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OneVR Initiative - Help Increase Collaboration at VR SurveyMonkey

Q1 If you were 10x bolder, what big idea


would you recommend to increase the
likelihood of collaboration between work
groups at VR? Please include relevant
implementation steps for your idea.
Answered: 131 Skipped: 0

# Responses Date

1 Can we talk with VR in other States and evaluate the software they are using to manage their data? Can we just 1/24/2017 9:02 AM
purchase the same software? RIMS/STAR/Authorization application are not up to par. Its about time employees have
the right tools to do their jobs. Quit patching the sinking boat and get a new boat. The people making decisions about
this software are leading us in the wrong direction.

2 Leading practice organizations are moving from rate them to coach them. Even if your organization hasnt made 1/23/2017 3:08 PM
the shift, you can use the tools you have to motivate and inspire employees. Its not all about the form, the process, or
the system. Its about how you use them. For many employees, an "official" appraisal interview may be the only time
they get to have uninterrupted access to their supervisor. Said many employees from Vocational Rehabilitation
organization after their first formal performance appraisal, "In many years of work, that's the first time anyone has ever
bothered to sit down and tell us how we are doing." If your employees receive their annual performance evaluation and
are surprised by what they learn, its usually an indication that you did not give timely feedback throughout the year.
Many new counselors lack of proper training and they are forced to manage inherited cases within the unit without the
understanding on VR process and case management. They often are not receiving proper coaching but instead they
are forced to manage a case load and do their jobs effectively. And when the time of their appraisal arrives with an
average score surprised employees quickly become disengaged employees. Many Studies found that managers
ability to coach is the number one performance management challenge. But, when you complain about an
employees performance, yet rate them as satisfactory or above, you are not being honest. And, youre not being fair
to your strong performers. Crazy, preconceived ideas develop over time in all organizations. In the long-run, these
beliefs begin to work against you. If your performance management system calls for ratings on a five-point scale, for
example, and managers believe employees have to walk on water to earn a five, two outcomes result. First, top
performers are frustrated because they are being judged on an unfair standard. Second, the scale is now essentially a
four-level scale when the top level is not used. Solution: If your organization supports the idea that no one can earn
the highest rating on your performance evaluation scale, then its time to redefine the scale or get rid of it altogether. If
you are going to continue to rate performance on a scale, define what it means to earn each rating level and apply it
consistently.

3 The field staff need to all receive the same message and instructions on how to implement policy and procedure. 1/18/2017 9:36 AM
There should not be interpretations on how to do so that vary from area to area. Unit supervisors should not have their
own understanding, and counselors should not have their own way of doing things. Once we all are on the same page
we can become one VR. STAR and the WIOA process has been very confusing for field staff, we have received
different messages that often contradict what was said prior to the latest message. This needs to be resolved moving
forward to avoid any potential problems. The way things are going now, each area will be doing things differently
based on their understanding of what is expected.

4 Can't express enough the frustration VR counselors/supervisors feel - to increase collaboration the agency needs to 1/13/2017 10:30 AM
seriously re-evaluate salaries. This agency still represents some of the best and the brightest - (those that remain). As
we seek to assist persons with disabilities find employment to make ends meet, this agency has forgotten it's
employees who are struggling to do the same. Many employees are in foreclosure, unable to provide for their families
and having to seek second jobs. Bottom line the ones that remain are here because of the passion for what we do, but
how long can we continue at the detriment to our own families. We love our VR customers and are committed to their
advancement. Who is committed to the advancement of VR employees. VR needs to understand: "Clients do not
come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients."

5 If I were a 10x bolder I would want uniformity within the VR offices and better communication from upper 1/12/2017 2:31 PM
management. As so have already mention showing respect to all in the stressful job working with each other and those
in the community that come from different backgrounds and have a variety of disabilities when the approach our doors.
Sensitivity to others and their beliefs and culture and if you don't understand for each person to get know about the
different disabilities that we come in contact in our roles. Cost of living raise and a salary increase if much needed as
everything around us is going up and this would probably reduce the turn over in the division and build up the moral of
each person. To work for an agency for over 10 years without a cost of living raise is very hard. Teamwork ... let all
work as a team

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OneVR Initiative - Help Increase Collaboration at VR SurveyMonkey

6 Each Area (1-6) in VR seems to be able to disseminate and implement information in a relatively uniform manner. 1/12/2017 1:53 PM
However, there are considerable differences in the way the Areas (1-6) implement various VR practices, policy, and
services. Until it is determined "why" these vast differences exist, between the Areas, increasing collaboration between
work groups will continue to be difficult. Also, since the FL VR system consists of state and contracted private VR
offices, there is a need to share information that could change the mind set within the field staff. One common
misconception about the contracted offices is that the instituting of new private offices will cause state employees to
lose their jobs. A common misconception about the state offices is that since the accountability is different between
them and the contracted offices, the level of service provided by the state offices is mediocre. Therefore, a large rift
exists between state employees and contracted employees. I do not think that uniformity is a solution to VR's
problems, but rather, there needs to be a way to bring more unity and harmony to the agency as a whole. One way to
begin to create this unity is to find ways to for staff to interact with other staff all across the agency. For example, the
supervisors at all levels get together for training once per year, but even during this training the Area people seem to
stick together. Creating more activities, at trainings like this, that require people from various Areas to work together
could result in the sharing of new ideas or ways to problem solve as each discuss their own Area experiences. This
would also create new relationships wherein people will reach out to their new found "friend" in VR to work through
everyday problems together instead of only collaborating with their own Area people. This should not be limited to only
should supervisory staff who begin to collaborate with their peers outside of their own Area, but the supervisory staff
should also encourage their staff to do the same. This type of widespread dependence and reliance on one another as
an entire agency can begin to reveal some the difference between the various Areas. Revealing these differences
may open doors to not only a different perceptive on how to do things, but can also help the agency see if something
that is happening needs to have a more uniform way of being done. This would connect the field staff to the
administrative staff in Tallahassee to ensure collaboration truly becomes an agency wide event.

7 1. Provide new Performance Expectations for staff. WIOA has been out for years now, but staff do not know how to 1/11/2017 2:54 PM
prioritize their activities in light of trying to meet unwritten requirements while being held accountable to old standards.
The PEF provides the structure staff need to do their best work. 2. Make staff aware of a caseload budget and how it
impacts agency. How can we be good fiscal agents if there is no idea about how we contribute through customer
services to the overall fiscal health of VR. 3. Find some means to reduce hiring timeframes. Four months is too long to
wait on approval. Perhaps current employees being submitted for a higher position in the same agency can have
packages expedited given they have been vested in the system. 4. Route important notices through a single source.
Important emails come from so many sources, it is hard to know when to pay careful attention. 5. Decide when you
want information shared and maintain a standard delivery system. Some staff complain they don't get it in time to be
prepared, while others complain when they are given information before the update. 6. Have all authorizations use a
single system- all REBA or no REBA.

8 Remove "Supervisor Preference". If it is not in the policy, supervisors should not be allowed to act as if it is. That 1/11/2017 10:41 AM
divides each unit into their own entities. Create a training manual for new counselors that gives scenarios for them to
create in RIMS that combine both policy and software issues. If there is a standard training that covers both policy and
how to make it work in RIMS, VR would be more unified. Follow up training ongoing training for all counselors that
follows the same model would reinforce information. A statewide document imaging system would be great.
Telecommuting 2 or 3 days per week would help productivity and moral.

9 If I were 10x bolder, I would work with ALL areas of VR (from the Unit level, up to HQ and "upper administration") to 1/11/2017 10:37 AM
treat each other as professionals. Don't dumb things down, because that is condescending. Additionally, be positive. I
want to work in a positive atmosphere, and yet all I hear from the "upper administration" is gloom and doom, why
should I bother to work any harder if all that is being reported back to me are all the ways we (as one VR) are failing.
Implementation - change your attitude, focus on the positive and you will attain positive. We have been focusing on
the negative, we are attaining that. I find that at each Unit level, they are positive, it is not until we hear from HQ and
the "upper administration" that the gloom and doom comes. I am not saying view the world through rose colored
glasses, I am saying, maintain a positive atmosphere to get the best out of our talented work force. We have been
doing a poor job of that.

10 As some have already said it, better new counselor training. A lot of times, new counselors are stuck on something and 1/10/2017 2:45 PM
have to continuously ask for help. The person they made need is busy and they are uncomfortable with asking
someone else. Having people from Headquarters come down and spend the day/week out in the field and shadowing
the counselors to see what it is that actually goes on and to look and see where things could be better and improved.
More activities or fun events that mingle everyone, not just specific units. Being that I am new, I have no idea who
some of the people are that I work with or anyone at Headquarters or others in a different area. It would be fun to be
able to interact with others like that.

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11 As I see it, good management is pretty simple and straightforward--you make the employees happy, and they make 1/10/2017 10:25 AM
the customers happy. With our agency, I do not see a real effort to make the counselors happy, and the resulting
unhappiness undoubtedly has an impact on the level of customer satisfaction. I don't feel the counselors have a real
voice in the decisions being made in how the counselors do their jobs. This lack of control and the arbitrary decisions
being made about the Transition clients being assigned to caseloads without apparent consideration of the caseload
sizes already being served, add to the stress and unhappiness. Complaints are often dismissed with comments to the
effect that that's the way it is, and if you don't like it, get another job. There is little positive feedback, even when
customers make positive comments about the efforts of a counselor. It seems the focus is always on the negative
without adequate positive reinforcement. Employees are not robots, and VR employees serve people with severe
disabilities who need compassion and understanding. When employees are not treated with compassion and
understanding, they are crippled in their efforts to serve our clients.

12 The idea of One VR is a very good concept. Both State and Private offices should be on the same page. How is it that 1/10/2017 7:50 AM
Service Source can interview, hire a counselor or technician and complete all the paper work and have that individual
starting within a period of four to six weeks while with the State it takes three months or more? Since the Dept. of Ed
has to sign off on these applicants then there should be more than one persons to do so to speed up the process. A
good prospective candidate is not going to wait around for VR, they will find another job. Why do Service Source
counselors make more money than the VR counselors? Will we see a change now that we are One VR?

13 Why don't we use Document Management. 1/9/2017 1:12 PM

14 I have received feedback from new counselors that they would like more time for New Counselor training. There is a 1/9/2017 8:30 AM
lot of information shared and more time spent in training seems to be the consensus.

15 I realize that the our requests for raises fall on deaf ears. It is not on anyones agenda to fight for us to get raises 1/6/2017 4:12 PM
because of fear on how the public would view state employees receiving raises. I understand this. What I do not
understand is how we can be expected to do our jobs without the tools we need. I came to VR from a less stressful
job performing many of the same duties I do now at VR, but was paid $20K more annually. In addition, I had all of the
tools necessary to get my job done, if I did not have a tool, all I had to do is request it. We had a database that
contained all of our student/customer records in one place, allowed us to scan records into the program, allowed
access to the program remotely while in the field, and rarely crashed! This was back in 1999! RIMS is antiquated and
useless. STAR and the authorization application are a joke. Our outlook is rarely stable enough to get us through a
week without crashing. Some days it takes 30 minutes to do a case review or send an email because of our decrepit
computers and network. We have a difficult time simply having a broken office door repaired because of all of the red
tape. Now, we are being asked to do more than ever before with the transition students and STAR system. We do not
have the tools we need. We have no incentives pay wise. We have been given insufficient training on how to take on
this enormous new process and yet are expected to provide excellent customer services without even knowing what
we are supposed to be doing! Then we have to deal with CAP when something goes wrong. And, whos idea was it
that one person, a VR Youth Tech could do this all alone? It is not surprising to me as a supervisor when I see good
people leave. It is also not surprising when I view the applicants for a position and see their decreasing qualifications.
It is simply becoming more and more difficult to staff an office with quality employees who are professional,
knowledgeable, and take care in their job. In order to become One VR, I believe several things need to be done. First,
we need to have the tools and training to do our jobs effectively. Would you get on an airplane that has an underpaid
pilot who just completed a one-hour webinar on how to fly a plane, who is behind the yolk of a plane that is poorly
maintained, and the onboard electronics could fail at any time? All field staff need more training in the beginning and
continuing training after they are hired to help them develop. They need more incentives like a pay increase to keep
them from looking for another job once hired. And, they need operating computers, printers, email and phones. All
offices should have a better way to communicate with a deaf customer other than paper and pencil, when an
interpreter is not available, this is 2016! We should do more to retain employees once hired. The glimmer of hope that
a raise could come next year goes a long way! I also believe that something needs to be done to ensure that a
customer receives the same level of services where ever they are served. Far too often I see customers requesting to
have a case transferred to another office because they know someone in that office who is receiving the services they
want. We all need to be on the same page! Counselors and offices looks bad when they are unable to meet
customers expectations with VR services. It does not help when another office or area has a reputation for writing
IPEs with unrealistic job goals, promising services that are not needed, and then transferring the case to nearby
offices where someone is actually doing their job, meets with the customer and tells them that a taxi driver is not a
realistic job goal for someone who is blind and epileptic! We need to get our act together and become One VR! There
is just too much variation and too many rebels in the field doing things their own way to achieve that goal right now.

16 COST OF LIVING HAS INCREASED, FOOD HAS INCREASED YET NO RAISE!!!!! AT LEAST WE SHOULD HAVE 1/6/2017 2:38 PM
COST OF LIVING INCREASE ANNUALY. THAT WILL SIGNIFICANTLY HELP!!!!! PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!! THAT WILL
BE OUR MOTIVATION IF WE CANT HAVE PAY INCREASED.

