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Large Business WPE: City of Yuma
On nearly all of the Workplace Excellence Award nominations for the city of Yuma, the word “family” was included. “It is like a big family,” said nominator Flora Hatch, while Elizabeth Davis said “the city and the Information Technology Services department provide a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘extended family.'”
The city of Yuma is being honored with first place in the large business category for the 2010 Workplace Excellence Awards.
Yuma is growing, and the city supports the diverse community with a large (1,029 full- and part-time employees) and multifaceted organization built upon on a foundation of accessibility, commitment, innovation and communication.
According to Greg Wilkinson, Yuma's city administrator, management has worked hard to create an open-door policy that has been particularly critical over the past year as the city faced furloughs and increased workloads. Additionally, management has created a culture where employees know that the entire team always gives its best effort. The commitment extends to the city leadership as well so that “employees are encouraged to find better, more efficient ways of doing things, and are free to bring those ideas forward to be put into general practice,” said Wilkinson.
Roberta Ukura, an assistant director for the city, agrees that all staff members are motivated and work together to help the team function more efficiently. “Ideas are garnered from all levels of the organization and are considered in goal-setting and programming decisions.”
Because the city employs so many members of the community, various avenues of communication are used to keep everyone informed about other departments, human resources issues and other dealings. For example, SOURCE (Sending Out Unedited Reliable, Consistent E-mails) is a human resources newsletter that addresses questions and concerns regarding human resources. An advisory employee group was recently formed so that representatives from all departments can meet to discuss issues like employee benefits, hiring practices and administrative practices.
The catastrophic leave donation program with the city has been particularly useful for employees. Started in 2001, the program allows employees who have a grave injury to request up to 480 hours of donated leave from their co-workers. Wilkinson said that “since the successful implementation of this program, all 75 participants received donations from their fellow employees to get them back to work.”
— By Molly Blake, Special to Yuma Sun