The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) serves the citizens of Indiana, administering 65 tax types, processing millions of service transactions, and handling over $24 billion of tax revenue annually.
Implement organizational improvements to become the premier tax administrator in the nation and a great place to work.
Continually improve leadership, management processes, technology, service delivery, and employee engagement.
When Bob Grennes joined the DOR executive team in 2017 *, the leadership team immediately began an organizational modernization program to improve the organization’s overall performance and health. Collaborating with DOR leaders and its 700 employees, the team launched projects to improve leadership, management, communication, operations, and service delivery functions. The goal was to build a healthy, high performing, and continuously improving organization.
To achieve this goal, DOR’s leadership team knew they needed to align people and processes, and technology to achieve the desired improvements and deliver the best service to customers.
“In the end, it’s all about our people. Organizations are nothing more than a collection of people who bring their passions, skills, and diverse backgrounds to their mission. That’s what makes the magic,” said Grennes.
First, the DOR leadership team wanted honest feedback from team members on leadership, communication, training, job satisfaction, and work environment. They started with an employee survey of 12 questions, which received good participation, and provided leadership insight into the areas needing attention to improve employee engagement and trust.
Soon after, Grennes saw an article in the Indianapolis Star highlighting the local Top Workplaces award winners. The Star is a media sponsor of the Top Workplaces program, which Energage runs. Learning about this program inspired the DOR leadership team to take the next step to obtain more detailed feedback and analytics that could be benchmarked against organizations investing heavily in employee engagement.
DOR participated in its first Top Workplace survey in November 2017. Using a third-party survey built team trust, knowing feedback was voluntary and anonymous. In addition, it was a more scientific tool with advanced analytics. As expected, the 2017 results did not land DOR on the Top Workplace list, but the data provided leadership with invaluable insight about strengths to celebrate and areas that needed focused attention. DOR leaders analyzed the data and worked with Energage to develop action plans to celebrate successes and improve workplace culture.
The DOR team initiated various improvement initiatives focused on leadership, communication, training, and overall culture using the survey feedback. Through the dedicated work of team members across the agency, the organization gradually started building the culture it wanted. When team members retook the survey in 2018, employee satisfaction and engagement scores were much improved.
The entire DOR team was extremely proud to be awarded its first Top Workplaces award in 2019, becoming the first Indiana state agency ever to receive this prestigious employee-driven award. Since then, the DOR team has stayed committed to using the annual survey results to improve. The organization has been recognized as a Top Workplace every year since and earned a Top Workplaces USA national award in 2021.
“We didn’t let the enormity of the task stop us from trying,” said Grennes. “The entire team poured themselves into this organizational improvement project, and we have made steady progress every year. We celebrate this, but more importantly, we use the honest feedback to learn, grow and improve. It has become a passion, and we love the process.”
DOR employee participation in the survey has been strong, exceeding 85% each year. Employees trust that leadership truly cares about their input, that their voice is important, and that the survey is anonymous.
“Working with Energage was one of about 100 things we did on our improvement journey, but it was one of the most critical parts of the plan. Through Insights and the excellent assistance from Energage team members, we have made great strides on our quest to build an organization where people love to work, feel like they truly matter, are recognized for their contributions, and are growing both personally and professionally.”
The organization’s health, employee engagement, and trust in leadership built over the previous years became even more crucial when COVID-19 hit. DOR team members leaned on this foundation across the organization as they tackled the challenges presented in 2020 and 2021, including transitioning most staff to remote work.
DOR leaders turned to Energage in May 2020 and 2021 to conduct a Pulse survey to gain insight on how team members were feeling during the chaos brought about by COVID-19. The feedback was helpful, and the results were positive, indicating that team members continued to feel connected, supported, and appreciated.
“Before the pandemic, we had built a culture where we celebrated everything, including service anniversaries, employees of the month, great customer service, and other individual and team successes. We made a commitment to continue all those celebrations and to stay connected to employees, but in different ways, during our months apart,” said Grennes.
Today, the Indiana DOR is viewed as one of the leading revenue agencies in the country and is considered the nation’s leading motor carrier services organization. The team’s recognition as a Top Workplace helps tremendously with employee recruitment and retention.
“Our team cares deeply about what we do and whom we serve. We also care about each other and our work environment. We are proud to have an attractive culture that inspires people to join our team,” said Grennes. “We work hard to nurture and protect our culture. It helps us inspire people to build a career with us and to grow personally and professionally while serving their fellow Hoosiers and having a lot of fun.”