NARRATIVE: Workforce Engagement/Empowerment  

In January 2014, a new employee engagement effort was instituted when the City of San Diego Public 
Utilities Department (PUD) embarked on an aggressive new program to involve employees on a whole 
new level. The goal was simple, to create and communicate a new brand which would influence 
employee perceptions, inspire excellence, empower the workforce to embrace positive changes, and 
create/implement innovative approaches to daily operations.   

Starting with the Executive Team, employees were involved on every level as four internal teams were 
created to spearhead the new branding effort. These teams were 1) Creative Development, 2) 
Organization Readiness, 3) Brand Champions, and 4) Brand Launch Event.   

After two work sessions involving 35 stakeholders, three slogan surveys (internal and external), and 20 
presentations made to employees (including our labor union and oversight committee), our brand 
slogan and new workforce commitments were established.    

The slogan created by the employees is: Quality, Value, Reliability, and Customer Service - In Every Drop! 
Below are the four workforce commitments mentioned in our slogan that represent the PUD 
organizational culture:   

Quality: we surpass quality and safety standards.  
Value: we operate and invest wisely.  
Reliability: we consistently provide dependable services.   
Customer Service: we are responsible, professional and courteous.  

Internal brand Champions provide bi-monthly updates on the employee performance on these four 
workforce commitments to the management teams on a monthly basis. Then the executive teams from 
each division report to the PUD director semi-annually.   

In addition, employee engagement involving the Director, the Executive Teams, Brand Champions, 
Human Resources, and each individual employee on every level of the department has yielded new 
rewards and recognition opportunities such as:  



The High 5 Recognition Program. Employees can nominate a co-worker for doing a great 
job at work. Along with this recognition, they become eligible for a drawing for gift 
cards. (The High 5 program has generated a 100% increase in peer-to-peer recognition 
just in the past year.)  



Catch Me in Action. A special effort to promote recognition. Employees take photos of 
unique, diverse functions in their division, and Brand Champions select 5-10-photos for 



Certificates of Recognition. Saying thank you for doing a great job.   

Performance Measures  

In June 2014, all 1,300 employees were invited to the Brand Launching Event. As a result of this new 
branding effort, employees have engaged in their work in exciting new ways. The Brand delivers 
Department-wide communication and activities creating employee unity and inclusion.  Our internal 
annual survey indicates that employees feel more valued, recognized, and satisfied with their job as a