An Interview with Jennifer Estes, Director
Loudon County (TN) E-911 is the primary PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) for all of Loudon County, Tennessee. They currently serve over 40,000 citizens with an annual call volume of over 55,000.
GT: What was your organization using for employee documentation prior to Guardian Tracking?
JE: Prior to Guardian, our agency utilized written documentation for specific events. Mainly these were discussed at an employee’s annual evaluation and quite honestly were mostly negative events. We were not documenting the good things our people did as often as we took the time to document the negative. The challenge with this was first of all getting people to actually take the time to make the documentation. The other thing that proved difficult was to capture a time line of events accurately. For example, if a person had been absent a lot, it was hard to give them steadfast numbers on how many absences they had when reviewing.
GT: What led to the purchase of Guardian Tracking?
JE: I saw the GT system at a NENA conference. I was brainstorming on ways to identify the good things my team did on a regular basis. I knew from my experiences that our team members made great things happen everyday, but we historically only documented the areas they needed to improve on. I wanted to show what was being done not only correctly, but excellent! When I saw GT, it was a perfect fit for what I wanted to accomplish.
GT: Was there a specifc benefit of GT that grabbed your attention?
JE: The documentation possibilities, including the ability to basically print off a time line of real data for evaluations was what grabbed my attention. The cost of the system is what sealed the purchase decision for us.
GT: What need did GT meet that couldn’t be found in other products?
JE: Customization. We have been able to add many fields and use our system daily. We have a “merit” system with GT that allows us to reward our team members based on true merit. The more “merits” they have in the system, the more “chances” they have for things such as conferences, awards, etc.
GT: In what ways has GT impacted your organization?
JE: Our employees are getting real time feedback for how they perform. There is no question as to how they are succeeding in their assigned roles. The other thing that GT has done for us is reduce absenteeism. The ability to document every absence and deviation from scheduled shifts is very beneficial. It makes employees realize, via the Early Intervention, when they need to make improvements prior to having a formal counseling with them. It has saved me a lot of lost time and disciplinary actions.
GT: How do you use GT in your daily job duties?
JE: We document every performance that is measured in our center. The employees have documentation for Quality Assurance, Answer times, off duty call ins, etc. Again, this is a daily use system for our Supervisors to be on top of the actual performance of our team.
GT: Any other feedback you’d like to share?
JE: It is overwhelming to see how the positive behaviors outweigh the bad. As administrators, we often know that in our heads but may not communicate it well to our employees. I think this system has given the employees information they need to understand how valuable they are to our organization. It provides them proof that they should be proud of their accomplishments. This has helped the morale in our center.
Hundreds of organizations are using Guardian Tracking to improve their organizational culture. Jennifer and the team at Loudon County E-911 confirm what we believe; employees need to know that what they do has value. This helps not only with morale, but with employee retention as well, and we all want to retain our high performers.