White Paper: Transforming Organizational Culture for Improved Performance at IDOC

Executive Summary: 

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) faced significant challenges, including high turnover rates, employee burnout, a perceived lack of value among staff, inconsistent leadership approaches, and difficulties in recruitment – all contributing to low morale. Recognizing the need for a transformative shift in organizational culture, IDOC enlisted the expertise of The Carden Group (TCG). This white paper outlines the collaborative effort between TCG and IDOC, resulting in the successful implementation of the “Purpose in Action” initiative and a notable positive impact on organizational metrics. 


IDOC, like many other organizations, found itself grappling with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ensuing challenges necessitated a strategic intervention to address issues affecting the workforce, leadership, and overall organizational morale. 

Assessment and Customized Leadership Development: 

TCG embarked on a comprehensive assessment of IDOC, evaluating its structure, leadership dynamics, and workforce interactions. TCG also delved deep into the mission, vision, values, and overall strategic goals and priorities of IDOC. This helps team members better understand their value and connects their daily activities to the overall organizational goals. The findings fostered the development of a tailored leadership development curriculum. This curriculum was initially delivered to leadership, emphasizing the importance of cultivating a positive and empowered organizational culture. 

Continuous Support and Purpose in Action: 

The leadership development was not a one-time event; TCG established a structured support system with monthly follow-up calls over four months. These calls provided a platform for sharing best practices, addressing challenges, and identifying opportunities for further growth. 

Working alongside the IDOC team, TCG defined and branded the initiative as “Purpose in Action” (PIA). PIA encapsulates Positive Attitude, Understanding, Recognition, Proactivity, Open Communication, Success, and Empowerment. The initiative aimed to instill these values at all levels within the organization. 

Internal Resources and Sustainability: 

Recognizing the importance of sustainability, TCG collaborated with IDOC to identify and develop internal resources and create the Purpose in Action Team. This team, consisting of specialists, adjuncts, and ambassadors, ensures the continued development of teams independently of TCG. Specialists serve as subject matter experts and provide oversight and ongoing support, adjuncts facilitate foundation developmental sessions on an ongoing basis, and ambassadors continue to champion the initiative at the local level tying into the overarching goals within IDOC. 

Results and Impact: 

The transformative efforts led by TCG and IDOC resulted in a remarkable 67% improvement in retention year over year. The return on investment (ROI) was equally impressive, with a calculated 15 to 1 return. This positive shift in organizational metrics underscored the effectiveness of PIA as a guiding framework for cultural transformation. Additionally, from September 2022 to March 2023, 43% of IDOC employees say culture had improved.  

Liz Neville, Deputy Chief of Prisons for IDOC, was an instrumental internal champion and driver for the PIA initiative. She shared her insight on the partnership with TCG:  

Our agency, Idaho Department of Correction, has greatly benefited from partnering with The Carden Group as we had been attempting to improve our culture for quite some time. The Carden crew have given us a roadmap and foundation in getting on the right path, and we have made some major strides in the process. They helped us dial down on the key concepts of an overall cultural improvement plan that focuses on the people. We have been truly blessed by our partnership, and we are very excited about the new heights we can reach as an agency.” 

Sergeant Brian Crowl said of the Purpose in Action Initiative:

“In my 17 years with IDOC, I have never felt as positive and optimistic about my chosen profession as I do right now. Everywhere I look I see people who care about their job, about each other, and about the residents under our care. I know from experience that in this line of work we can’t fake caring. You either care or you don’t, and man, I feel it right now, and I owe a lot of that to PURPOSE In Action.”

Call to Action: 

If your organization is grappling with challenges related to recruitment and retention, low morale, and a leadership team that recognizes the need for change but is uncertain about the “how,” TCG invites you to take action today. Our proven methodologies, as demonstrated by the success at IDOC, can be tailored to meet the unique needs of your organization. Let’s start a conversation about transforming your organizational culture for sustainable success. 

Contact The Carden Group: https://thecardengroup.com/get-started/  

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About The Carden Group: 

The Carden Group is a leading advising firm specializing in organizational development, leadership training, and cultural transformation. With a track record of success across diverse industries, we empower organizations to achieve their goals through innovative and tailored solutions. 

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