OHR Spotlight

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Proof of Concept Wrap-up

In 2023, the Office of Human Resources (OHR) continued its Proof-of-Concept effort that sought to explore policies and processes that impact our ability to adapt in a workplace of the future. The team completed Phase 2, which consisted of addressing questions generated from a variety of data collection efforts from Phase 1 and allowed us to dive deeper into how each employee defines how they work. These efforts included collecting and analyzing data for five (5) key action items:

  • To evaluate and establish Organization or Cultural Norms;
  • To identify drivers of employee engagement and job satisfaction;
  • To identify and define OHR-wide Organizational Health Metrics;
  • To identify support and resources needed for hybrid meetings; and,
  • To evaluate ongoing space use and equipment needs.

Additionally, OHR completed Phase 3 to implement the solutions identified during Phase 2 and to close out the Proof of Concept. Part of this phase ushered in our OHR Homecoming event to help staff connect with each other as well as to wider OHR and NIH missions and launched the Engagement Activities Assessment efforts to evaluate organizational engagement and identify ways to improve in a virtual-first environment. Please read below to learn more about both of these exciting efforts.

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OHR Homecoming

Image of a large group of professionals in an auditorium looking at a screen.

As part of Phase 3 of the OHR Proof of Concept, OHR hosted an on-site collaborative event on the NIH main campus in Bethesda, MD in late July 2023.

The four goals of the event, named OHR Homecoming by its 18-member planning committee of employee volunteers across OHR, included the following:

  • To demonstrate meaningful presence with purpose;
  • To connect with co-workers, colleagues, and customers;
  • To experience the synergy of being on-site and with others; and,
  • To collaborate in, what now feels like, a novel way.

OHR Homecoming was the first on-site event since March 2020, but also had virtual options for those unable to attend.

During phases 1 and 2 of the Proof-of-Concept effort, OHR staff completed various surveys, answering questions about their engagement preferences in virtual and hybrid environments. Based on this feedback, the event featured an inspiring presentation by National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Director Dr. Eric Green on modern advances in genetics and OHR’s support to this important work. It also included opportunities for IC customer visits, project collaboration, team building, networking activities, and more.

Following the event, staff completed another survey, and that data showed that 91% of staff were either “Very” or “Somewhat Satisfied.” This high percentage of satisfaction along with other data from the survey presents a convincing indication that OHR met its four goals.

OHR Homecoming offered a meaningful experience, helped build connections with staff and customers, and helped our team further engage with the NIH mission.

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Engagement Activities Assessment

Image of a woman at a laptop completing a survey.

The Engagement Activities Assessment (EAA), a direct outcome of the OHR Proof of Concept, was designed to sustain and increase employee engagement in a virtual-first environment.

OHR is proud to share that historically, organizational engagement has been consistently high. The EAA sought to explore more about the drivers of engagement and job satisfaction, identify opportunities to enhance engagement, and collect information on activity delivery preferences. This was all accomplished through an organization-wide survey and 3 focus groups.

Participation in the EAA survey was positive, with over 57% of OHR staff participating and nearly 93% of respondents identified as local or non-local remote staff. The one area of improvement, rating an 82%, was staff feeling satisfied with their relationships in OHR Divisions other than their own, and requested more structured activities to help with this. Additionally, 23 staff members representing each of OHR’s Divisions participated in three virtual focus groups.

Findings from the focus groups included five major themes including a desire for more structured activities, appreciation for communication, interest in meaningful onsite presence, desire for connections across OHR, and desire for specific actions from leaderships. The EAA team recommended several opportunities to improve engagement such as enhancing intra-office communications and engagement offerings, coordinating more mission-connection events and ensuring staff have the bandwidth to participate, optimizing hybrid activities across OHR, and facilitating more opportunities for casual connections among OHR staff.

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