By Lee Ann Eissler
The COVID-19 pandemic had a dramatic impact on the Department of State’s traditional work processes. In response to calls from the workforce to address challenges brought on by the pandemic, Under Secretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao stood up the Reimagine Task Force. The Reimagine Task Force seized the opportunity to improve how the Department works today—to fix pain points and scale what is already being done well—and to boldly reimagine and expand the workforce’s capabilities long-term. The end goal is to improve the Department’s effectiveness in carrying out its mission by increasing productivity, agility, and collaboration through technology, policy, and culture change. The task force combined individuals from every “family” in the Department and was divided into four lines of effort: Automation Squad led by Jeff Reneau from the Secretary’s Executive Secretariat, Change Management and Communications Squad led by Lee Ann Eissler from the Bureau of Medical Services, Technology Squad led by Sheila Campbell from the Under Secretariat of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, and Workforce and Policy Squad led by Steven Adams-Smith from the Foreign Service Institute.
In direct response to the Reimagine Task Force’s feedback from surveys and interviews with the workforce (domestic and overseas), they designed 10 Rapid Results initiatives for implementation within 90 days. Seven of these Rapid Results focused on enhancing current processes and access. The other three were pilot programs focused on digitizing forms and manual processes, providing additional secure mobile devices to personnel who require access to secure systems, and creating a framework to review domestic positions for the level of telework eligibility.
Although the Reimagine Task Force was only intended to run on a 90-day schedule, its initiatives helped guide the Department toward long-term mobile workforce agility. The Reimagine Talk Force built a road map that extends past the 90-day timeline to fulfill a three-year Reimagine vision. Employees can learn more about the Reimagine Task Force on this website and are encouraged to share their feedback.
Lee Ann Eissler is managing director for clinical services in the Bureau of Medical Services and team lead for Change Management and Communications in the Reimagine Task Force.