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17 I am a VR Supervisor, started in 2011 as a counselor. I have a Master's degree, over 10 years of counseling and over 1/6/2017 2:20 PM
16 years Supervisory experience yet my salary is laughable - under $44,000. If I did not have a pension from a
previous job I would not be able to survive off my salary which includes putting children through college. It is
absolutely sad; I am sad for those that do not have a pension - non the less we are poorly underpaid. It almost seems
like VR does not expect to hire and maintain competent, professional employees. The turn over is tremendous and so
are costs for retraining but VR/Dept. of Education has not found it important enough to fight for the employees as hard
as we fight for the customers. The result has been qualified, knowledgeable Master's educated staff leaving for better
paying opportunities and open positions being filled with less qualified personnel. It should be criminal that staff is
expected to be motivated and work hard to get customers employment we are having difficulties paying our own bills,
loosing homes and going into debt. No raise in 8 years, no cost of living increase, equals VR staff is making less and
less every year. In addition to salaries being low - you have counselors/consultants earning more than supervisors in
many cases. You tell me how you can be motivated under these circumstances. I am blessed and therefore I am
grateful, however one can't help but feel taken advantage of. For implementation - Let's take a real honest look at
salary. Certain areas of Florida are extremely costly to live in - Palm Beach and Miami for example. Let's look at other
agencies, other state's VR salary and other agencies who do similar work. Pay people commensurate to their degree
and experience. Salary range should not cross over positions - very easy to fix. Supervisors should never make less
than the staff they are responsible for managing. Adjusting salaries and making employees feel valued is the best way
to increase moral and productivity. At this rate, staff continues to go through the motions - just meeting standards and
doing the minimum or just above. Happy, valued VR employees will make happy valued VR customers. Stop asking
employees to provide to our customers that which VR is not providing to it's first customers - the VR STAFF. If the
cost of living increases and VR salaries continue to decrease - I am afraid of what will remain. We have been asked to
be humble and tip toed around this subject for far too long - when will the executive staff fight for the counselors and
supervisors.......We are the backbone, we are VR.

18 As a VR counselor I feel very frustrated knowing that we have no incentives for the amazing job we do. I have been 1/6/2017 1:52 PM
working for this agency for more than five years and have not received a salary increase despite the knowledge and
experience I have accumulated all these years. We are VR Counselors and sometimes you don't even have the time
to provide guidance and counseling to your clients due to the amount of time you have to use in paperwork and the
large case load. We need more counselors in the unit to perform our job better and a pay raise to keep the good
professionals that are leaving VR because the poor salary.

19 While I agree with most of the comments I've read, my particular difficulty was in the area of RIMS. I found it 1/6/2017 1:43 PM
inefficient and without the flexibility needed to address some issues. Specific training should be provided if we are to
continue using this module. However, my suggestion is to revamp RIMS so there is an easily accessible flow of
movement between screens and/or clients. As it stands now, you can only access a single screen of information at
any given time. This will allow for less frustration and faster service when interrupted with questions regarding a
different case while working on a case.

20 Thank you for the opportunity to give an opinion. This idea is to maintain collaboration within a unit. The reason I am 1/6/2017 1:41 PM
writing this is that I believe breaking up Area 4 should be reconsidered. I can only speak to the atmosphere of
camaraderie and feelings I get when I go to each office. I am a 6 year OPS VR Tech employee in area 4 and I travel to
all the offices in the area for my job finding vendors and working to retain the vendors we lose. My job is not directly
involved with clients or their programs so this is just a broad observation. Perhaps, I am in a unique position to make
this observation as I have no supervisory or administrative powers and therefore no one has to put up a false front
when I go to the various offices in Area 4. I have witnessed a strong cohesion of duty to the clients and co-workers at
all the offices I have visited throughout past 6 years, bar none. It is really quite remarkable, given all the variables
working for the state that there is such a unique sense of family and duty. I really like the people who work here
because they are worthy of admiration. I believe that this directly comes from the solid top down leadership in Area 4
all the way to my level as an OPS. This is a good place to be and I have nothing to gain by bringing this up. I am not a
youngster and I have seen companies and governmental agencies dissect general operations to handle larger
situations with long term negative effects and I do not know if this would happen here but from what I have seen from
my wide-ranging past I believe it may, probably not so much in productivity but in atmosphere. VR is a great operation
and maybe atmosphere was considered in the overall decision, its way-way above my pay grade, so if it was
considered, thank you, if not maybe it should be. The easiest way to know is to ask if everyone wants to do the
change. Change is often times uncomfortable and inevitable and personally, change is not a bad thing, but from where
I sit sometimes it is a better thing to build something new from new parts than break up something existing to build
something new. Maybe these words are too late but I thought I would step up and try. If I have chosen the incorrect
forum, I apologize in advance. Thank you.

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21 I think new counselors are lacking training. The training given in HQ is not generally about vocational case work, that 1/6/2017 1:33 PM
is what counselors receive when they return to their respective offices. In many cases they do not have a VRS who
knows what he/she is doing and the counselor is therefore, not provided proper training. They do not have a good
foundation about VR and many get frustrated and leave. While it is a good idea to promote counselors due to their
hard work, good case management and successful closures; there are times when supervisors are hired from the
outside with no VR knowledge and little management skills. They have to depend on the consultant (if there is one)
and senior counselors to help them understand the work. It is like giving someone a semi-truck to drive when he/she
has no drivers licenses and no experience driving that kind of vehicle. There is sure to be disaster! When there is a
management meeting in HQ, Service Source managers usually have a conference call the next day and provide the
supervisors with whatever information was discussed. The State offices have to wait until there is an ALT meeting to
get the same information. Why couldnt the AD or AS have a conference call the next day as well? After all we are
One VR! I do not agree with doing work from home because we have access to consumers personal information and
there is always the chance of a breach of confidentiality. We have 8 hours of work time and we should learn to
manage that time. It would be a good idea for Supervisors to have in-service on Time Management. To boast moral
when counselors do a good job on a case they should be told so, often all we here is when we do not make the right
decisions on a case.

22 We need to permanently eliminate counselor (both state and private) evaluation based on rehab rate. I have been a 1/6/2017 12:25 PM
counselor for many years, and the rehab rate is a hindrance to effective case management. Counselors and
supervisors are hesitant or unwilling to close cases that need to be closed due to consumer non-compliance.
Counselors and supervisors spend time trying to figure out which cases can still be closed, while maintaining the
required rehab rate for the individual counselor or unit. When a consumer is not cooperating, the case is often "nursed
along" until the counselor and supervisor feel that it is "safe" to proceed with closure. I understand the initial rationale
behind the rehab rate, but on a practical level, it just does not work. I would even dare to say that, instead of having a
set rehab rate, it would be fair to increase the standards as far as eligibilities, plans written, and successful closures.
When counselors hold the cases of non-compliant consumers open, only three things result: 1. The consumer learns
that there are no consequences for non-participation. 2. The case still ends up unsuccessful, but often with higher
expenditures because it was not closed, and 3. The counselor expends valuable time that could have been better
spent on cases that would lead to a successful outcome. Thank you for your consideration of our ideas. VR is a great
program and we have so much potential as a team. I hope that we can continue to grow as a team and enjoy many
successes in the upcoming year.

23 Revamp the entire HR department and its processes: . It has been my experience as a supervisor for many years, not 1/6/2017 11:48 AM
only with VR, that in order to increase morale you need to fairly compensate your internal employees so that they feel
valued, respected and treated as educated professionals for the work that they do. As a supervisor, I support and train
my staff so that they can make confident decisions on their cases, I am as flexible as I possibly can be with their time
as long as if falls within their work schedule and policy, I treat my employees with respect and professionalism, I
provide consistent positive feedback and discuss areas where they could improve, I practice an open door policy, we
have monthly employee luncheons, teambuilding activities, however, there is so much that I can do as a Supervisor to
increase employee morale. The bottom line is that employee morale is low because they are not being compensated
fairly across the board for the work that they do which in turn does not make them feel valued as professionals. State
workers have not received any salary increases or bonuses in years but then again VR hires someone from the
outside and gives them a higher salary then what we pay our internal talented and very knowledgeable employees.
Salaries for each position need to be analyzed and compared to industry standards, as the cost of living has
increased. Salary ranges needs to be capped out for each position and there should not be any overlapping salary
ranges between positions as this also greatly lowers employee morale, it shows salary inequalities and unfairness
between positions, it increases turnover within the unit and in an entire area, as a result this increases hiring and
training cost for VR. HR should be in charge of creating and developing programs and activities to increase employee
morale for each area. HR needs to work on a process to shorten the length of time it takes to get an approved hiring
packet as the current process is way too lengthy and takes over 2 months to make an offer or to promote a current
employee. As a Supervisor it takes a lot of time to Review, screen applicants, set up interviews, select questions,
interview candidates, complete a recommendation packet, that by the time the packet is approved the supervisor is
hoping that the recommended applicant has not found another job. Area HR needs to have more responsibilities in
this area working with the recommended applicant putting the packet together, setting up fingerprints, calling
references, on-boarding setting up mentors- as these responsibilities can be overwhelming to supervisor who has all
the other responsibilities to run and manage a unit.

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24 I'm pretty new, but I think the #1 thing that I'm noticing keeps morale really low is that apparently there hasn't been any 1/6/2017 11:11 AM
raises for an extremely long time....I heard almost ten years? I know with the Federal government and even the county
employees at the very least get annual cost of living increases & raises aren't so far a few between, so the employees
stay motivated & loyal. I hear & see for myself that VR seems to have a very high turn over rate & I think it has to do
with the pay situation & not about people disliking the job itself. It appears that the work & responsibilities increase, but
the pay does not. It seems that everyone loves their job, but get down about this issue. My last job I made way less
money than I'm making now, so I'm happy & motivated, but it is kind of disheartening to know "this is it" as far as future
pay increase opportunities & that I'd most likely have to leave a job I love if I wanted/needed to make more money.
Also, I'm interested in getting my masters in Rehabilitation Counseling to get my CRC, but I'm not sure all the years of
effort/stress would even be that worth it if I plan to stay with FL VR, so that kind of kills my motivation. The only
motivation I would have about getting my Masters would be to do VR in a different state or with Federal Government. I
think others might feel the same about furthering their education & FL VR will ultimately lose competent employees
over this & that's not good. I know there's a $3,000 salary increase, but spread out monthly after taxes, it's not that
much. I can feel that strain on the employees that have been with the agency 5+ years & there's no incentive to go
above & beyond, so maybe people just do enough not to get fired. I think this atmosphere eventually bleeds into the
atmosphere of the services & experience at VR for the Customers. If you look at the new companies that are thriving,
it's usually because they've kept their employees happy with other incentives besides the threat of termination. Also, I
feel that VR employees don't really know the latest technology for persons with disabilities & I find that kind of odd
because maybe if we were more aware of what's out there we could purchase these items to help our Customers be
as successful as possible. As far as team & relationship building activities, I saw that another local social service
agency took their team to one of those new "Escape Room" adventures that are everywhere now, which seems like a
great & fun idea because you have to work together as a team to put together the clues to escape out of the rooms.
Another thing that has been a little odd has been that on several occasions, with several different VRC's, the
Ombudsman Dana seems to be acting as a VRC & suggesting to the Customer that their VRC should be providing a
specific service, but he suggestions are usually not appropriate for the situation, so then the Supervisor, VRC, & Area
Supervisor are left dealing with an upset Customer because "Tallahassee said..." I just feel that she shouldn't be
giving inappropriate advice until she knows the situation better because she'll realize after the fact, but it's too late
then because now the Customer is more angry. I feel she's more in favor of the Customer & not "impartial", so the
VRC's feel attacked until we can show that the complaint is baseless.

25 The simple fact that you are asking this question is promising to me. And the fact that we have some dynamic and 1/6/2017 9:56 AM
innovative thinkers in HQ is also encouraging. Many of the suggestions our colleagues have made here to date are
outstanding ideas and worth considering, therefore I will not repeat that long list. You already have them. My thoughts
of what might improve collaboration within VR is what I believe directly effects how well our mission is carried out at all
levels. It is quite simple, actually. I believe it begins with the building of relationships. Employees need to be able to
have competent leaders and to be able to trust the people who are leading them. Asking this question is a good first
step in moving toward the building of those relationships. An additional step would be traveling around the state to the
different areas and listening to the people who are in the "trenches." Meet with unit staff and build a relationship of
respect and trust. My belief is that this will lay the foundation on which to build toward increased collaboration within
VR.

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26 1) Pay raise: In my opinion this is ludicrous to hear no pay raise in many years. Holy crap. If you are hired in one 1/6/2017 9:34 AM
position and cant move due to children going to school or whatever reason, then you are stuck with the same salary
for the rest of your time in that position. I know some VR counselors who have been in the same position for decades
but their salary does not reflect their knowledge and skills they have accumulated. Quite frankly its a little
discouraging. I mean only way to get a pay raise is if you apply for senior positions. It almost feels like VR is
encouraging the high turnover for VR. For students the counselors salary is just enough to pay all the bills and buy
great value groceries. It almost makes the Great state benefits not worth having. I think its only fair and time for the
pay raises to the state employees in general (If we have a say in it of course). 2)Hire more counselor: If we cant give
pay raises to counselors or consultants, then I think we certainly have the power to create more positions. For the
amount of salary, we are make compared to the OVERWHELMING caseload, again its almost not worth it. The
responsibilities of the counselors keep increasing; however, the pay is not. One of the possible solutions would be to
hire more counselors. This would enable all the counselor to have a stable, effective and manageable caseload. I
mean 100 200 people case load is just overwhelming, and you know it. Its only science that no matter how good of a
multi tasker you are, just by the sheer number on your case load you will make mistakes or miss deadlines, which
could be quite harmful for the clients. I believe the salary should reflect caseload, and if we cant raise the salary we
can definitely hire more counselors. Win win situation. 3)Time: I feel like I am being baby sitted uponJESUS. If get
in the office early, then I cant leave early. If I get in the office late, then I cant stay in the office late (even if I want to-
some clients can only make it after 5 pm). There is no over pay, however if I am 7.5 minutes late then .25 of my
annual leave is gone. It makes me feel like if I am on going to be 7 minutes late, might as well be 15 minute late. What
kind of system is this? There is no trust in the employees. I know my responsibilities, yet I am being treated every day
like I dont. This really grinds my gear because it does not account for being late that is out of our control. What if your
tires blow out on the middle of the highway or your cars get broken into or a major accident had occurrednope Im
sorry your annual leave that you have been trying to save is gone! I dont know what would be an effective solution to
this, however the current system does not work in my opinion. Its quite de-moralizing frankly. We are work specialists,
but cant figure it outits humiliating. Perhaps If we are late then allow the employee to make up that time. Put a cap
into how much one can make up time in a week. There has to be a solution, there always is. We cant always think
problem oriented, more often than not we have to be solution oriented.

