California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Strategic Initiative 6: Enhance Organizational Vitality by Focusing on Employees and Internal Systems


  • Strategy 1: Improve direction and promote transparent communications, department-wide
  • Strategy 2: Increase flexibility in utilization of state civil service classifications
  • Strategy 3: Improve workplace environment
  • Strategy 4: Prepare future leaders by fostering development of department knowledge, skill and abilities that define leadership for a successful transition
  • Strategy 5: Support a vital organization that’s well connected and one you’d be proud of
  • Strategy 6: Empower, communicate with and recognize employees
  • Strategy 7: Improve the business process for vendor payments

This initiative highlights the need for DFG to provide managers and supervisors with the necessary skills, knowledge and abilities to fulfill their public trust responsibilities to protect the natural resources in California. It also addresses the need to develop strategies for workforce planning as the DFG becomes susceptible as retirement occur. It recognizes the critical role DFG scientists play in managing California’s diverse fish, wildlife and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public. All of the scientists at DFG perform an invaluable service for the public and are critical to carrying out the mission of the department. Additionally, this initiative focuses on the ongoing effort to reduce California's carbon footprint to meet the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Californians will need to obtain 33 percent of its energy from renewable resources or “green energy” by the year 2020. It also recognizes the need to modernize and streamline the state’s HR system to recruit, develop and maintain a well-qualified, high-performance workforce. Lastly, it addresses the need to assist programs in obtaining and using resources effectively and efficiently in carrying out their program objectives consistent with the approved budget by providing accurate and timely information and technical expertise.

Another element of this initiative is to examine opportunities for organizational efficiencies by developing and implementing new systems for payroll, budgeting, and other fiscal functions using current technology. Progress in this focal area has been hampered by a requirement for the Department to utilize state-wide systems that are largely outdated and inefficient. Despite this impediment, DFG is evaluating internal systems to look for opportunities for efficiencies and improving reliability of information and data.

A number of improvements have been made to accomplish these goals. DFG has enhanced its supervisory training modules used for new supervisors and managers. Executive staff formed a Leadership Development Advisory Group to identify areas in which the department may be vulnerable as retirements occur and to develop strategies for workforce planning, particularly for capturing institutional knowledge. A Scientific Community Development (SCD) Program was revived to promote professional development among new DFG scientists and is reviewing and updating the program’s needs assessment, identifying key core training for new scientists, and clarifying the SCD programs goals and plans. Last, DFG continues to monitor its carbon foot print and met its commitments reduce fleet and mobile equipment inventory.

Future Implementation

To effectively move Initiative 6 forward DFG must:

  1. Increase automation of internal processes and records management to provide “real time” data for management decisions.
  2. Enhance e-learning as part of cost savings and increase outreach to remote staff by expanding tutorials and training classes.
  3. Redesign employee awards program (DFG Employee Excellence) to recognize scientific achievement and to reward employee contributions which reinforce organizational values.
  4. Review and compare the organizational structure of other state agencies with a similar structure to DFG, in an effort to redesign and improve compensation levels in order to attract and retain more quality staff. Remedy inconsistencies in the Environmental Scientist and Biologist series.
  5. Revise the DFG Succession Plan by development of a set of strategies for capturing institutional knowledge.
  6. System improvement for budgets: Development of a department wide, uniform budget tracking system for region offices and field sites that is in harmony with Sacramento budget reports. At the close of year end, budgets staff should meet in Sacramento to review and the FM12 Reports.
  7. Support UC and CSU systems in scientific programs in order to facilitate future recruitment.
  8. Identify and implement new or improved systems for managing information and fiscal data for additional transparency and to support employee administration.