Top honors for Pierce County Web site

Pierce County’s Intranet site was recently judged best among the nation’s counties, and the internal e-mail communications program also was recognized in the National Association of County Information Officers’ 2007 Awards of Excellence competition, according to a statement released this week.

The redesigned My Pierce County site received a Superior (1st place) award in the Internet Web site category for large counties (more than 500,000 population). Other winners were County Online, Arapahoe County, CO, Excellent; and California Counties Power Point Presentation, California State Association of Counties, Meritorious.

The news and information e-mail program received a Meritorious award in the Internal Publications (Other Formats) category. Other winners were Roadway Rehabilitation Program, Orange County, FL, Superior; and Emergency Preparedness Area Study, Orange County, FL, Excellent.

The Department of Communications redesigned the Intranet site to address the changing communication needs of employees. The updated home page includes 75 percent more content area organized into an attractive layout. Generation of the html code was automated by the IT department wherever possible. All employees are given rights to contribute content directly onto the home page in contrast to the Communication and Human Resources departments being the major generators in the past. My Pierce County, which received 1.4 million visits last year, now fosters a sense of unity and promotes a well-informed and involved staff.

A secondary purpose for the redesign was to develop guidelines for departments to customize their own Intranet pages to meet their unique needs while still allowing for creativity. Human Resources Director Betsy Sawyers reports, “Our internal customers give high marks to the easy to find information that is now available on our Intranet site.

Performance review forms, labor agreements and salary tables are our most popular pages. Self-service frees up my staff to keep information updated and to post even more useful data and analyses.”

The internal e-mail communications program not only informs employees but also supports countywide employee-led projects. These projects are often aimed at raising money to benefit employees and their families with extraordinary medical-related expenses. Other projects benefit cancer research and local non-county families in need.

Pierce County employees have shown through many projects that their capacity for caring and giving is limitless.

The county created eight “mailboxes” from which to send news and information. These are News from Pierce County, Our Projects, Our Family, and Nuts and Bolts, Kitchen Sink, Emergency, Discounts and Cheers. The department sends news releases to employees at the same time they are sent to the news media.

One employee project supported by internal communications e-mail messaging stands out. During September and October 2006, employees representing virtually every department in the three branches of county government donated an amazing $19,008.62 to the Women’s Cancer Programs of The Entertainment Industry Foundation through the 2006 National Denim Day Project. County offices held silent auctions, basket drawings, bake sales, special meals and other projects aimed at allowing employees to express their generosity. The county has raised more than $70,000 for breast cancer research since 2000.