Census director kick-starts efficiency blog

Robert Groves pledges to read all proposals submitted by employees

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves promises to read every idea submitted from the agency’s 4,000 employees as part of a drive for efficiency and innovation.He made the promise in a blog entry today.

“We seek proposals for change and innovation from all employees. They send the proposals directly, not through their supervisory chain,” Groves wrote today in a post in The Director’s Blog. “My deputy and I read every proposal.”

A previous idea program there yielded hundreds of responses.

“The first time we did this, I thought we'd get a handful of proposals,” Groves wrote. “We had over 670 sent in! About 400 of them came from field interviewers, the real front line of the workforce.”

To help publicize the effort, the bureau posted a link to the director’s blog post on Twitter today.

Groves also highlighted some of the employees’ ideas that have been successfully implemented:

  • Buying Easy Pass cards for regular toll payments for employees.
  • Continuing staff members hired during the 2010 census to process workmen's compensation claims, resulting in savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
  • Consolidating multiple requests for same software purchases to reduce costs by 80 percent.
  • Allowing data keyers to see their evaluative reports online instead of printing out the reports, saving on paper, toner, and printer usage and providing faster feedback to the employees.

“Change is still difficult to achieve, but when you listen to those running the key processes, innovation toward greater efficiency can be achieved. We all need to work against the normal forces of inertia in big organizations,” Groves wrote.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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