In 2016, the Stillwater City Council listed exceptional customer service and a diverse city government workforce where customers and employees feel respected and valued as one of its strategic initiatives. Since that announcement, the City of Stillwater has collaborated across its departments to develop a citywide Standards of Excellence program to recognize and encourage these qualities throughout the organization.
“This is an idea we’ve thought about for a long time,” Training Coordinator Lisa Jones said. “Although we visited with other companies that have done similar programs, it was really important for us to make it our own and let the employees capture what they do best.”
To bring the idea to life, Human Resources recruited a committee of 17 team members who exemplified customer service within their departments to develop the standards.
The committee started meeting in May 2016, engaging in rich and lengthy discussions on the customer service values that define who our team members are, how we work and interact with one another and how they guide our service to the public.
In March 2017, the committee completed its final vision for the Standards of Excellence program. Next, the City Manager’s Office, Human Resources department and the Marketing and Public Relations Office planned how to showcase the standards to staff and the public.
“We’ve spent over a year working together to define our customer service values,” Deputy City Manager Dan Blankenship said. “We wanted to take our time and get it right.”
The Standards of Excellence are:
“These standards represent the type of service that we are committed to providing to our citizens and each other,” City Clerk Elizabeth Chrz said. “It was by far the most rewarding committee I’ve served on.”
Each standard has a detailed description and subcategories of additional values that explain what each standard means. In the next few months, the City will post artwork highlighting the Standards of Excellence in city buildings to serve as a reminder of our promise to the community.
Human Resources will also integrate the standards into hiring, onboarding and training processes to ensure newer team members learn and understand the value the City places on service.
“We are public servants, and our job is to serve the residents and visitors of Stillwater,” City Manager Norman McNickle said. “We’ve always had these standards, but now we’ve given it a name and a purpose within our organization. We will continue to strive to provide great customer service.”