27 A medical professional on staff. We reports are received from medical doctors, we spend a great deal of time trying to 1/5/2017 5:19 PM
figure out - is there a real disability or not? Medical doctors generally don't state in clear terms that yes, Mr. Jones's
back prevents him from working...

28 Go to a computerized system with no paper files. I would imagine RSA will make this a reality at some point so why not 1/5/2017 5:09 PM
implement the change before hand and work out all the kinks. All legal/signed documents would be attached to a case
note or scanned document. Ex. The application is filled out in the computer system. Then reviewed with the client, the
client is given a copy, and there is the signed portion scanned into the application. Same for the FPA and so on. This
is faster and more accurate. Increase the pay to keep staff who are at the top of their games. If you want talented
people to stay in their positions then the pay needs to reflect this. The pay should be no lower than the national
average for VR so all staff can have a living wage. More work and less talk. We have so many meetings about how to
implement ideas when common sense ideas are evident and clear cut. Create a sound idea, don't talk it to death, and
implement for success relevant to what topic is identified. Make sure people who are not familiar with the computer
systems and other work mechanisms are properly trained. My VR knowledge is broad, but several days of training to
simply learn the computer system would have saved mounds of time. FL is a great state to work in and live. Keep the
people here who would otherwise leave due to opportunities in other parts of the country that pay 30%-60% more
yearly. Give yearly merit based raises. I am very thankful to have my job and I love the great state of FL. These facts
would help with turnover and create a level of continuity that is second to none when you have less turnover. The
longer teams work together the more successful they will bring. Find ways to provide incentives so people will stay on
board. I see so much turnover. I would imagine the yearly costs of training new hires could be used to pay the talented
people who are here. We provide our clients with great services to find careers. We have Master's Degrees for the
most part. This should be reflected in the pay. Thank you and Happy New Year!

29 Not to sure if this is what you may be looking for but I would love to see a better working relationship with regard to 1/5/2017 4:56 PM
personnel office(s) with regard to hiring process. case in point, interview in October 2016, packet sent to area office in
October 2016, packet sent to Tallahassee personnel in November 2016, commissioner signs off on packet November
19th, 2016, packet goes back to VR personnel November 23rd, it is now January 2017 and still no final approval. 3-4
months for a streamlined system??? Unfortunately this appears to be the rule and not the exception. Had to re-
advertise for a position because the process took so many months the interviewee accepted another position and the
shame was that the individual recommended was already a VR employee of 3 years so why did it still take over 3
months. There has to be a way to really streamline this process as we lose qualified individual because other
agencies snatch them up because they are able to move through the hiring process faster and we discourage VR
personnel looking for promotional opportunities because that process takes just as long. How do we implement steps
to streamline hiring process, maybe cut out some of the hands it has to go through. If the applicant recommended has
been vetted by VR personnel why does it have to go up to the DOE commissioner for review and signature then back
down to personnel to finish the hiring process? Is there a way to have all of this in one office where all the signatures
can be obtain instead of from office to office

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30 Close up the pay gap between VRT's and the counselors. While no one is getting rich, the difference between the 1/5/2017 4:43 PM
counselors pay and the VRT's is too much and not right. Take a look at some of the hard working folks who have been
with VR for decades and make less then an entry level counselor. Everyone does deserve a raise, but the gap
between pay of the techs and counselors is too great. Close that gap and there will be better collaboration between
the financial side and counseling services.

31 My big idea is to hire two (OPS?)part-time employees (students, retirees or young adults) to answer the phones in VR 1/5/2017 4:37 PM
immediately. Our secretaries and administrative assistants are overworked and under paid. They help process bills
almost daily, just like a Vocational Rehabilitation Technician, but for some reason those same people can't get
promoted. It's heartbreaking to know that someone can come off the street, get a VRT position and have to ask the SS
and AA for directions! Step 1. Ask VRCs if they have a potential candidate Step 2. Interview Step 3. Decide
immediately who gets the position Step 4. Push the paperwork thru quickly Step 5. Hire the candidate RESULT =
moral will increase, work will be more accurate because they are not stressed and pressured to rush and
secretaries/AA can do what they expected out of the job verses answering the phone for 4 hrs, while thinking about
the mail that's piling up in their in-box.

32 Make customer service a statewide primary objective. Require ALL staff to complete training on ways to improve 1/5/2017 4:26 PM
customer service by completing training modules covering topics such as: using language that portrays our customers
positively, understanding how our perceptions of people work to frame the way we act and speak about customers,
handling difficult customers, helping to build safe and secure office environments, dealing with worksite emergencies,
etc. Steps: Establish improving customer service as a major statewide objective. Develop a series of training modules
covering various customer service-related topics. Make completing the training modules mandatory for ALL staff.
Reward staff who demonstrate positive customer service with small "tokens", such as additional casual days, low-cost
items, lunch with the boss, features in the newsletter, a reserved parking space, an employee's photo in the lobby,
praise during a staff meeting, etc. --it does not need to be costly Write performance expectations to include customer
service for ALL staff. Communicate to customers how we value excellent customer service by including messages
regarding this on rehabworks.org, in posters developed by our Communications staff that are displayed in all of our
customer waiting areas. Emphasize customer service during all phases of recruiting and hiring of staff by: making sure
a customer service item is one of the "screen-out" items on the application, including questions regarding customer
service-related topics during interviews, stressing customer service while on-boarding new-hires.

33 Hiring new staff is a nightmare right now. Many employees are not able to stay with VR because they haven't had any 1/5/2017 4:24 PM
raises in 8 years. It really has hurt staff that are in the Investment Plan and ready to retire. Less money to live on
when that wonderful day comes, if it does........... Replacing staff that leaves, takes more than 3 months, as staff are
doing two and three jobs until the replacement comes. The process in Tallahassee is one of the hold ups and staff are
tired and discouraged, with more and more work piling up as we try our best to put the disabled back to work. Field
staff are working very hard with our teams that believe in VR's Mission Statement and are encouraged when our
clients get jobs. Their life is turned around!! In the meantime, VR staff is suffering in ways I don't think anyone
understands. I know of a staff member that has worked hard for VR for 11 years, high performance grades, promoted
several years ago and still makes $11.75 an hour. How can this be? Doesn't anyone know about this? The young ones
that have been hired don't stay long, on to higher wages. They have college degrees and student loans, but jobs are
out there for them. The die-hards try to stay in hopes of a better tomorrow for them and their families, but not so, as
yet. We all know our jobs well and are trying to do every new step VR has asked us to do. Time is running out for
some dedicated staff that has stayed around for years, having to work longer years just to make ends meet WHEN
they retire. Maybe these suggestion will help the future generations that are coming into VR (our office, too). We need
to learn to give people wages that they work hard for and build a better VR team in Florida. After all, we are dedicated
to putting the disabled back to work so they can be productive and feel good about life. How about VR employees?
Thank you.

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34 1). Better communication across the board. As a VRT I find that just as I am learning the proper steps and 1/5/2017 4:09 PM
requirements to submit a particular type of authorization to Financial, the requirements change and often times my
authorization is returned before I know about the new requirements. Monthly updates should be given by financial so
VRTs have a chance to incorporate new requirements before they are held accountable for something they have of
way of knowing. Also, if an employee asks for assistance with something and reaches out a through response should
be given. As someone who is relatively new I have found that responses to my questions are more often than not one
sentence shorthand answers. None of us should assume that the person asking the question knows what someone
means by an acronym or take for granted that someone knows the steps to take to accomplish what is being eluded
to. No one should feel to intimated to ask a question that will help them do their job better. 2). Have a tool in the
Authorization app that allows for scanning and electronic submission of authorizations and all required backup. As part
of this tool, allow backup to be scan and held until all paperwork is received for final submission. Reports from vendors
should also be allowed to scan into RIMS for direct submission to the counselor, allowing for faster eligibility
determination, faster payment to the vendor and better direct service to clients. 3). Currently when an email is sent a
customer, a case note is automatically put in. The same mechanism should be used for authorizations. When a VRT
cuts an authorization a case note should be sent with the authorizations #, date of service, vendor and client name.
This way the VRT can add a quick note and save. This would be such a great help and allow the VRT to cut more
authorizations in a shorter period of time. 4). Technician Training needs to be given to all new Techs so that we are all
on the same page. 5). Recently VRTs have been asked to obtain an invoice for billed Durable Medical Equipment.
This is redundant as the same exact information is on the bill. Many vendors do not want to provide this. It makes
more work for the staff and the vendor. This is going to end up causing a loss of vendors and is completely
unnecessary. 6). Every client is a person their situation needs to be looked at in its entirety. Rehabilitation is the goal
of course, but if true independence is to be achieved, longevity of the rehabilitation must be considered. People are
more than a 26. Thanks for the opportunity to share!

35 1. Become completely paperless. I worked at Arkansas Rehabilitation Services during my practicum/internship, and 1/5/2017 3:54 PM
they became paperless during that time. They must scan all documents into the case management system and then
immediately shred them. They are not allowed to have paper documents and were in the process of removing file
cabinets when I was leaving there. They also now have signature pads to use for customer signatures. To get anything
approved, they simply send it through the case management system, and it alerts the person through email that they
have something to review. Then, the entire case is at their disposal for review and it can be approved from anywhere.
2. Become wireless. Again, when I worked for ARS, every counselor had a laptop with wifi and a secure VPN. We
were required to work in the field 2 days out of the week, so we took our laptop, wifi/VPN, and signature pad into the
field and could easily move cases from 00 to 12 in about half an hour, given we had the information needed from the
customer. This would streamline case process, reduce inefficiency and confusion, and better serve individuals. 3. Go
ahead and get rid of RIMS. It is very outdated, does not do what it was created to do, and is in no way user friendly.
We are moving all of our tools to web-based applications anyway (contracts, authorizations, employment), so just
make it official. Again, this would be more efficient due to the time it takes to navigate RIMS, reload it when it crashes,
redo the work that had not saved when crashed, and due to the archaic functionality of the program in general. 4. Get
rid of the Employment Services Contracts. This is a terrible waste of money. Most of the time my customers find their
jobs on their own, can do resume building at Career Source, and do not need an OJT no matter how many times the
ES wants to do one. Additionally, when I worked at ARS, we had one Placement person on staff in our office. Cases
went to him when they were ready for employment. We did have a couple of vendors who provided this privately, but
we rarely used them. For what we pay contracts, this position would pay for itself in a year or 2. 5. Reduce restorative
services costs by staffing physicians. At ARS there is a psychologist on staff in field offices that does evaluations.
There is a medical consultant on staff in Little Rock that will review any record you send (via email) and send you an
email response with a functional capacity opinion attached. Also, most prosthetics/orthotics are considered work
accommodations there, so the customer has to have proof of taxed wages during the tax year (or the year prior
depending on date) in order to receive hearing aids, glasses, etc. 6. Be consistent with information. Many times
counselors are told things by a liaison, tech, supervisor, etc. that is not correct. Then, once it is done the way we were
told to do it, someone from the Area and/or Headquarters is calling the counselor asking why in the world they did it
that way. Well, we were told to do it that way. The information given to counselors on many things, most recently Trial
Work and Contract Referrals, is just incorrect. Though we were told to do it that way, it is still our responsibility when it
is done incorrectly. No one cares that someone above us specifically said "do it this way."

36 Substantial pay raises to begin with as well as yearly raises to combat inflation. 1/5/2017 3:53 PM

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37 After reading the comments already sent in... I'm not sure I have anything new to say. However I want to indicate that I 1/5/2017 3:50 PM
personally haven't had any issues regarding collaboration within VR. VR personnel for the majority are a very good
bunch of hard working individuals focused on the success and benefit of our consumers and each other. I will address
Areas which have bothered me this past year: I have found it difficult to successfully use our technology at times, but
I'm old and sooner than later I'll be out of here, but having the most up to date technology will be an ongoing cost and
concern. Computer Trainings need to be Simple to Understand, using consistent language, and should be able to be
printed (flow chart style for me) for review. More Options for Trainings - some people like to visit or train in person,
others are busy and should be allowed to view trainings via internet. Mandatory trainings should be announced to
allow time for inclusion in our calendars. As a School-to-Work Counselor I schedule appointments WEEKS in advance
and I agree it is unfair to our customer's, community partners and VR staff to have to reschedule due to a last minute
announcement of a mandatory training. The last instance occurred when I had planned Annual Leave, the only option
allowed to me was to either plan to come in or plan to drive an hour or more one way to another planned training site.
In this age of technology that was ridiculous. Every time we have asked for the VR process to be simplified - we get
more complications: I agree that the focus of VR seems be changing, it concerns me that we appear to be more
focused on Employment Placements than on services to assure success for greater independence for the consumer.
VR is not and should not be a fast tract, quick result program. We are working with individuals who generally have
multiple and significant limitations, which require considerable thought and effort in planning for their success. Which
brings me to VRC time management - yes I am a professional, an adult, a reasonable and prudent individual who
doesn't need someone looking over my shoulder and mandating when I am allowed to work. Sometimes I have to
work weekends and evenings over 5 pm. It isn't my preference to attend Agency Fairs on a Saturday morning or
needing to make a phone call after hours, or having to complete an initial interview which ran over. Language on
forms for Customers needs to be simplified for a 4th grade reading level. Form Letters should all have the ability to
allow for modification. I can't tell you how many times I am counting days and subtracting weekends and holidays so
that I can see and relate the actual times remaining for the successful completion of a status/task. REBA - mostly
good, placement vendors another issue. I've several who are submitting multiple monthly progress reports for no good
reason! Others that are prompting me by email to approve their reports or NOA's so that they can be paid. More issues
this year for vendor understanding what constitutes stability in a placement as more that the employer's satisfaction.
So I would suggest more Vendor training with consistent information between VR staff and Vendor Providers. TED a
great idea, but I am too busy working to make use of the offered trainings. This is just the tip of the iceberg but I've
already spent too much time doing this.

