Colorado Department of Public Safety Releases DHSEM Workplace Assessment

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(Jan. 12, 2023) -- On Aug. 16, 2022, the Colorado Department of Public Safety hired ILG Strategic Services to complete a workplace assessment of the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM).

The assessment aimed to:

  • Gauge overall employee satisfaction in a division that operates in a dynamic, crisis-driven manner responding to all types of disasters in Colorado.
  • Analyze the current organizational structure, including office placement and supervisory lines, for internal effectiveness, external service, and overall operational health.
  • Review leadership and employee development opportunities within the division, the department, and with external organizations.
  • Make recommendations for improving the culture and structure of the division based on the information gathered.

The assessment was completed on Jan. 12, 2023, and can be downloaded here.

CDPS Executive Director Stan Hilkey released the following statement regarding the results of the assessment and next steps:

“In the nearly nine years that I’ve been the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety, one of the key messages I’ve emphasized is that we are a learning organization and that ours is a culture of continuous improvement.  We can only get better when we proactively and intentionally take the time to examine and reflect on how we’re doing. Many of our staff regularly participate in after-action reviews (AARs) after a critical incident so that we can collectively improve for the next incident. Through this process, we build on what went well, and we call out what could have gone better so that we can fix it. 

We commissioned a third-party workplace assessment for DHSEM in the same spirit of continuous improvement that we conduct AARs. This process has provided some clarity on how and where we can improve. Strengthening workplace culture, harmony and satisfaction depends on unity of effort from all of us, and I’m confident that together we can further align these values with the excellent and critical work that you are known for.  

Key findings of the report include:

  • DHSEM is a dynamic and diverse team that is committed to developing, administering, and coordinating comprehensive and integrated statewide emergency management and homeland security programs. Their work ensures the safety and security of Colorado and its infrastructure through unity of effort with local, tribal, state, federal, private, and nongovernmental partners. Staff are actively engaged in this mission.
  • Employees report overall positive relationships and good communication with their direct managers. There is an opportunity to more actively engage DHSEM managers in shaping and furthering the strategic direction of the division. 
  • There is good collaboration among peers, and that is apparent during critical incidents when all hands are on deck and all parts are working to support the whole. 
  • Together, we have an opportunity to build an even stronger workplace culture rooted in mutual trust and respect.
  • We have an opportunity to ensure functionality and collaboration among the senior staff of DHSEM to present a unified and coherent vision that supports the daily work of all employees. 
  • We will focus on ensuring an inclusive and welcoming environment for all, consistent with the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion program that CDPS launched nearly three years ago. 
  • We have an opportunity to strengthen the division structure and we intend to create a Deputy Director position to help the leadership team align around any additional reorganization needed and the path forward.   

The last 1,000+ days have been unprecedented in the state of Colorado. Since March 2020, DHSEM has risen to the immense challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest and most destructive wildfires in state history, civil unrest, the recent arrival of thousands of migrants, and a successful financial audit of the Disaster Emergency Fund, among other things. The staff of DHSEM have provided remarkable, effective care for the people of Colorado and service to our partners. Division personnel were incredibly dedicated to the mission and to make things work under extreme demands and the uncertain course of the last few years. I am proud of the work of our DHSEM employees and committed to implementing changes to continuously improve their workplace.”