Operational Excellence
Phase 1 Summary

What happened over the course of Phase 1?

The objective for phase 1 of Operational Excellence (OE) was to define and collect data on the following project areas:

  • Development of a small set of key core measures

  • Development of a training philosophy

  • Development of a compensation philosophy

  • Assessment of current and available technology investments

Initial definitions and examples of each project area were created by the OE team. A survey was then compiled and sent to the entire workforce for their feedback, recommendations, and insights into the definitions and examples. A total of 54 responses were received and the OE team reviewed all workforce feedback and incorporated as necessary by:

1.) Removing examples that scored less than 50%

2.) Any recurring comment or theme was considered and either incorporated into the definition, added as an example, or noted for further consideration when the philosophies are developed.

A summary by project area can be found below.


  • 28 respondents (52%) agreed with the definition of training as presented in the survey.

  • Due to a recurring comment/theme, stakeholders was removed from the definition.
  • Department/position was added to the definition.

  • Removed from examples due to less than 50% agreement: mentoring programs, succession planning, volunteer training, exit interviews.

  • Technology was added as an example.


  • 29 respondents (54%) agreed with the definition of compensation as presented in the survey.
  • Due to a recurring comment/theme, overtime pay and comp time accrual, on-call pay and other contractual pay, and sick time buy-back were added to the definition.
  • Removed from examples due to less than 50% agreement: cell phone and vehicle allowance.


  • 29 respondents (54%) agreed with the definition of technology as presented in the survey.
  • Due to a recurring comment/theme, stakeholders and automated were removed from the definition.
  • Due to a recurring comment/theme, processes information and improves accuracy were added to the definition, along with additional language regarding IT security.

Performance Indicators

  • 26 respondents (48%) agreed with the definition of performance indicators as presented in the survey.
  • Due to a recurring comment/theme, quantifiable was removed from the definition.
  • Due to a recurring comment/theme, engagement levels to operational measures to capture employee satisfaction, turnover, and resident engagement were added

What are the resulting definitions?

The final definitions and examples for training, compensation, technology, and performance indicators for Phase 1 are defined as follows.

Return to Operational Excellence Project Plan

Training is a workforce development process which promotes employee professionalism and expertise, and is essential to providing competent service. Training is an investment in our employees that will focus on safety, skillsets, critical thinking, and professional growth. There are two types of training: general training that all employees receive; and department/position specific training necessary for the employee to expertly perform their job.

Examples of training include but may not be limited to:

  • Technical job skills
  • Mandated training required of position
  • Safety training
  • Employee orientation
  • Ethics
  • Harassment prevention
  • Organizational values
  • Performance evaluations
  • Career progression
  • Risk management
  • Budget
  • Technology

In addition to building a collaborative definition of training, the team performed the following research:

  • We collected a comprehensive inventory of training programs for all Village employees. We noted there is no standardization in the way each department tracks and conducts training.
  • We researched how each department currently onboards new employees. Based on training needs, the group discussed what aspects of training should be included in the onboarding process. Again, each department works independently regarding onboarding, rather than trying to standardize the process organizationally.
  • We considered how best to track training and SOPs, and standardize training across the organization. We looked at the need to build a database through a software application to define the components of each training ‘class’ and automatically track when an employee has completed the required training. (Power DMS).
  • We looked at sample training philosophies.

Compensation is the total amount of direct and indirect salary, wages and benefits provided to an employee in return for work performed as defined by the Village. Compensation is a tool that is used by the Village for the recruitment/retention of quality employees, to encourage and reward top-performance, and to achieve compensation equity across public and private entities.

Components of compensation include but may not be limited to:

  • Salary and wages
  • Paid time off (vacation, personal, sick)
  • Overtime pay and comp time accrual
  • On-call pay and other contractual pay
  • Increases to salary and wages (cost of living, merit, and step)
  • Cap bonuses
  • Village paid portion of insurance coverage
  • IMRF pension and Police pension
  • Disability pay
  • Group life insurance
  • Years of service awards
  • Sick time buy back
  • Tuition reimbursement

In addition to writing the definition for compensation, we:

1.) Collected examples of compensation philosophies. Most policies show the value of accountability to the Board and the public, and improve the level of transparency this organization seeks to inspire.

2.) Reviewed our current compensation practices. We noted there is no underlying policy by which the organization defines how compensation should be considered for each position.

Technology is any tool that allows for the purposeful application of information and data in the delivery of services. Technology allows for information and data to be processed, stored, accessed, and shared in the most convenient way. Technology allows for effective communication, improves efficiency, improves accuracy, saves time, and automates processes. It is imperative for technology to be properly secured so that information and data remains confidential and protects the privacy of its users.

Components of technology include but may not be limited to:

  • Hardware; physical equipment or devices that facilitate use of software to execute user or infrastructure functions.
  • Software; programs or applications that translate user or infrastructure interaction to desired outcomes.

In addition to writing the definition for technology, we:

1.) Obtained a current list of all Village owned software. We recognized the Village has software tools that can be better leveraged through broader use across the organization.

2.) Obtained a current list of all Village owned hardware. The survey identified the concern many have with security. The survey also uncovered a strong interest in improved training on the use of technology.

Performance indicators are a measurable value used to determine how effectively the Village is providing operationally excellent services by meeting key objectives. A small set of key performance indicators will be monitored to ensure we are providing excellent operational and financial services. The measures must offer actionable data that easily answers why we are measuring the indicator, and the measures must reflect important components of service central to the vision of the Village.

Each department will have a dashboard to track service delivery performance in the areas of operational measures and financial measures.

  • Operational Measures show the end results of the work of the Village. Customer satisfaction, production levels, and engagement levels are common outcome measures. These measures should depict the end results of the processes and programs offered by the Village.
  • Financial Measures reflect the efficiency in use of resources, including budget variance and service delivery costs.

In addition to creating a collaborative definition of the term, we collected the following information:

1.) We researched comparable communities’ fund budgeting and compared them against our information. This included reserve balance information, funds, dedicated revenues and other budgeting strategies. This research exposed the broad use from other organizations of dedicated revenue streams, more so than used by the Village.

2.) We reviewed the old Village monthly reports. We looked at what information was collected, how it was used, and what it measured. We found that these reports essentially ‘counted’ data without any definable purpose.

3.) We reviewed the Village progression toward the use of performance indicators in the budget document. We found that while there is room for improvement, the indicators better reflect the operational excellence definition of core measures, as they measure service delivery in a quantifiable manner against a target goal. The goal represents service excellence. When a goal is not met, the department must identify an action that is intended to remedy the unacceptable performance.

4.) We researched dashboard designs and other presentation methods to interactively share this information with the public. This information sharing increases transparency and improves organization accountability to the residents and Board of Trustees.