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38 Definitely agree with a lot of what has been said, but I would like to echo one in particular... I have often thought that 1/5/2017 3:29 PM
the idea of the TV show "Undercover Boss" would be a great thing for VR. Having been around for several years it
feels as if things get implemented without much thought being given about how those policies are really going to effect
the people doing the job. I like the idea of HQ staff and even unit supervisors taking one day/one week a year and
shadow us as we do the job or actually get their hands dirty again to see what it really entails. I just completed a
training presentation and a supervisor looked lost and asked questions indicating that they just had no idea how long it
takes to complete certain processes or paperwork. There is a disconnect and it is noticeable; from unit levels on up to
HQ. Maybe if something like that happened there could be more thought given to the implementation of pilot projects
or policies. It would be really tremendous for someone from RSA to actively participate in this as well. After you
haven't done case work for a while you do lose sight of what it actually takes to process a case from the beginning to
the end and this could be something that would bridge the disconnect in a major way. I really enjoy the time that I
spend with my clients; however being more of a case manager has forced me over the years to consider the clock
more and more. This is not fair to my clients or to me as a professional rehabilitation counselor. If I meet with a client
for an hour I know in the back of my mind that I cannot go over that because I have another hour of paperwork to do
on that client when they leave. 26's are GREAT but get put off most times from getting done because I need an hour
to close just one case successfully. The paperwork and processes have taken away the personal approach to VR.
Especially with a certain pilot project that now requires a ton more paperwork all because counselors couldn't
document appropriately in a Prelim or Rationale. I agree that there needs to be a more unified or solidified policy vs.
best practice vs. supervisor requirements. There are so many loopholes, loose ends and undefined things that trying to
train someone or even apply something to your own case can get interpreted several different ways. It makes it hard
when receiving cases from other areas/units because things are always different. I read in one of the comments that
someone wanted less face to face training and another wanted more. I have witnessed over the years that with the
implementation of technology our time to build rapport face to face has decreased significantly. We used to have
ACED meetings quarterly and the ones near the holidays (Christmas) were more festive and we had team building
exercises which brought people from other units together to get to know one another. The tone of most of the ACED's
over the last couple of years has turned negative and there isn't much positive reinforcement for the hard work that is
being done. We know that things are changing and the powers that be have made it a little harder for us to do what we
need to do; why not build morale instead of having us consider if we need to look elsewhere for employment because
we are just being told that we are not doing our jobs well. I think if you look around you will see a committed people to
the mission, vision and purpose of this agency and I think we need to spend more time face to face and getting to
know each other instead of logging into TED and checking off some pre-recorded training mark for our files. The other
thing is this, I have mentored several people in my tenure with VR and I can tell you that now mentoring has become a
cumbersome task... Going back to the whole case manager vs. counselor reality it applies here as well. When I am
mentoring I know that I have to come back and log it into the computer and keep track of every time I am explaining or
teaching or showing how to do a step or process. This has taken the enthusiasm out of mentoring. I have a passion to
mentor, train and teach new (or even old) counselors; however it has become a very cumbersome process when tied
into the rest of the case management that we are responsible for. So, I honestly think that if VR was to truly become
One VR that there were be a streamlined process and policy then we could do away with the mentoring program by
assigning one or two people per area to be the sole mentors/trainers for the new employees. They would travel to the
different units and that would be their only job; to mentor/train those new employees for a designated period of time.
Kind of like the IT team, the mentors/trainers could be housed in a unit but travel as needed.

39 . Tech and Software - Use calendar sharing of your ins-outs, meetings with customer/staff. Service Source needs to 1/5/2017 3:21 PM
update their employees list of phone numbers and job duties. Eliminate paper by saving as much as possible in
electronic files. . Building activities - Unit meetings can consist of "what is your best asset" "what is your least" in your
duties? This may help in completing work faster. One VR tech may do things quicker than another, and or the other
support staff. . Alignment - Role play last 10 minutes at Unit Meetings. Counselor/customer, Customer/support staff. .
Structuring - I think many employees make decisions about their jobs already and sometimes not a good thing, since it
may affect other employees. We already have organized hours to work. At times this can leave one staff member to
work 2 or more hours/day on their own. . Increasing Collaboration - Once a month bag lunch with Career Source to
bring everyone up to date on any changes; Recruitments for the month, programs/dates, new staff/position. -Other....
Individuals working for the last 10+ years without an increase has been a hardship on most; especially those not
looking to change careers or goals and have a commitment to Vocational Rehabilitation. There are new employees
coming in at a higher salary than those working longer in the same position. VR Techs making more money than
support staff doing the same exact job (and most of the time support staff completing task more sufficiently) etc.

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40 Every leadership and management training I've attended teaches some of the same basic, foundational truths, one of 1/5/2017 2:58 PM
them being that leaders and managers 'set the example.' We are currently going through a lot of change, which is
mainly due to legislation. It seems that the leaders who communicate the changes from Headquarters aren't 'setting
the example,' because they don't seem to be communicating with one another in Headquarters. One program
manager says one thing, and then another one contradicts themselves, and the expectation is that field staff ignore the
mistakes and missteps and do their best at implementing the change, even when it seems disjointed and not well
thought out. Solution: Get Headquarters staff together and have some team building activities so staff there aren't
afraid to talk with one another, and, so staff can be bold enough to speak with each other and think things through
before communicating with field staff......so everyone can be on the same page. If you want a "One VR," you have to
'set the example' by having everyone sing from the same hymnal. Also, along the same lines of 'setting the example,'
please don't send emails to field staff that are negative and condescending. When I see such emails, I turn them off.
Set the example by being motivating, encouraging, and positive. If I want a good scolding, I'll listen to some of the
memories from my parents. At work, I would prefer to be treated like an adult, by an adult, especially if they are from
Headquarters. I prefer to work in a professional setting, with professionals.

41 I've been with VR 10 years & worked for the state 13 yrs so I think I know how the state offices work and understand 1/5/2017 2:56 PM
the politics. I do believe that there should be more training for Support staff. There's trainings for the New Counselors
but since I've been here there has only been 1 training for Techs unless they were the new STAR techs. We need
more training for the Secretary Specialist and Administrative Secretary's. I know the duties are a little different in every
office but the basic should be the same. I will be retiring in June and there is no training for the person who is taking
my place. If I knew it was someone already here I would be training them but my replacement will probaly not be
hired and working until I'm gone. I have tired to put things in place so the next person will have something to go by.
Daily duties, monthly duties and yearly duties with explaination of how to do them. I have a very busy STW unit so just
1 person out of the unit makes it difficult for all the unit and our clients. We also have a turnaround when someone
leaves that's too long. Can't we have a Counselor in every Area so that when a Counselor is out on medical leave that
"Floater" could carry the case load until the Counslor is back from medical leave. That "Floater Counslor" could work
out of the main office unless they were needed else where. I did this in banking and went to the other offices when
someone else was out. Between sick days and vacation days and the time between hiring, I always had plenty to do
and if I didn't I was stationed in the main office. I think you would find if the staff wasn't so overwhelmed with their
caseloads they would be happier and you would see better results. I know you can't decide on us a raise but I do think
since we haven't had a raise in over 11 years something should be done. I will probally be retired before anyone gets
a raise again but when we don't get raises we don't feel like anyone appreciates the hard work we do. If you ask
anyone who doesn't work for the state if they would keep their job for 11 years without a raise and they did a good job
would they still be at that job, They would all say no. So what does that say about us that have stayed.

42 VR Policy needs to be more concrete and have less "grey areas". Because the policy has so many grey areas, it 1/5/2017 2:47 PM
leaves a lot of interpretation to the counselors. This prevents consistency throughout VR. Of course there will always
be exceptions to the rule as each case is individual; however, a customer shouldn't be able to ask for another
counselor just so they can get a different answer because another counselor may interpret the policy in a different
way.

43 Thank you for this opportunity to share some open ideas. With the implementation of the new labor law (included & 1/5/2017 2:44 PM
excluded) it seems we all run to some sort chaos until it stopped recently. We are the Education Department and one
of the groups exempts from it are educators. If largely, we are part of it, can we all be consider exempt regardless how
much we make? That will help lots to complete our tasks with ease. Rural areas are no less in need of our services
than coastal urban ones. And Florida is mostly rural. Distances, lack of adequate means of communication and media,
therefore of information and resources, of providers availability, etc; are real barriers to services. VRCs and
administrators for those areas needs to be sensibilized, and trained, as well as to dispose of flexible time in order to
reach and provide for consumers living within those populations. Consumers time frames are not exactly VRs. They
come to us because they need assistance and have barriers to achieve employment. Providing them with flexibility and
the support that our resources allow, is helping them to become independent and achieve theirs and our goal. Closing
cases so quick and not using an * every once in a while, or the different steps, cases can park at, results in frustrating
every one and failing, wasting time and unnecessarily working double. Just, some thoughts.

44 If there are big projects that need to be accomplished there should be an opportunity to involve staff across bureaus. 1/5/2017 2:41 PM
This is how it would work. Concept - Developing Additional Opportunities for Youth to Gain Work Experience There
would be a leader content expert and there would be and agency-wide opportunity for folks to volunteer to be on the
team. If there were and overwhelming group of volunteers additional work groups could be constructed to offer
competing ideas. Challenges: Vetting participants: run the risk that folks might feel slighted if not chosen which could
lead to poor moral. Also group think - you might get a lot of like-minded folks which is just the opposite of what your
shooting for. Benefit: May get some new and really creative solutions to a problem. By the way the above "Developing
Additional Opportunities for Youth to Gain Work Experience" is a real idea that should be given consideration.

45 Telecommute 2 days a week. Used those days to complete paper work by using RIMS from home on VR laptops. 1/5/2017 2:39 PM
Scheduled paper work days in the office are difficult to complete due to interruptions, phone calls and unscheduled
appointments. Thank you

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46 If I were 10x bolder I would take a look at the mission of VR to help people with disabilities find and maintain 1/5/2017 2:35 PM
employment and enhance their independence. Enhance independence with our current model I think we go against
this mission because a lot of the times clients are set up to be dependent on the rehabilitation services VR provides
and VR enables this. VR needs to review how VR continues to certify vendors and hold them accountable to provide
the goods and services in a timely fashion to VR clients. VR show focus on staff and provide telecommuting if we can
not receive a raise. Also most important VR needs to reevaluate the pay frequency that it pays its employees. It is
impossible for a single mother on a VR salary to meet her basic needs of her household on a monthly pay. IF possible
VR should change to a biweekly pay frequency it is only logical thing to do for workers and their morale.

47 I think that VR needs to revise some positions. If there are VRC's and Senior VRC's, why aren't there Senior VRT's? It 1/5/2017 2:28 PM
would be a way to reward hard working/long time VRT's with a pay raise the same as it is with Sr. VRC's. I take that
back. I have seen VRC's who have been here less than a month get a promotion to Sr. VRC. Also, many VRT's are
doing a lot of direct job placement. I honestly think that each office should have an in-house Job Developer that pays a
better salary. We pay thousands to vendors to get a placement. A Tech gets nothing. In my view, the levels would be
VRT, Sr. VRT, and Job Developer who also works with the OJT's. Not every Tech wants to be a VRC, but would like a
way to advance. Thank you.

48 A more precise counselor policy manual that doesn't leave so much to interpretation or so much "gray areas" would 1/5/2017 2:18 PM
greatly help in making One VR work. Although every case is individual, there should be clearer guidelines that all
offices can follow in the same manner.

49 The authorization process is extinct. Vendor do not want to bother with this process anymore and we are loosing 1/5/2017 2:16 PM
vendors left and right. I believe VR needs to get on board with a credit card system and do away with the
authorizations for vendors signature. There has to be a more creative way to do this and still have the required
documents to submit for payment to vendors.

50 We need electronic files. Vendors should submit all correspondence and reports electronically. The paper files leave 1/5/2017 2:12 PM
too much room for things to be lost, misplaced, etc, not to mention the amount of space that they take up. Additionally,
electronic files would increase collaboration by allowing anyone reviewing the case, from any location, to have full
access to all of the contents of the file. It would be much more efficient.

51 1. I would set up technical communication and access to a National Medical Records database such as Doctors have 1/5/2017 2:11 PM
access to which would allow a quick turn around time to receive needed documentation of disabilities. This is
something that could be designated to each Supervisor in the unit so that confidentiality issues do not become a
concern. Something similar to SVES access. This would also allow a quicker turn around time with vendors who also
participate in such a database to send the completed evaluations to counselors. 2. I would upgrade all staff computers
to Tablets that has digital signature capabilities so that all forms can be generated and uploaded directly in the
database system (now currently RIMS in the future who knows LOL) from the tablet. Access to the medical national
database would allow the same type of digital upload to person's RIMS file. In addition, I would allow vendor and
counselors to digitally sign all authorizations so that there is a quicker turn around time. This would go a long way to
encourage vendors by paying them faster. 3. I would change IPE amendment requirements to only require an
amendment for changes in school/training program, vocational goal and or placement provider. All other vendor
changes could be addressed through a new RIMS case note title called Vendor Change. This would allow counselors
to provide services without interruption that IPE amendments for vendor changes such as interpreter services/
maintenance services calls for. 4. I think every Staff computer should have web/face to face skype abilities to allow
easier access to each other for consultation and collaboration. This could happen across units and areas for that
matter. This would also be effective if all management could have regular meetings with Tallahassee to discuss issues
from the "front line" so to speak. 5. If I were being REALLY BOLD, I would institute an incentive for staff to do job
development by providing bonuses for a counselor/tech direct placement of consumer with an employer. IE if they do
the job we now pay job developers good money for, they can get some of that money as well.

