Hi Everyone,

Well, yesterday marked an anniversary of sorts. It has been exactly six months since the first official shelter-in-place order was implemented. As I spoke to our management team yesterday, I found myself wanting to point out accomplishments and successes, but I could not help but notice the toll that the pandemic, protests, and the recent fires have taken on so many people. There is simply some exhaustion in the workplace and at home. Here we are at the end of the summer and we can’t say that the horizon is any clearer than it was six months ago. In fact, there is still a lot of turmoil and chaos. My biggest takeaway is that we need to continue to spend more time and energy doing exactly what we have done well at CFCS over the last six months. We need to communicate a lot. We need to focus on employee morale. We need to learn how to serve families with renewed energy. I used to take it for granted pre-Covid that this came easy to most of you. Having worked hard on these three objectives, I realized it is to be repeated over and over.

Laying the Groundwork For the Future: Engagement in the Workplace

We have actually put a number of initiatives in place. We have three employee engagement initiatives that are getting off the ground. Most of you should know nothing about the progress of these initiatives yet, as planning them has taken over a month. On top of that, less than 10% of our 600+ employees will be directly responsible for bringing these projects to completion. What I can share with you is that we will attempt to involve every employee in various stages of these engagement projects. In fact, you may be asked to respond to surveys or tasks not knowing that your voice will be heard. Employee engagement starts with testing for our purpose and mission…

Recently, we launched Namely, which is an online platform for employee communications, some HR functions, and a social tool. The purpose of asking people to register or complete certain tasks is to give us a platform for future communications and surveys. We are going to be asking all employees to be active in Namely. Because it isn’t in our nature to do this voluntarily, we’ll be coming up with various tasks that ask for you to respond.

Over the last two weeks, we sent out a notice to all employees to complete a Performance Review in Namely. Most people have started the process, but there were some dioceses where this may have been confusing because of another online review process used by the diocese. In those cases, we asked the CFCS Director to come up with the appropriate set of next steps which in some cases meant delaying the Performance Review.

Now, I can tell you that I know of no one who likes to complete performance reviews, and fewer people that like to go over their review with their supervisor. We purposely created this review process to raise the stakes and to get everyone engaged in meaningful conversations. What we are looking for is a crucial conversation between a supervisor and their employee around our “core purpose,”  “core values,” and “strategic anchors.” If everyone at CFCS speaks to these topics, we have now engaged 600+ people in evaluating not only themselves but the organization as to how well we live out our mission. If we called this a survey, it would be taken less seriously. The fruits of 600+ conversations is that we open up and make ourselves more vulnerable. We often resist what will make us better.

Relating this conversation back to the past six months of the pandemic, we all know that we serve in a vital and important ministry. We haven’t performed at our best during this time, but it is in the conversation that we learn how we can become better. Think of what you have learned that will make you perform better in the coming six months.

So a good question to ask yourself is do I know the core purpose, the core values, and the strategic anchors? If you don’t, then that is the first place that we need to start. The next question is how well you live out those objectives in your job, and most importantly, how can we as an organization perform them better together?

So…if it seems like some of my messages begin to repeat something you heard six months ago, please realize that each of you has been an example of a ministry that doesn’t take itself for granted. We push ourselves to stay energized and ready to serve in these dark moments where many around us will struggle.

Thank you for continuing to respond to God’s call to serve.

With continued prayers for your well-being and that of your family,