From Worst to First: A Department’s Journey to Excellence
Property Accounting’s Story
Tina Jacobi knew her region needed help — and fast. Tina, assistant controller in Southern California, recognized that her region was significantly behind in project closures in the Property Accounting Department and that high staff turnover was contributing to the problem. “Compared to other regions, Southern California was dead last,” says Tina. This was a problem because it meant KP was out of compliance with accounting guidelines.
At the beginning of the project, Tina considered bringing on contractors for six months. However, the process of interviewing candidates, conducting background checks, onboarding, and requesting systems access would have taken at least a couple months — and probably would have cost the department over $100,000. Ultimately, the department decided to turn to Stretch@KP for the internal talent marketplace and hosted two Stretch@KP projects to save time and money, while still getting important work done.
This project gave me a better understanding of how different parts of KP come together. And I became more efficient with my current work...
Donald Kong, financial project manager and the project host, worked with Tina and the Stretch@KP program team to determine the scope of each project, including the roles and number of participants it would take to be successful. It took three to four weeks to fully scope out and provide a clear roadmap for the work. “There was an urgent need to get the project going, but we had to be realistic. We knew that fully understanding and articulating the work would be the key to attracting the right people and delivering on the work,” says Donald. “My advice (to other project hosts) is to start with the end goal in mind. It’s about the quality of help, not the quantity.”
Both projects had the same high-level framework: 1. Train the participants, 2. Correct and minimize the issues and 3. Create a playbook to correct issues in the future. Tina and Donald ended up recruiting 13 people, some of whom worked on both projects. The project team — made up of people from different departments — formed a “study group” and met up twice a month to work on the project in the same room. Participant, Pamela Hood, whose role was project manager said, “It was exciting to take the lead and share my experience and knowledge. And, as it turns out, I got to work with a wonderful group of KP professionals.” Another participant, James Dawson said, “This project gave me a better understanding of how different parts of KP come together. And I became more efficient with my current work in order to accommodate the project work. My overall productivity increased.”
The projects’ teams eliminated a four-year backlog... and the region went from last place to first place.
The results? The projects’ teams eliminated a four-year backlog in equipment capitalization and the Southern California Region went from last place to first place in capital project closures. The teams also created new processes and playbooks to maintain the work moving forward. In addition, the projects helped people throughout the organization connect in new and different ways to complete strategically important projects. Stretch@KP works because whether you work in patient care or environmental services, in facilities or accounting, every department and every employee has a role to play in achieving our mission.