52 I would recommend two main ideas: 1. We need to have specialized school-to-work counselors for the students. It 1/5/2017 2:08 PM
would possibly even be feasible to see if the counselor's office could be located within the school with the largest
student population, and for the counselor to utilize meeting rooms at other schools for appointments. The schools
expect high levels of counselor presence and involvement, and it is often not possible for a counselor with both general
and transition caseloads to meet the school's expectations. In addition, having dedicated transition counselors would
allow staff to focus expertise in this area and remain more up-to-date on changes and best practices with the student
population. 2. Each office needs at least one Job Developer, who can handle both Employment Services cases and
Supported Employment cases. Many times, areas do not have sufficient Employment Services vendors or the vendors
are not interested in dealing with the more challenging cases. With current caseload sizes, it is virtually impossible for
a counselor to devote the amount of time necessary to personally performing Job Placement Services, while meeting
all other deadlines and mandates. As one other individual mentioned, I would also recommend allowing the Service
Source staff to participate in flex schedules, as do the state staff. It is extremely unfair for one group of employees,
who are doing the same jobs, to not be allowed to partake in the flex schedules, while continuing to allow it for the
other set of employees. If it cannot be equal, then flex schedules should also be eliminated for state staff. No one
receives raises unless the state receives raises, so this issue should be no different. I believe that the state staff
salaries should also be increased.

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53 I wanted to agree with the color coding in RIMS. I am a visual person and for me its easier to keep track of due dates 1/5/2017 1:59 PM
and prioritize when it is red,green or yellow. I'm sure that it would help improve timeliness as well.

54 Coordinate a team from all levels and job classes and areas to share ideas and advice. This will help to provide a 1/5/2017 1:46 PM
better service to our clients.

55 Allow more flexibility (like telecommuting) and autonomy for staff, especially those that are performing beyond 1/5/2017 1:41 PM
expectations with large case loads . This will increase workplace morale (desperately needed), productivity, and
encourage team work. Highly qualified and professional staff often feel stifled and talked to, rather than included and
part of the process. Allowing them more freedom and flexibility to work to their strengths and in turn serve their
customers better can go a long way for everyone involved. Encourage personal development, team building, and
work/life balance.

56 An arrangement (MOA? Consent for mutual release of information?) between VR and SSA that would allow each 1/5/2017 1:36 PM
agency easy access to evaluations done by the other. This would save immense time and resources and prevent
duplication of work.

57 Have a process that is communicated to all teams for solving issues. Select a Leader to be trained in each area (it 1/5/2017 1:29 PM
may take more than one for some areas) that would lead work groups around fundamental issues. Please stop adding
on computer to do items for VR counselors. If we do not have techs who only do more than authorizations we do not
have time for more. PLEASE stop listening to your 10 year plus techs and regroup their position. The system for
adding employment into application is broken...fix it. Half of the info is not correct. Do you want us to use the address
of work or the address of the official company? Since I have been in VR you have added to the items that must be
completed to work a case by over 1 hour. To close a case it can take over 1 hour due to the issues with employment
application. We need raises, training, and an agency that will stop throwing down work that only goes to one desk.

58 Overtime (both time and pay) or comp time to allow employees more time to participate without impacting their daily 1/5/2017 1:26 PM
job duties.

59 Communication skills is key in every organization. Therefore, every VR employee needs to thin about each other and 1/5/2017 1:23 PM
be cooperative and understanding with other co-workers. We need to think more as a team, not to adhere to our job
descriptions only.

60 Team work is very important to improve work quality in the workplace. 1/5/2017 1:18 PM

61 If I were 10 times bolder, I would recommend using the evidence based practices of those who are already boldly 12/30/2016 1:24 PM
headed on the same path: I would recommend implementing findings from the study, RTC-EBP-VR, Dec 2013
Multiple Case Studies on Effective VR Service Delivery Practices. In this study, the Texas DARS is recognized as a
top performer for their rehabilitation rates and RSA related outcomes. Their success was studied and 2 key ideas were
revealed, Similar to us, they have set up pilot projects, but it appears that they have built on this model even more
boldly by, 1) developing incubator units, " 'Incubator unit' startups could occur at any level or location within the
agency requiring no formal permission to engage in developing innovative services. My understanding of possible
implementation (we could check with them on their processes) is that an employee could write up a proposal for an
innovative practice and the Unit Supervisor could approve it independently. This flexibility seems to invite initiative and
innovation resulting in greater engagement and effectiveness. For a second idea, 2) the Texas agency uses
SharePoint for a special sharing function that they call, Replicating Success". They are utilizing Sharepoint "as an
opportunity to 'brag and steal' the best ideas and innovative practices from around the state". As mentioned in #1, any
unit may act independently to try new ideas and innovative practices as long as they meet the requirements of sharing
their outcomes, resources and lessons learned on the Replicating Success portion of the Sharepoint site. In my
mind, FLs One VR, will be most successful when each staff member becomes accustomed to researching and
applying evidence based practices. (PS its interesting to note that the Texas VR spent on average Just under $2500
per client who entered planning and over 75 percent who had a plan developed included OJT in the plan, p-38) If
innovation within the Units was highly supported, than OJT projects is where I would most like to begin. Finally, I
would add that greater collaboration will unfold when it is formally rewarded. For example, a special award could be
created for staff to recommend staff from other units / departments for their exceptional collaboration. Additionally,
collaboration with other departments / units could be added as a measure to our performance evaluations. Thirdly, if
we did in fact implement the replicating success model on Sharepoint, we could all vote at the end of the year on
which project was the most innovative and impactful. There are many more great ideas in this report that may already
be being utilized because we are clearly on the right path with much that we are currently doing. Thank you for this
opportunity to comment.

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62 1. Information does not trickle down from HQ until it is often too late. Vendors should not know about changes prior 12/29/2016 9:36 PM
to VR staff. It is embarrassing and makes it look like we don't know what we're talking about. Ex: Project Search
changes to require supported employment. Our local vendor told us and then about a week and a half later, it was
casually mentioned during supervisor's webinar call. Some support staff were sent notices about required training in
Tally, but supervisors knew nothing about it. 2. It is often hard for VRS to show appreciation to staff for the hard work
that they do on a regular basis. It often starts with thank yous and recognition among often staff, but that gets old/
redundant very fast. It is often hard for a supervisor to do more because that means having to cover the whole staff to
do things, which can become costly. It would be nice for the agency as a whole to do something to recognize staff on a
consistent basis. I attended the CareerSource training in Orlando in September and it was extremely nice. Many staff
from offices around the State attended and staff were nominated for and received awards for the great work that they
did all year long. There were office, area and individual awards. It was nice because you could definitely feel the team
spirit in the room. 3. Technology is a BIG issue. It often becomes embarrassing when I attempt to attend webinars,
solve work issues and cannot do so because VRs technology is behind. I have attempted to attend webinars where
the site is unavailable due to what we can access. I contact IT and they tell me that they cant give me permission and
figure out another way to attend. With STW referral sheet, I wanted an easy way to have the hard copy page go back
and forth between schools and VRC and suggested putting it into the clouds. Im sure you know how that discussion
went because I was told absolutely not, dont try it, not happening here. I am not very technologically saavy so if I
know about something, its usually been out for a while. VR needs to get up on the times. 4. After becoming a
supervisor, I will be honest, it can be hard once in a while to remember some of the new computer program changes
that I did not have to deal with as a VRC. When staff come to ask me questions, I have to work my way through the
system to do it in order to understand what they are talking about and figure out the solution. I am often kept on my
toes when we have a vacant position and I am stepping in to help out on the day-to-day with cases. Once you are
removed from something for a while, it is natural to forget the day-to-day steps. I feel like we should have more field
visits from HQ staff and HQ supervisors should be required to complete field services work on a regular basis to
remain present in daily operations.

63 Our office has been good at team building activities and we are still working to make those better. The whole aspect of 12/28/2016 8:31 AM
One VR is interesting and approachable so it will be nice to see this happening. I think collaboration between our units
would be good, we skype, we email, but we only see each other once a year that the ACED meeting. When I first
started VR, we had quarterly meetings which over time many have complained about, but it was a chance to see
everyone within our area. With so many changes with the VR transition program, I think it would be beneficial to have
regular meetings to get us all acquainted better with the changes that we are being asked to make in our positions.

64 Upper management is removed from the front line decisions, it is easy to forget how complicated a seemingly simple 12/23/2016 3:05 PM
case can be. Upper management needs to get their hands into case work now and then to help understand some of
the issues the counselors and techs are facing with customers and vendors.

65 Telecommuting!! If we can't have raises give us some flexibility with our time, which could help increase morale. 12/23/2016 3:02 PM

66 Employees should have an ability to manage their own time and not have to complete a 30 advance notice of flex time. 12/23/2016 2:54 PM
VR was never worried if I stayed to complete my work, but they sure wanted their 15 minutes of my annual leave if I
was more than 7 minutes late. We are professionals, I don't need a sign in and sign out sheet. Let the employees
manage their own time.

67 Where is the collaboration with APD....? 12/23/2016 2:51 PM

68 Social Security and VR should work closer together, we need to understand each others programs, especially theirs. 12/23/2016 2:49 PM
The true intent for WIPA and TTW should be thoroughly explained to the VR counselor in order to help understand the
BIGGER societal vision. For now we are all so bogged down in paperwork that becomes meaningless which causes
frustrations. In order to help educate the client we need training on these programs.

69 Because G&C notes are so important why aren't they included in staffing alerts, that would take care of the issue. 12/23/2016 2:45 PM

70 We all need to remember we are here to enhance the independence of our customers that is our mission, it is often 12/23/2016 2:41 PM
forgotten. Instead of being hypercritical of services, lets look at the bigger picture and move forward, too much time is
wasted on trying to say no, when we should be saying yes.

71 *Give employees raises. *Ensure consistent messages are sent from Headquarters. Frequently a message is sent 12/23/2016 9:11 AM
from one member of HQ which contradicts a message send by another member of HQ. *Ensure systems are fully
functional prior to releasing to staff. i.e. STAR *Revise the STAR Referral services so that VR is not depending one
employee at each of the 67 school districts for the success of our program. Our staff should be able to enter referrals
for WIOA Youth (STAR) rather than an employee of each school district. *Do not create an Area 7. The timing for this
is horrible. Last year we lost 47 positions statewide. This is not a good time to remove more staff from field services
and create more administration. Especially when we don't know how many referrals we will receive from WIOA Youth.
There are enough changes taking place with new legislation without this huge reorganization. *Stop removing
supervision of staff from local offices and putting them under the supervision of staff in Tallahassee. This is killing
morale and is un-necessary

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72 One trend that is noticeable at VR is that the workload constantly changes which means goals and the proper way to 12/21/2016 8:48 AM
process documents and clients and collaborate with vendors also changes along with the workload. Some employees
feel that while the workload changes, the culture of office politics and the perception of what should be done and how
typically does not change easily, if at all. Long-time employees have a particular set of expectations blended with
revisionist viewpoints which lends experience and also lends discomfort with change. Newer employees find
themselves easily confused and frustrated when learning how VR works. For instance, no step in the entire process
from initial intake to case closure is a priority over any other step. They are all equally important. So it is in RIMS
where applicants are given as much time and attention as those in employment. For both long-term and newer
employees, this creates an environment where the feeling of never-ending caseloads is prevalent. One idea is to bring
in an organizational development expert to help VR figure things out on all levels and establish a sense of structure
that makes innate sense. We work with folks that have disabilities and find them jobs. The job market can be our ally
or our enemy and this depends upon how we approach inter-organizational processing of clients and work-related
concerns. Ultimately, openness and honesty in a respectful manner will lead to expanded dialogue and interchange of
ideas and experiences with constructive feedback that benefits us all. Can this be done on all levels from the top down
and back up again? I believe this is the question that VR is asking itself and wants to answer. Employee morale is
critical towards the overall health and sustainability of any organization and VR is no different. Such morale will filter
through all levels of VR and expand outwards to our clients, vendors and the community beyond. Our personal goals
should be in line with organizational goals which is to make a difference in the disabled community in playing a role in
assisting the disabled to become independent, contributing members of society. It begins with each of us at VR. We
must begin with how we can improve our skills and meet our goals and then we will have a better VR and a better VR
will lead to a better disabled community that looks to us to help them with employment options in a world that is not
disability-friendly.

73 There are basically a few steps to work groups: Call for a work group to be put together for a common goal so that 12/20/2016 7:44 PM
involves reaching out to willing participants. How do they get chosen to participate is a concern that I think is not being
addressed; I have seen a lot of employees that love getting out of the office to attend meetings and help shape the
future of VR. Unfortunately some of them with all good intentions are not doing well in their jobs and have low
productivity so in conclusion their work does suffer. What can we do? The work group can't include any employee how
is not meeting performance expectations. Also, I think the employee needs to be recommended by the supervisor
based on that employees skills and abilities to participate and contribute to the group. The work groups can become a
2nd job for some staff and they may have regrets if they find they can't keep up with their routine duties. We need to
monitor how they are doing to make sure they are not overloaded. Consistency would be really important. Meeting that
take place randomly at inconsistent times and days don't work well. It needs to be an every other Monday or first
Tuesday or Fridays at 10AM etc. The more consistent the time scheduling the more likely you will have good
consistent participation. I am concerned that certain job classes such as VRT's and VRC's are so extremely busy and
can't keep up with their regular duties so I'm really not sure how we can find people in those jobs to help out where is
needed. So the concept of getting those in the field to write their own script is a great idea but I have no solution for
the same complaint I hear; no extra time to volunteer. Wanting to volunteer and having good self awareness,
recognizing you may not have the time to volunteer sometimes don't go together.

