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Achieving high performance in the HCV program: Tip #5

Tip #5: Create practical work systems and work processes to ensure consistency.

The term "work systems" refers to the way in which an organization aligns its internal operations and workforce with its key vendors, suppliers, partners, and collaborators to provide a high-quality, cost-effective service to its clients.

Our work systems include our communication protocol, our expectations, and our tracking mechanisms between our internal work processes and our external resources necessary for us to plan and deliver services to our customers. Examples of work systems are HUD regulations, your PHA's administrative plan, and PHA systems such as housing software and the electronic filing system, call tracking system, criminal background check system, and data tracking system such as SharePoint.

Work processes are a subset of the overall work system. They create the internal structure of how the work is accomplished and involve all the activities needed to sustain the various program functions, including how staff is utilized and which tools should be created by the PHA to accomplish the work. Work processes include written procedures for the functional areas of the program, mini-procedures for a specific task, workflows, automated reports, meetings, and checklists. Data entry and transmission of the HUD-50058 are other examples of work processes.

What should your agency keep in mind when setting up work processes?  Most importantly, they should be:

  • Easy to reference
  • Simple to understand
  • Designed in a step-by-step process
  • Tied into procedure checklists

When HUD regulations and forms and PHA policy, systems, letters, and forms are referenced within these processes, it allows staff a better understanding of how the work processes are integrated. The more clearly the overall work systems and work processes are defined, the more sustainable your organization will be.

Next: Achieving high performance in the HCV program: Tip #6

While serving as executive director of a Minnesota housing authority, Nan McKay started one of the nation’s first Section 8 programs. The agency was subsequently honored with a HUD award as one of 13 outstanding Section 8 programs in the country.

Founder and president of Nan McKay and Associates, she has devoted the past two years to redesigning NMA’s HCV Executive Management course, as well as rewriting the HCV Executive Management Master Book with Bill Caltabiano. The tips and systems described above are thoroughly explored in both, with many forms available on a CD.