Swaying Employees to Create a Culture Change

by the City of Salisbury, NC for the TLG 2019 Innovation Showcase program

Dec 19, 2018

Theme: Extensive Internal Collaboration

The Salisbury Way, or “Sway” idea took root in late 2016 as a group of employees met to try to build on the City’s successful Customer Service Initiative that had been in place since 2005. 

The Salisbury Way included more than exceptional customer service, our hedgehog principal, it extended into a shift in our organization’s culture.  In early 2017 a group of employees from all departments who were diverse in their tenure with the City and their roles in the organization met to begin to define our core values.  Focus groups were held at various times to bring in second and third shift employees as well as part-time employees who may not normally have an opportunity to participate. 

Using the World café model, meetings were held with all employees to have an open, honest dialogue surrounding three questions: (1) What does the Salisbury Way look like? (2) Why do the Salisbury Way? (3) How do we do the Salisbury Way?   Using the results from the focus groups four committees were formed: Communication, Innovation, Employee Engagement, and Awards and Recognition.  Employees were invited to volunteer for a committee and four employees were asked to Chair for the first year.  Each committee had approximately 20 participants which provided a way for the workload to be shared and for no single employee to be obligated to each event or initiative.

In November 2017 the four committee chairs planned a 16 month work plan as a roadmap for how employees would keep Sway moving forward.  The initiative received a full roll-out to employees in February 2018 and employees have been engaged and active in the events planned by the four committees.  Photographs are shared on City monitors located in every department and the excitement among employees continues to spread. 

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