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74 Use webinars more and in-person travel less for more efficiency and this also allows staff more time for active 12/19/2016 10:32 AM
participation in addition to their other duties. Establish "overall or lead work groups in state office" for each work group
area. Can then have field work groups with members from around the state and from different job titles. Would
recommend having the overall work group review processes considering reporting requirements, forms, policies,
database fields, and clean it up. Some areas are doing some tasks while other areas are not required to do those
tasks. Once things are streamlined the overall work group can spearhead how we will use technology such as TED,
intranet, webinar for various work group meetings, trainings, etc. Maintenance is equally as challenging given constant
changes, new requirements, and propensity for us to "add more requirements" that may not need to be added at all if
the overall work group practices oversight by continuing its mission indefinitely. It would be great to have the "overall
work group" meet and come up with specific work groups that will be in place for the long-term and not just a period of
time. Membership in either the overall work group or aa field work group could be on an annual basis. If these
work groups could hold their meetings via webinar primarily and their ideas could then go to the "overall work group"
in the state office for consideration and response, then the work groups would know the information they submitted
was considered and allowed or not allowed with reason why not allowed. If a field work group suggestion goes to the
"overall work group" and is not allowed, then the "overall work group" could then bounce the idea back to the work
group to come up with another replacement idea. The "overall work group" structure and mission is very large and the
biggest task in getting things set up. A paid facilitator such as Bruce Berger, who rolls up his sleeves and works with
the group so the overall work group| can synergize" rather than working on independent tasks would produce the
best results. As for leadership in the field work groups, it might be best for someone from the state office or
management who participates in the "overall work group" to also be tasked with leadership of a field work group to
ensure continuity. Outputs from the overall work group would consist of input from field work groups in addition to
input from within the overall work group. The output from overall work group would then be used in management and
supervisor training to ensure leaders in the field are not deviating from work group decisions and new agency policies
and processes by adding their own requirements. I would also like to ask that two areas be considered for work group
subjects: 1. Customer Service Excellence - internal and external and what it means to our agency success. 2. Human
Resources considerations (legalities in supervision and management of staff)

75 There needs to be more Trust in your employees. There needs to be more Flexibility on the job. There needs to be 12/16/2016 4:19 PM
more Professionalism in the tones of communicating with employees. That would be a good start with increasing
morale in the office. This also would not only increase productivity, but would also lower the high turn-over
employment rate. This would reduce cost for training new employees, would produce more skilled employees that
would provide a better service and increase customer satisfaction and success rate. In summary, workers want more
Trust, Respect, Flexibility and Professionalism in the work place as this is what makes you feel valued. Of course,
bonuses, cost of living increases and salary increases would also motivate most workers as well. Thank you for your
consideration.

76 I would recommend statewide training for all counselors and supervisors to break down VR policy vs best practice vs 12/16/2016 1:59 PM
supervisor preference. This would promote consistency in documentation and service delivery, and it could be
accomplished via webinar. Train counselors on the mission and vision of VR and how to use policy to accomplish it,
rather than training on the minutia of policy and expecting it to lead to positive outcomes. Help counselors learn to use
policy confidently as a tool to shape successful cases, rather than seeing it primarily as measure against which they
are judged. Implement the Area Counselor Advisory Team from Area 4 in the other areas. It is a good forum for
sharing knowledge as well as identifying practices which are inconsistent across the area. Counselors and support
staff feel good about having their suggestions/experiences recognized, and area leadership have the chance to
answer specific questions and provide perspective on statewide administration of the VR program.

77 Video conferences to see feel a true interaction with other VR employees and providers to better facilitate progress 12/16/2016 1:26 PM
and close the distance gaps that may affect it.

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78 I just completed a course on improving Collaboration which was part of a new Certificate program in Rehab and 12/16/2016 1:25 PM
Special Education through Utah State Univ., and developed for VR Counselors working in Transition. One of our
textbooks spoke to the importance of how we communicate, with other professionals, to convey our role/identity, to
build trust through respectfully listening to what they have to say, by being present, attentive, prepared, etc., and
checking in with people to see if there are misconceptions, before they can blow up into problems. I had to do
research with at least three key stakeholders, and develop and present my findings with a fellow student/partner, and
also write an APA journal style article on what our findings were, and what we recommend. I plan to share both of
these with Ms. McKinley, because I was selected as one of the first to have attended this program, and also because I
was awarded RSA funding. The goal of this program is to take what I have learned and implement it, in my daily
professional life. I do feel that we are innovative in the services that we provide for our consumers, when hearing what
my counterparts in other states are doing with regard to WIOA services. Several activities, that we participated in, was
working on getting to know each other better, by breaking up into small groups. Then developing an elevator speech of
our name, what we do at VR, what the benefits of VR are, and the features of VR. We had to listen to each other, and
provide constructive feedback, which developed trust. We then had to identify issues that caused difficulty with
collaboration, and come up with positive, problem solving ways to improve the situation. I will be happy to share the
reference books because they will work in any situation where people need to work together. A positive attitude is also
first and for most to moving toward positive outcomes. I think it is important for VR counselors to feel that they can talk
to their supervisors about whatever is a struggle and for staff and supervisors alike to understand what the job
responsibilities are for each and how a smooth working relationship can improve results, and reduce stress. Training
perhaps in communication skills might be a place to start as well. I learned that for ten years I have been coordinating,
and that is not collaborating. You have to give and take in a partnership of true collaboration.

79 Clarify the policies. Remove phrases such as "and other expenses." What are these other expenses? Train from the 12/16/2016 10:44 AM
front end, not after mistakes have been made.

80 Hold semi annual one day trainings for the VRCs that are regional, similar to the ACEDs. Have the trainers from 12/16/2016 10:39 AM
Tallahassee hold breakout training sessions on the important subjects. Offer one or two team building sessions. Make
the training sessions more engaging, like a Jeopardy theme for one, Who wants to be a millionaire for another... Make
the trainings more positive, with no threats about pulling independent status.

81 Allow vendors, such as psychologist to use VR conference rooms to provide testing to our clients. Doctors have to try 12/16/2016 10:37 AM
to find space to do this testing for appointments and it takes longer to get the testing done.

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82 - A more functional case management program with ability to upload items such as medical records into the electronic 12/16/2016 10:32 AM
file and minimize the size/scope of physical files without reducing the overall available information. One recent attempt
to upload extensive records received for a client met multiple messages that the file was too large resulting in multiple
copies being created, multiple scans and still no ability to upload records. - Increased community outreach. VR is one
of the best-kept secrets in the state. We are missing huge sectors of the population. - Increase staffing to reduce
caseloads. - Standardize staff responsibilities/training. A Tech in one Area should have the same skill set and training
as the Tech in another even if the primary duties vary based on individual office needs. No Tech should not know how
to make an authorization. - Provide additional training for experienced staff. It is very difficult to be told by newly trained
staff that you are trying to mentor that they were told different rules at New Counselor training and to not be sure what
is true. - Consult field staff on needs, program efficacy and service structure. Too many mandates from HQ reflect that
the people developing the programs, making to rules and rolling out programs have no knowledge of the rules,
restrictions and challenges of field staff. - Create a sense of open communication between field staff and HQ. The
opinion of everyone in the field I have ever met is that HQ neither knows nor cares what field staff does or needs. -
Provide opportunities for staff recognition and team building without staff needing to feel guilty for not completing case
work at that time instead. ACED meetings should be at least in part recognition and celebration, not all about new
programs and new directives. - Mandate HQ staff to spend at least 1 week each year in the field working with field
staff at all levels from the front desk to the VRS in order to understand the evolving needs of staff. - Standardize how
information is sent to the field and make it clear that it does not need to be sent from HQ, forwarded by AD, by VRAS
and again by VRS. This is part of the reason we feel buried in e-mails. - Ensure that mandatory trainings are
scheduled with consideration of the fact that counseling staff may have commitments several weeks in the future and
that mandating them to reschedule those appointments with three day's notice is unfair to the clients who have been
waiting for these appointments. - Ensure that optional training options are sent out in a timely manner. It's pretty
frustrating to get an e-mail about a "great training opportunity" that took place yesterday. - Provide training for new
programs. Programs such as Partnership Plus were rolled out without staff receiving any notice or training or having
any idea how to explain it to clients. Understanding of programs would eliminate the need for scripts that cannot be
used as written because clients will not understanding. - Adjust language in forms that are meant to be given to
clients. Most of these individuals do not have a college education. Some can barely read. They are not Rehab
professionals. They do not know the words used in these templates and do not understand the information if provided
in those words. - Trust Area staff to make some decisions in terms of communication with clients. Information not
written to client's level needs to be interpreted. - Allow the No Longer Interested closure letter to be edited to reflect
the actual reason for closure instead of stating that they are 'no longer interested' when that may not be the reason
they agreed to closure. This will reduce "other" closures by allowing us to use this status when consumers are too ill,
having family problems, etc and are not being closed simply because they no longer want to take part. It will also
reduce the client's level of distress with the closure letter. - For pity sake someone do something with the IPE packet.
No one, not even field staff, understand how it is supposed to used. It is not user-friendly and the language is not
accessible to consumers. - Lead by example. We do not ask or tolerate our clients waiting months or years to get
needed, documented accommodations. Our staff should not have to do so either.

83 I believe that the adoption of a new mentality that allows for more decision making from field services staff, especially 12/16/2016 10:28 AM
in specific areas of expertise where applicable, is not only ideal but necessary to allow VR to become "One VR." It
makes sense that the people actively doing the field work have a strong say in policies, procedures, decisions, and
best practices and to not involve field services staff in these processes seems to be like a big waste in terms of the
expertise, ideas, and innovations that could be provided by those in the field. Possible steps to achieve this new
mentality could include designation of a variety of "advisory committees" for various policy/procedure/best practice
areas, specific field services jobs (e.g. VR Counselors, VR Techs), as well as for various special populations or
projects (specifically the mental health population, as I believe this is an area of our clientele that are in desperate
need of VR focus). Once committees have been decided upon, emails or surveys could be sent to VR Staff inviting
them to participate voluntarily in the committees or upon recommendation by a VR supervisor. After each committee
has members agreeing to participate then a kick-off planning meeting could be scheduled to discuss the mission,
goals, time frames, and steps of implementation for the purpose of each committee. Then, meetings could be
scheduled in-person at a central location possibly twice/annually in-person with quarterly or monthly web or phone-
based conference meetings as needed.

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84 1. Simplify everything, starting with the unwritten policies and rules, the written policies and rules, key processes, 12/16/2016 10:03 AM
restrictive mandates which interfere with achieving rehabilitations, and cumbersome micro-processes in order to
efficiate, streamline and standardize effective operations across units and to improve consumer outcomes. It makes no
business sense to export bad practices from one workgroup to another. If a process does not effectively and efficiently
deliver consumer focused outcomes, then what is the point? Remember, perception is often reality to field staff and
this likely contributes to the high staff turn-over. 2. Set and maintain the staff (field, area and headquarters)
expectation that collaborative communications between workgroups/work levels is encouraged and expected, both
horizontal and vertical, down to the front line staff and up to headquarters. Breakdown communication barriers,
eliminate self-appointed gatekeepers and informal decision makers at the field, area and headquarters levels. People
can change, but they either have to want to change or else be held to accountability on changing behaviors. 3. Clarify
and prioritize VR "priorities", this is essential. For example, are 26's the #1 priority? Whatever the #1 priority, prevent
anything or anyone within the system from interfering with or preventing achievement of that priority. This includes
unrealistic and restrictive mandates or policies. Staff cannot serve two masters, especially if there are competing
priorities or competing mandates. What is the CORE MISSION of VR and are we always doing that well? If not, why
not? 4. Area and Headquarters staff at all levels must become intimately familiar with what goes on daily at the street
level in units and with application of multiple mandated procedures and processes, to identify roadblocks,
redundancies, to reduce rework, to prevent implementation tie-ups and to eliminate ineffective process steps.
Headquarters staff representation out in the filed builds buy-in from staff, builds positive relationships and affords a
close-up view of field operations in terms of what is working and what is not working. Hold front-line focus groups to
outline the good, the bad and the ugly of what is happening in the field. During training programs, division/bureau level
staff can informally mingle with field staff or socialize during lunch and dinner. There is mileage to be gained that way.
Breaking down real or perceived social barriers within the chain of command is critical to success. Staff should feel
empowered and supported to communicate both formally and informally. 5. Before implementing any new mandate or
initiative, complete a benefits/gains and costs analysis (CBA) to clearly understand the ripple effects and impact
downstream to units and to staff, of the unintended consequences of decision making. Clearly understand the effects
and consequences of decision making on the organization and front line staff before launching implementation - its
may be the difference between success and failure.

85 Since starting work with Vocational Rehabilitation, I have noticed a great deal of counselor turnover. This is difficult for 12/16/2016 9:59 AM
our consumers and office staff who take on the great amount of cases to assist while a new counselor is hired. The
time that it takes to get new counselors and staff hired is entirely too long and causes great frustration among
counselors and consumers alike. The best case work cannot be completed when counselors are trying to manage
over 110 cases monthly (some as new counselors). Our mission is to help our consumers find and maintain
employment and enhance their independence; however, when offices are operating without supervisors at times and
without being fully staffed it is difficult to fulfill this mission to the best of our ability because we are busy putting out
fires, attending meetings, or completing necessary paperwork and phone calls. If there was a better implementation of
the hiring process and the timeframe after a person is selected for a position to actually start work, this would be
helpful. Taking over 2-3 months after being selected for a position to get "officially hired" and to be given a start date to
work and begin training is frustrating for the person waiting to be hired and the office that so desperately needs help.

86 Understanding what others jobs consist of. That way there is an understanding of what it takes from each person to 12/16/2016 9:51 AM
make a team.

87 One issue that I find frustrating is the constantly repeated statement "We don't do that". It is used in many contexts. 12/16/2016 9:50 AM
After coming to the new counselor training, I realized that "we" is very indefinite. Does it mean from my supervisor
down? My area director down? Policy? Federal regs? As I constantly am given conflicting information, I would like the
word 'We" be made more specific. "This office does not pay for...... This areas direction has been...... As a supervisor,
I typically do not approve... All these are valid, but is very confusing and limiting to a counselor. Can we think about
what we say and how we say it? Much of the language I here is very misleading and makes it hard for me do my job
and best serve the customers. We don't all mean the same thing, making communication difficult and collaboration
less likely.

88 Create mentorships/build rapport with those in VR-people don't stay at a job because of the job (if times get tough) 12/16/2016 9:46 AM
they stay because of those who create a "family atmosphere"-fun times together Pay increases-I love what I do, but
barely can pay rent, food etc. What if counselors were paid for placements they place? Or another incentive through
pay OR discounts-rent, etc. Pay increases (bonuses) for those that join and attend organizational meetings (Chamber
of Commerce-job fairs-etc.) to promote VR. OR create a position for this-OUTREACH Outreach to get the correct
image of VR out there-and a positive one! Consistent (Rigid if needed in the beginning) guidelines so that when a
consumer goes from one VR to another (within Florida) the general services/procedures/policies are the same (yes,
some will differ with vendors) Rapport with community organizations (goes back to outreach) but right now ours is
negative List of experts in certain areas-within VR (like on a chatboard) so we know who to contact with questions.
AND others can post questions/comments there too?

