge of engaging internal and external stakeholders while helping the public and staff to understand the County’s myriad of services and lines of business.

Broward wanted to help their employees feel more connected to the county’s strategic plan and provide them the opportunity to have their service achievements recognized by the Board of County Commissioners and public. At its last Strategic Planning Retreat, the Board expressed a desire to find a better way to share their Visions and Values with the public. They needed to take charge of their narrative and to engage the public by telling the true story of Broward County that often goes unheard. Ultimately, by sharing the great work being done by the county, they hoped to increase the level of investment and pride that employees and citizens feel for local government.

With their employees spread out across multiple offices throughout the county, Broward was challenged to compile accurate and timely reports that would deliver the right information with the required level of detail to their stakeholders. Prior to modernizing their analytics and communications program, Broward’s reporting was completed using static documents containing hundreds of data sets, performance measures, goals, objectives and activities undertaken at over twenty distinct county agencies. A siloed reporting strategy played no role in connecting people with the county’s overarching goals, and brought little value to stakeholders.

To achieve the dual goals of internal staff and external public engagement, Broward needed to address the way they were reporting on their progress, looking at the most appropriate approach for both internal and external stakeholders. Internally, to best capture progress towards Commission Strategic Plan aspirational goals, employees’ individual objectives would need to be aligned to their agency’s objectives, and ultimately connected to the Commission’s Strategic Plan. Day-to-day work needed to be placed in a larger context that reiterated the County’s intrinsic positive purpose of public service. Externally, for county residents and stakeholders, they needed a means of sharing strategic progress in a meaningful, impactful method that was visually appealing and easy to understand.

Broward County first came across a software tool that was externally facing and developed by the Florida Chamber Foundation, called the Florida Scorecard, a statewide initiative which examines the trends within the state and displays them on a public dashboard. The Florida Scorecard demonstrated an ability to show citizens, at a glance, exactly how the state or a specific county was performing in a given area, in a simple, visual way. This opened Broward’s eyes to the potential of connecting with the community and sharing valuable insights into their progress towards established goals. “We needed a visual depiction of what we’re doing and the impact we’re making” says Gretchen Cassini, Assistant County Administrator at Broward. A public-facing display would help Broward to communicate with citizens about the value of local government.

County Administration knew immediately that an integrated solution was exactly what the county needed: an internal reporting tool to align staff to the shared county vision, and a community facing dashboard to tell a story about the intrinsic positive purpose of government. It was the tool that would not only help to explain what their local government does, but help to communicate the commitment and compassion of government.

By sharing the meaningful impact of their efforts, Broward’s Mayor Furr hopes to embrace a Modern Analytics Program and “put Broward County on the M.A.P.!”. The Mayor hopes that by spearheading the Public Dashboard concept in the community that people will begin to see “a return on their tax dollar investment”; allowing local government to bridge the gap between the organization and citizens. What Broward found not only presented a resolution to help them strengthen the relationship with the public, but provided them a means of tracking and reporting on their strategic plan intended to keep staff engaged and connected with the larger organization. “The whole system is about interaction with citizens and employees”, says Cassini, “Reporting is collaborative; it’s accountability and transparency”.

Broward is now able to report at any level of their organization at the level of detail they select, and their brand new public dashboard will help their citizens to build the connection between their tax dollars and local government services. As Broward continues the use of their planning and reporting software, they envision a future where “our strategic vision is live, and information is real-time and accurate”.

Envisio is paving the way to provide employees at Broward a much better understanding of how they fit into such a large, complex organization. “We want people to see that they’re part of something much bigger, outside of their office and their particular responsibilities” Cassini reports.  Connecting employees to policy makers’ priorities not only helps to give them a better understanding of their mission, but gives them a sense of belonging and purpose.

Broward hopes that in time, this new methodology will penetrate the organization so that even those who are not required to provide updates for reports are still able to see the work and achievements taking place across the organization. Utilizing a robust intranet, Broward County Administration hopes to take all of the benefits that a public-facing dashboard is bringing to their citizens, and create an internal dashboard to share their employee accomplishments and personal stories.

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