DHS News

Building a positive, inclusive organizational culture

DHS Director's Message
Message from DHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht​

February 14, 2019

Our agency culture provides the lens through which we see ourselves within the organization and how people outside the organization experience us as partners or recipients of our services. We all want DHS to be a better place, and the culture we work within determines how far and fast we can move forward. Having a positive, inclusive organizational culture doesn’t happen by chance and that’s why I’m pleased to share that next week DHS will begin inviting staff to join us in building our culture for a better tomorrow.

The vision for our culture is called RiSE and it supports a DHS that ensures each touchpoint with the agency is focused on improving the lives and outcomes for all employees, individuals, families, and communities. You can learn more about RiSE by listening to my 10-minute podcast on culture building.

RiSE 5 elements

RiSE is based in research on resiliency and reflects what more than 3,500 staff members told us you need to do your best work during the internal statewide assessment.

RiSE has five elements:

  • Safety and well-being;
  • Caring and supportive relationships;
  • High expectations and accountability;
  • Meaningful participation; and,
  • Community engagement.

Next week our RiSE facilitators start travelling the state to host building sessions where they will preview RiSE and get your feedback. They need to learn how each element applies to your experience and how we should go about building a positive, inclusive culture in a way that sustains us for the long-term. RiSE is still in the planning stages, so your input is important in ensuring that we have a thoughtful implementation plan and measures that lead to success.

The RiSE Building Sessions are scheduled through May. You will get an announcement from your local leadership when one comes to your area with instructions on how to get involved.

Building an intentional culture will take time. Typically, it takes five to seven years for a new culture to fully take root but we should see some results within the first 12 months of implementation.

Building our culture will take all of us. We are all part of our organization’s culture and we all need to be part of building it for a better tomorrow. As we build this culture together we will honor, preserve, and build on the many positive aspects of our existing culture.

Building a better culture will take intention and a long-term commitment which is why we invested the past year in research and development, and now are planning a strategic, statewide implementation with your help.

In my own travels across Oregon to meet staff, I am constantly impressed by your deep desire to help Oregonians achieve safety, health, and independence. For us to do our best work in service to Oregonians, all must feel safe, valued, supported, strengthened, and engaged in their personal growth and the agency’s growth. RiSE is a vehicle for building the environment together that honors our individual and collective experience, and raises DHS to new heights.

Rising to be better tomorrow than we are today starts with me, as your agency director. I will be doing my best to model RiSE and hold myself and our leadership accountable to its vision. I invite you to join me in this journey and look forward to learning and growing with you along the way.