89 VR to be more transparent with why some decisions are made and how. Including staff in the decision process before 12/16/2016 9:43 AM
making changes that effect staff duties. Meetings with staff, phone conferences.

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90 The State and Service Source offices could have trainings together. Also the State could get paid what Service Source 12/16/2016 9:42 AM
employees do, and Service Source employees could get flex schedules as was previously promised/had and then
recently taken away for no apparent reason.

91 Technological and software collaboration solutions. New employees should have more training in this area that will 12/16/2016 9:37 AM
allow them to be more familiar with consumer's case management and services provided.

92 Idea: Greater level of consistency across all areas of VR. Having more strict guidelines for service provision and 12/16/2016 9:35 AM
holding all accountable. Client's tend to have an entitlement approach and so some (not all) tend to receive services
without being apart of the mission. Greater accountability for all. More strict steps for eligibility, services and follow
through with vendors to ensure employment and finally making client responsible for their participation. If they receive
services and non compliant they are responsible for payback or dissolve future services. Pay increase for employees --
- employees need to feel that they are valued and ONE (not the only way) is to be paid according to their qualifications
and experience not just a blanket salary....

93 Have staff with permanent offices in the schools. 12/16/2016 9:33 AM

94 Recommend in HQ that if you are going to have a meeting with 3 or people, then you should reserve a conference 12/13/2016 3:23 PM
room. Walls between offices are not thick, and other people in surrounding offices can hear what and be distracted,
especially if there are 4 or 5 people meeting in the office next door.

95 Recently VR Technicians attended Financial Training in Tallahassee, I thought it was a great idea. Maybe once or 12/13/2016 11:45 AM
twice a year VR Techs could get together with FP and discuss their process and people in the fields process.

96 I would incorporate some type of fun activity. Such as hold the meetings at Dave and Busters or a resort where a fun 12/13/2016 11:15 AM
activity could be implemented to promote team building and One VR. This will make people want to participate. It
would also allow individuals an opportunity to still be working but to get away from the workplace and have some
enjoyment. I would also give raises as an incentive.

97 SAME State wide training 12/13/2016 10:33 AM

98 Send out emails to let everyone know that a workgroup is being formed; what the purpose is, and the skills that are 12/12/2016 8:46 AM
needed to be on the workgroup. If they think they would be interested and meet the criteria, then they should submit
their name.

99 Remain open to helping each other improve or learn new fields. 12/8/2016 2:29 PM

100 I like the concepts of team building and collaboration of ideas. I think it is good for us to call those in Tallahassee 12/7/2016 10:52 AM
without supervise approval, if needed.

101 N/A 12/7/2016 10:23 AM

102 I think finding the right people is step 1. When you send out a message to all for volunteers you could potentially get 12/7/2016 9:40 AM
the wrong staff volunteering. The selection of work groups still needs to go through a supervisor although the person
selected or recommended will not be mandated to participate. Step 2 - ensure the commitment expectations are
clearly mapped out. Step 3 - This is where it tends to fall apart. People performing their existing jobs don't typically
have sufficient time that is necessary to participate. They are busy doing their jobs and the extra work required of a
work group puts a higher level of stress on them and does affect their productivity. We have to figure out a way to
temporary reduce their work loads if at all possible. That's a 10x bolder response but it is true as I have personally
participated in work groups and loved it but my work load and productivity suffered and I was often making up the time
after hours.

103 This policy has always been more than a little unfair to VR counselors, and this may not be the forum for comment. 12/6/2016 5:01 PM
However, I have mentioned it before without receiving a valid rationale from supervisors', or directors. Policy states
that eligibility will be determined within 60 days after applying for services. In all fairness, the 60 day count should be a
workday count instead of a calendar day count, since historically counselors do not work weekends. The same could
be said for IPE development which may take up to 90 calendar days; instead or 90 workdays.

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104 I have two ideas. One may be appropriate (#1) and one may not be appropriate (#2 - because: a) it may not be any of 12/6/2016 4:44 PM
my business; b) it may not be correctable; and c) there are likely things I don't understand. 1. This has to do with
consumers coming back and coming back and coming back. I can understand this in referral, applicant and, even,
plan development statuses, because they never gave their cases a chance to get off the ground. And I can also
understand this in the case of consumers who have disabilities that keep them from doing job search, interviewing and
maintaining employment on their own. That said, I think the pre-placement training is a big asset toward keeping this
from happening as much with younger consumers. But, I think there needs to be a prescribed way to intervene so that
other consumers will have a handle on "what to do when you find yourself in another unemployment situation." After
all, we all know the ideal situation is that a consumer will learn during the rehabilitation process how to find their next
job, but there are no established junctions where this will definitely happen. Would it be so bad to get a team together
and sit down with the consumer and discuss what went right and what went wrong with their cases and how they have
learned from the pluses and minuses. Some of the minuses may have even been on our parts, and it would not be so
bad to acknowledge this. There may be other ways to make this happen that would include others outside of the unit,
although this option above sounds like more of an internal unit collaboration (although it would not be a bad idea to
include placement vendors or others in the final meeting). I'm just throwing this out there, because consumers not
doing their own job search "next time" is an issue if they should otherwise be able to. 2. This is almost a pet peeve,
although the implications go much further. And there are two parts to this. One is what we feel within the unit as far as
hiring on new employees and the other part is what prospective employees feel as they wait and wait to get an
answer. What we feel about hiring on new employees is that we are busy upfront looking at applications, getting
questions together, scheduling, interviewing, etc. And no matter how quick and busy we are, we are still lectured on
how fast this has to happen and how important it is. Then sometime in the distant future, when we are given the go
ahead to notify, we are again pressured to rush, rush, rush; and this is even though we are rushing as fast as we can
and would do so even if we weren't being told to. But what happens between us within the individual unit and us within
the individual unit is absolutely disgraceful. Here is someone that wants a job badly. They have applied with us and
other places. They don't have an employment income coming in. They want to work with us badly, but here comes
someone offering them a job that they don't want and, since they have bills to pay, they better grab that opportunity
while it is there. Otherwise, they are becoming downright depressed with waiting. We are worrying and fretting that
they will get another job during the long intervention, and we are trying to tell everyone in our unit that things will be
fine, but we are not confident that everything will be fine until the very moment they actually come walking through the
door. As far as collaboration. 1) Trust us that we are doing our parts. 2) Delegate during the process to someone else
if that is what is hindering the process. Take it for what it is worth and discard it if I've gone where I should not have.
My apologies.

105 Sometimes the best answer is the simplest and often overlooked. I think the best way to increase collaboration 12/6/2016 2:39 PM
between work groups at VR is to have the parties meet face-to-face to brain storm ideas, develop action plan(s), and
monitor the progress face-to-face as much as possible. From what I have observed work groups in a particular
office/division speak face-to-face regularly, but not so much with other work groups. Just a thought.

106 If I had the ability and the authority, I would task IT (with all the appropriate resources) to put a system in place that 12/6/2016 2:12 PM
works for all our staff equally - without limitations due to location.

107 1) Relationship Building: Require that Area Directors and Area Supervisors have an "hour of power" meeting with each 12/6/2016 1:02 PM
unit on a quarterly or bi-annual basis. Be clear that the purpose is to a) build morale by accentuating the particular
strengths observed in that unit as a whole and leaving areas for improvement up to the unit supervisor to address
individually in face-to-face conferences or in a unit meeting if appropriate and b) have a Q&A session. There are some
staff members who feel that the only time they from "upper management" is when there is something wrong or there
is a directive of some kind. Such meetings would remove "us and them" perceptions. 2) Relationship Building: The
addition of staff photos in Outlook connects names with faces, and it's great. However, to establish a true sense of
connectedness between the worker bees in the field HQ, budget for bureau chiefs to travel to each area for a couple of
"hours of power" with each individual unit with the supervisor and upper management not present so staff feels free to
say whatever they wish to say. Skype between Field Bureau Chiefs and VRCs and Consultants might also make this
possible, but ideally it would be in person. 2) Mission and vision alignment activities/Ways to allow employees to make
decisions about their jobs. Technology has changed the way we do business. RIMS is a great tool in many ways.
However, there are so many programming steps and procedures that require ever-increasing amounts of time to move
along. Streamline processes. The amount of time VRCs spend in data entry, REBA, Case Records Requests,
responding to causes so much stress and frustration because counselors are expected to do all this while maintaining
a meaningful relationship with 100-150 or more consumers. It can take 20 minutes or more to successfully close a
case in RIMS! We gather far too much data at the expense of counseling. Send VRTs to Tally for training to learn how
to do so many of the templates and screens that are required at different stages in the life of a case and revise SMART
evaluations to reflect more specificity concerning the tasks of case management assistance and technological
assistance that includes completion of templates and screens. 3) The number of administrative positions seems to
grow and grow while there is no increase in counselor positions. Hire someone to do desk audits of administrative
positions in the field and see if through attrition any can be eliminated and replaced with a counselor position in that
area. The bureaucratization of VR has affected morale.

108 Standing Subject Matter expert groups that can represent each role in VR that can answer questions for the entire role. 12/6/2016 11:42 AM

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109 Ownership and accountability must be fundamental principles when proposing collaboration between distinct work 12/6/2016 11:30 AM
groups. Thus, mission objectives and priorities are to be articulated clearly and legibly to ensure everyone involved is
able to comprehend and process them. Employees need to feel as if their decisions are solid and will hold up under
review therefore making expectations and alternatives to completing goals are essential points of reference when
sorting through data, policy and procedures while engaging in every step of the VR process from initial intake to case
closure. The best way to avoid committing errors is to realize the proper frame of reference throughout each step.
Communication between teams and establishing relationships based on mutual understanding and trust will go a long
way towards accomplishing all VR objectives and goals even accounting for the uncertain nature of obtaining and
maintaining employment amongst our clientele. No two clients are alike and so it is with VR employees, we are all
similar in many ways and different in others. In sports, the teams that win championships aren't necessarily the best
and most talented. However, they are a TEAM and each member takes responsibility for themselves and coordination
with a collective goal creates greater individual effort resulting in greater accomplishments. It is no different at VR. If
work groups are to successfully work together then this must occur. Customer service starts with the front lines. It is
essential, if not vital, for exemplary service to be provided at this point to our clients and to filter back and forth between
this point all the way to the top (and back again).

110 1.From headquarters, have some system in place there to coordinate webinars, training, implementations of changes, 12/6/2016 11:18 AM
polices , and so forth so that there are not over load to the district and counselors. 2. Once the information noted
above is sent down, if it comes thru the district office that it is sent out in a timely manner. Not a day or two before it is
due. 3. This happens way to often, Vendors or providers have emails and program changes (Project Search Changes
for 2017) before it is sent to VR staff. This is wrong, VR staff should know before providers, makes us look
incompetent but we are just poorly informed.

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111 Increasing Collaboration Ideas, so that VR Techs, waist less time, and do become the Right hand helper of the VR 12/6/2016 8:58 AM
Counselor. Purpose: To ensure assistance is provided to the VR Counselor, who carries most, if not all of the
concomitant responsibilities of a VR case load. I am saying this, because, I have been working almost 7 years with
VR, and I have seen many VR Techs waiting time, when they can assume, a more responsible role than just simply
doing Authorizations. We need to enhance and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our agency, to ensure
quality services are provided to our customers. Some of the VR Techs Responsibilities are not included in their tasks
and standards performance, and it is for this reason why they dont take matters too seriously. Things that should be
perform by the VR Tech should be universal, across all VR Offices, to ensure each VR office goals and expectations
are maximized with every employees collaborations. The below Chart explains it all, as to why these tasks should be
Universal throughout all of VR offices: VR Techs do list of Responsibilities: Forms to use: Comments: 1)Schedule
Initial Appointments within 3 days VCMT068H I have seen this get done. 2)IPE Appointments VCMT072H A great
number of VR Techs fail to mail this template, and worst, VR Counselor wind-up doing the IPE Planning appointments.
VR Techs should ensure all IPE templates are sent, upon case turning into IPE Planning Status; this will help to
ensure all IPE Planning appointments are timely scheduled accordingly to the 90 days, time frame to complete the
IPE Planning Process or phase. 3)Verification of Beneficiary Stat. Form VCMT061A Some VR Techs dont send these
forms out to The Social Security Department on time; therefore, VR Counselor will not get the disability codes from
Social Security Administration prior to the 60 days of eligibility status. This should be sent to the Social security
Department within 3 days of receipt, to ensure that we get the social security disability code clearance, that can be
used to establish eligibility criteria. 4)VR Techs are not sorting the receiving mail/correspondences accordingly. VR
Techs are opening mails, and are giving them to VR Techs in stocking piles; they are not sorting them in an organized
manner. New correspondences should be attached to the case file, by placing them on top of the file, with a paper clip;
in this way, professionally sorted per case file; its more manageable. 5)Paper work case filing/ filling documents. VR
Counselor has seen that paper work filling methods needs a lot of improvements, as different Techs are not filling
enough, to get all the documents into the case file on timely manner. This area also needs improvements.
6)Telephone answering: Some VR Techs are diverting all the phone calls to VR Counselors voice mail, without asking
customer whether they need an appointment. Sometimes the phone voice box becomes immediately full, because of
VR Techs are not asking the right questions, as to reasons for their call. It can be to find-out whether the IPE was
received, when they can easily check the RIMS System to explain the status of their case; instead, VR Techs are not
really assisting customer's phone calls, but diverting these calls to the VR Counselor. When clients receive an IPE
Letter, instead of the VR Tech scheduling them for the IPE Appointment, they rather transfer the calls, avoiding to do
the appointment over the phone. Too many incongruities, where VR Counselor is force to do too much of the VR
Techs work. 7)Employed Customers needing Lynx bus tickets, etc. Some VR Techs fail to keep logs of these
customers. Routinely, some must get bus tickets each month, consecutively, if verified that they are still attending
college or working with the Job placement providers. Some VR Techs dont keep logs of these customers. Some VR
techs, dont bother calling these customers or assist VR Counselors with following-up with pending documentations
needed to complete the authorizations for tickets, tuition, etc. Lack of willingness and support. Some VR Techs dont
even care in assisting the VR Counselors. Some VR Techs dont show any sort of initiative or efforts of helping out.
This I experience from 3 different centers that I have worked. I am sure that there are other areas where VR Techs
can improve to help us more, but in really, most only like to just do Authorizations only. Real team assistance is really
needed, to help VR Counselor continue providing quality services to our customers. I am sure there is more we can
do, if more effort is put into it. I have vast years of managerial skills, and if I had the power to give these workers a
work evaluation, I would document the areas where they need improvement. I would also provide work evaluation
with pay increases for those workers that are really doing a great job. Thanks for requesting collaborating ideas or
conjectures on this matter. We want a better VR for all.

