Throughout the last several months, The City of Fargo’s Human Resources (HR) and Administration Teams collaborated with The Fargo Police Department (FPD)’s Leadership Team to conduct stay interviews within the FPD. Stay interviews are intended to encourage and normalize conversations between team members and their supervisors. The City’s HR Team intends to launch stay interviews in all City departments, with the FPD being the first work group to utilize the process.
Stay interviews will serve as an important aspect of The City of Fargo’s employee retention efforts. They have several goals/objectives, including:
• Providing an opportunity to discuss a team member’s experience at work.
• Determining the aspects of the position and/or organization which may lead to satisfaction and engagement.
• Identifying factors of the position and/or organization which may lead to dissatisfaction or potentially causing someone to consider leaving employment with The City of Fargo.
• Generating ideas to potentially improve work conditions for team members individually, for the department and/or for The City of Fargo as a whole.
Over a period of 71 days, 90 FPD staff members engaged in this voluntary process. Participants had the opportunity to either be identified or not identified throughout this interactive process. Twelve questions were utilized to guide the interviews with participants helping to identify concerns, strengths and recommendations for consideration and incorporation.
The results, recommendations and summaries of the final report of the Stay Interview Process were discussed with departmental staff during FPD briefings on December 21.
In full transparency, The City of Fargo is making available the individual responses gathered throughout the process as well as the executive summary document.
• Individual Responses (Excel workbook) - https://download.fargond.gov/0/stay_interview_-compiled_responses-_final.xlsx (you may need to copy/paste this link into a browser if the link does not automatically open upon click).
• Final Report Executive Summary (PDF) - https://download.fargond.gov/0/stay_interviews_report_fpd_12.06.2022.pdf.
After assembling all results, the Stay Interview Implementation Team provided six recommendations for next steps at the FPD:
• Consider organizing team discussion groups.
• Develop an action plan to advance the recommendations gathered through the process.
• Implement a plan for departmental leaders to regularly conduct stay interviews.
• Adopt a change management model and educate departmental leaders on the aspects of change management.
• Develop an internal communication plan which considers how department members consume information.
• Continue efforts to address wellness with a prioritizing of awareness and access to mental health services.
Mayor Dr. Tim Mahoney remarked, “Stay interviews are consistently utilized in private industry and have proven to be successful. As a public employer, we need to compete to attract and retain our talent; this will be one of several tools we deploy to aid in those efforts. We listened to the candid thoughts of FPD employees who took part in this collaborative effort and we learned many things. Some topics raised are already being incorporated, others are on the horizon; we also learned where we need to improve. We are providing the interview notes and reports in full transparency to our community; however, I sincerely hope this study is not politicized or sensationalized. We received confirmation through this process that we have an amazing police department with engaged employees; that engagement is the embodiment of the various goals identified for this process.”
Fargo Police Chief Dave Zibolski said, “Our Executive Leadership Team and front-line leadership worked collaboratively with HR and City Administration to implement this process. I appreciate the time, efforts and candid conversations which occurred throughout this team-led effort. Many of the items identified through this process have been or will be addressed through our FPD Strategic Plan. We will work diligently to address the identified challenges as we strive to transform a good department into a great department. FPD will continue to encourage dialogue at all levels of the department to make us the best we can be.”
Human Resources Director Jill Minette commented, “The conversations that are easy to have with our peers and family typically aren’t as natural with our immediate supervisor. Over time, The City of Fargo intends to lead efforts to change that by encouraging and normalizing these candid and impactful type of conversations with stay interviews. This process further opens the door for these important conversations for members of the department and their direct supervisor.”
Interim City Administrator Michael Redlinger stated, “The outcome of this report is a roadmap to building satisfaction, engagement and retention for our team members. We look forward to implementing this important employment tool across our organization in the future for Team Fargo.”