112 Most organizations lack the structures that allow people to pool their talents and work together. As a result, the goal of 12/6/2016 8:52 AM
collaborating together to achieve a common purpose remains vague. Support systems in place =Teamwork, because
simply by getting people connected doesnt assure productive collaboration between work groups at VR. True
collaborative work happens most and best in a team that have communication from the bottom employees to the top
management so that everyone has equal access to the decisions making, better understanding of agency expectation,
uniformity, and consistency of our Mission and vision at VR. Implementation on considering a teamwork model could
be created so we all can have uniformity among all the units. These interdisciplinary team could be applied by having
people from different units to create an ideal work team that will serve as a role model for the rest of the units.
Example will be: to choose a person that have better customer services skills., another that may have better approach
for work flow, time management; subsequently, another person that could have better knowledge of policies; then;
another person that have technology and multitasking skills; next person could be great in teaching others; then
another person that have great communication skills to deal with client and complain issues within the unit ext. I
think this idea on creating a team model, could create more unity and better understanding of our way of work and
policies implementations across board so this will help us to develop the idea of structuring ways to allow employees
to make decisions about their jobs. This way, we are going to have better exchange of information, more
communication and information flow and will enhanced employee morale, will facilitate team communication, and it
can substantially improve quality and work uniformity between teams. Also the communication will be more clear
because by creating a team model approach sample, will encourages effective teamwork and clarity within
managements and the units. At its best, good communication encourages partnership, and promotes cooperation. OK
all the above is just an idea!!!

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113 When creating a work group, please use participants that actually use the computer program, use the 12/6/2016 8:52 AM
policies/procedures, counselor manuals and work within that field on a daily basis. When implementing a "new" rule or
program within DVR, please ensure the information presented is within a timely manner. It's difficult to implement a
new idea or program, without proper guidance or clarity. Also, increase in salary or possibly a stipend; even if it's
based on the results of our last performance evaluation.

114 Skype meetings via webcam. It would decrease the need for frequent travel, saving the division money. This would be 12/6/2016 7:43 AM
especially helpful for Unit Supervisors and the higher positions who travel frequently already. Counselors, technicians,
and secretaries may enjoy opportunities to travel and meet other people in the same position. The travel would be
enough incentive to encourage people to volunteer. The hesitation to participate is that counselors already feel
overwhelmed with their work. They don't have the incentive to add additional work/ responsibilities to their already full
load.

115 I would utilize teams that are from across all positions and specialties. I would have all supervisors complete at least 6 12/6/2016 6:29 AM
face to face employee meetings that allow employees to have response to key issues. Not just a supervisor reading
policy and procedure. Have work teams with specific goals to achieve. Show the progress of each team. There are a
variety of methods to do this with on board computer feedback. Tear down the silos. We still are not to talk to others
unless informed to do so.

116 I believe that all VR personnel have a heart to do their best for their consumers and their units. It's been my 12/5/2016 8:17 PM
professional experience that when I'm involved in numerous activities/projects, it's difficult to give each my undivided
attention. There is an increase in anxiety and stress and the results are not as favorable as it could have when there
are too many things going on st once. In addition, with multiple projects, it's difficult to find satisfaction in a task being
completed. Although these tasks may be necessary, could the tasks be spaced out to prevent being overwhelmed and
burned out? Also, for the efforts put forth towards a project, it would be nice to see it implemented and maintained.
Thereby, increasing morale and productivity.

117 RE: building teams/increasing morale @ the Field Service level... It takes a TON of work by each VRC/VRT team to 12/5/2016 4:27 PM
produce a "successful rehabilitation" and once that happens, the case is basically "mechanically closed" and the team
moves right on pumping out task after task without any "emotional applause" celebrated for achieving such a
wonderful, life-changing goal for the client. There is no significant, positive reinforcement that takes place at the end of
a successful case and positive closure at the office level is mostly lacking. Recognizing successful rehabs should be a
highly visible part of the VR process. It's no small feat. From my position in our office with a "bird's eye view," I watch
our staff members' faces light up when a client (infrequently) expresses his/her thanks and I can only imagine what a
thrill it would be for the VR teams to receive unexpected praise from headquarters IN COLLABORATION WITH THE
CLIENT. It would be great for VRCs/VRTs to occasionally receive an unexpected thank-you visit that promotes the
human side of the VR process as opposed to just counting "26's." Numbers are great but smiles and handshakes go a
long way in reinforcing excellent work. Perhaps the VR official and the client could appear together to offer the thank-
you. Thanks for listening.

118 I don't think I should have to be bolder to present an idea. It is all in the way it is presented and received. Here are 12/5/2016 4:15 PM
some suggestions: Make the work more fun. We need to ask ourselves, how would I run things if VR was my
company? Instead of retiring staff just going away in a puff of smoke, we need to ask them; what has worked for you
during your work life with VR? I am sharing that it is frustrating to fast track change, just because someone tells us to.
Quick weight loss never lasts, does quick change ever last? Is VR in danger of going away, and we are trying to fast
track change?

119 Hire Bruce Berger from Gainesville and perhaps another "helping consultant" if needed to record and help Bruce. The 12/5/2016 4:01 PM
goal would be to have all in room who are tasked with having knowledge on contracts, federal and state rules and
regs, forms we use, and other requirements of VR. I would also include a few folks from each class and perhaps a
vendor (placement vendor) representative or two. The idea would be to conduct an in-depth overview of our policy
manual, procedures, contracts, and database. Eliminating redundancies and streamlining processes help everyone to
have better productivity and buy in. The above can take months but it can be done and has previously been done in
another agency. Maintaining the set-up and implementing new changes is the challenge and this is where we need a
structure or committee at HQ to address each change, look at potential redundancy, and basically go through the
process the original work group went through but in much shorter nature so we can avoid going down the same
pathway after all is made better with the initial effort. Having consistent policies and procedures statewide is critical.
Having or implementing a consistent means of communication both "up and down" is essential. Having trainings on the
web is the best because we can track if all staff complete and this is more efficient than face-to-face trainings or
meetings except in some circumstances. I appreciate the desire to have field staff more involved, but I also believe
that there is a time for democracy and a time for dictatorship when it comes to leadership. The buy in from field staff
comes when we accomplish the cleanup above because it would greatly help field staff do their job much more
efficiently. Having field staff participate in these ongoing trainings is also essential to their buy in. However, there
comes a point where field staff have no choice but to follow directive from HQ. Hope this helps.

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OneVR Initiative - Help Increase Collaboration at VR SurveyMonkey

120 Actually completing the project if it is approved. Work groups are often tasked with the research, development, and all 12/5/2016 4:01 PM
the "work." Then it is turned over to individuals who don't have the buy in or the subject matter expertise needed to roll
out the ideas (training, sharing, etc); or there is so much red tape that was not explained to the group or is an
afterthought that ideas die. We often hire individuals with a Master's degree. Why is it that we then assume that they
can train others? Or that they are unable to develop a form. Or that that are unable to make recommendations to HQ
openly or understand involving specific team members there. 1.Transparency and less competition at the top. Allow a
work group to do the work and receive supports from the top. We are educated, we are capable, and many of us do
things in the community like facilitate, lead, develop, contribute, manage budgets, and do way more that our paid job
calls for. We consent to work on the group because we are passionate (hopefully), let us feel that we are making a real
change by seeing results, not just by being told "thank you, we will take it from here." Or by being bowled over by
office/agency politics. 2. Ask the group what they would need to be successful and provide the limitations and
boundaries up front. 3. Task the group with challenging our current technologies/systems and ask what they would
need systematically to be more successful (online applications, adding tabs to existing programming, a simple video
or TED training, etc) 4. Compensation in some way shape or form for the work would be helpful. Sitting on these
groups is often more work hours and responsibility. Not feeling valued/compensated for it decreases motivation to do
it again.

121 Technological and software collaboration solutions- Use PRA (participatory rapid appraisal) method and have a pilot 12/5/2016 3:55 PM
group before any technological change takes place Team and relationship building activities- Peer meetings between
units. Mission and vision alignment activities-Allow focus group discussion with identified employees , let them
brainstorm and come up with ideas or share ideas. Structuring ways to allow employees to make decisions about
their jobs- New counselor training needs to be done area wise- locally Be innovative and provide incentives through
ITF fund, make the process user friendly with no or less red tape. Specific ideas on increasing collaboration between
agencies, bureaus, units- Twice a year , arrange local open house through Business relation team , not only
participate on others. Give opportunity to VR employees to become VR ambassador or create such a position Identify
catchment area and target group to send these representative to present VR Make Placement vendors accountable of
their action. Contract unit should play a major role in the process of approve or disapprove certain decision of
placement vendor such as not taking referral, not working with specific client.

122 To increase collaboration with agencies, customers, local school districts, bureaus and units to aide in their 12/5/2016 3:52 PM
understanding of V.R. Mission (helping people find and maintain employment, and enhance customer independence);
which will include the Vision of V.R. and the Purpose of Vocational Rehabilitation. Meaning, a lot of valuable time and
resources are spent aiding potential clients whom are under the false misconception that we are solely a scholarship
agency.

123 Structuring ways to allow "bright" employees to make decisions about their jobs, allowing only those of certain level of 12/5/2016 3:52 PM
performance to enter into this. To develop teams that engage in mission and vision alignment activities.

124 How about having upper management and administration produce an audio/visual profile of what their job entails and 12/5/2016 3:52 PM
how it influences Vocational Rehab as a whole. Also, have middle management create audio/visuals as well and have
a few Consultants, Senior VR Counselor's/Counselor's and Tech's include audio visuals too. 1x every quarter have an
area wide meeting in person with Tallahassee electronically discussing prominent issues; but also just as importantly
to create interactions within VR. Have a place on VR Net for ongoing questions; ideas; motivating quotes etc. that
anyone can access. Have it broken down by department if possible(someone would need to sensor it before it
becomes live)

125 I'm not very good at thinking of ideas. I like the idea of some type of team building activity that could be done at a unit 12/5/2016 3:41 PM
meeting or at ACED day with all the units in the area. However, I can't think of a specific idea at this moment.

126 I would say team and relationship building. I think there should be a better relationship between RSA and DVR. A 12/5/2016 3:35 PM
better understanding between PEF's and New Counselors.

127 Incentives and encouragement to engage all individuals in the process. To allow people more freedom to want to 12/5/2016 3:31 PM
participate potentially accentuating talents or skills of staff. As well expanding people who may need to develop more
growth. Incentives could be as simple as days off, traveling to other areas, engagement in a fun activity related to
work or pay. Engagement does not always equal a lot of time either, emphasis that it could be an hour a month or just
answering a few questions. Supervisors and other management, need to learn there staff and engage them in the
process as well. We have veteran VR Counselors that have strengths that are never explored and new counselors that
are never offered a change because they are still learning. Everyone needs to be more open to the whole process.

128 Allow HQ staff to work from any VR or Area office in one-week increments to share new information coming from HQ, 12/5/2016 3:30 PM
staff cases, and establish effective relationships that can be fostered when the HQ staff members return to
Tallahassee. Also, when HQ builds new documents, provide all staff with a link to the draft in Google Drive for
comments, suggestions, etc.

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OneVR Initiative - Help Increase Collaboration at VR SurveyMonkey

129 1. Simplify everything, starting with unwritten policies and rules, written policies and rules, restrictive mandates which 12/5/2016 3:20 PM
interfere with achieving rehabilitations and cumbersome processes in order to streamline and standardize effective
operations across units. It makes no business sense to export bad practices from one workgroup to another. 2. Set the
expectation that collaborative communications between workgroups is encouraged and expected, both horizontal and
vertical. Breakdown communication barriers and eliminate gatekeepers. 3. Clarify and prioritize "priorities". For
example, are 26's the #1 priority? Whatever the #1 priority, prevent anything or anyone within the system from
interfering with achievement of that priority. Staff cannot serve two masters, especially if there are competing priorities.
4. Headquarters staff at all levels must become intimately familiar with what goes on daily at the street level in units
and with application of multiple mandated procedures and processes, to identify redundancies, reduce rework, prevent
implementation tie-ups and eliminate ineffective process steps. 5. Before implementing any new mandate or initiative,
complete a benefits, gains and costs analysis to clearly understand the ripple effects downstream to units and staff.
Clearly understand the effects and consequences of decision making on the organization.

130 I have asked for four years to allow color coding in rims. 12/5/2016 3:10 PM

131 If the budget would allow, it would be great if the VR Counselors, perhaps area by area, were allowed to come to 12/5/2016 3:05 PM
Tallahassee and get similar training as VR Supervisors. Although it is the VRS responsibility, at this point, to share the
information I find many VR Counselors feel talked to and not a part of the process. As the first line of support, giving
them a voice is very important as part of ownership - especially with all of the changes we are going through as an
agency due to WIOA. Perhaps VR Consultants from around the state could be invited, then Senior VR Counselors, VR
Counselors etc. I think VR as an agency can create a team culture by actively including those members of the team in
the decision making process. Appreciation, the best we can provide, is key!

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