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What Govies Are Saying About Their Workforce Development

Pandemics, natural disasters, new hiring mandates, new technologies and processes all require employees to learn new skills to adapt. Agencies have the options to recruit new employees, teach current employees skills they previously lacked (reskill), or have existing employees upgrade their skills (upskill) when processes or technologies change.

It’s hard to work out which option best fits your agencies’ training and development needs, that’s why GovLoop and Cornerstone OnDemand put together this worksheet to help agencies create an action plan for effectively filling in skills gaps.

To further help agencies improve their workforces to achieve mission success — even during trying times — GovLoop hosted an online training on April 30 with Cornerstone OnDemand.

Featured speaker Steve Dobberwosky, Senior Principal for Talent Management and Thought Leadership at Cornerstone OnDemand, shared insights on ways agencies can diagnose development strategies for employees, how they can implement future skills, and five super skills that will help agencies meet the coming demands of the future workforce.

During the online training, we polled an audience of about 300 attendees on these five super skills and how they are identifying and growing their employees’ skillsets. Below we highlight their responses and the importance of each skill.

1. How would you/have you developed your employees to make sense of complex systems?

Respondents’ feedback:

“Created in-house training programs; online training; and, developed online training guides, online interactive scenario modules, identify service areas of excellence as an employee resource.”
“When change is coming, ask staff opinions, if possible, use their ideas & give them credit for it. Allow staff to use their expertise, train others, give them credit.”
“For my customer program offices:  Learn and understand their business processes a little better; find ways to incorporate electronic systems.”
“Hands on experience and practice, practice, practice!”
“Continual and thorough strategic planning involving all staff.”
“Giving colleagues exposure to other departments and projects outside their day-to-day activities and tasks.”

Connecting the dots is imperative in the future. Everything is connected. Making sense is about finding your path through these complex systems. –Cornerstone OnDemand


2. How would you/have you developed your employees to befriend the machines?

Respondents’ feedback:

“Develop tutorials and simulations for transactions and software routine.”
“Giving them real-word opportunities to learn new technologies”
“Pilot programs to explore machine-aided tasks and processes, then supporting efficiencies with hardware/software purchases.  Increased automation of paper processes including practical training for end users.  Tying automation to cost and time saving and increased efficiency helps sell it and minimizes resistance.”
“I’m planning a video-conference this weekend with my staff. I’ll be emailing the link & instructions, so they’ll need to get themselves logged on.”
“Encourage all options to obtain knowledge since we are not using it directly”
“Train on specific systems”
“Providing hands-on opportunities to learn a new skill (machine).  Instead of just saying that a new  machine  is available to use…implement use of that  machine  and then provide training (preferably  real-time  training).  Take current workload or task and use the  new machine  to accomplish that task.”
“We are trying to help people learn new skills and see that their jobs will not go away just because we are moving forward with technology.  Working on  Academies  idea to help people reskill/upskill in technology heavy positions.”
“Showing the benefit of the machine to offer a convincing stance first. Seek their resistance to assist with overcoming barriers/fears. “
“Master simulations”
“Find ways where technology can be used as a tool for their business processes.”
“Getting sponsorship so we can afford new equipment, training them in new equipment, giving them time during their shift to practice with the new equipment, and scheduling refreshers periodically throughout the year.”
“Trained colleagues in new tech tools including video conferencing, shared drive, etc.”

Master human-machine collaboration. Machines are getting smarter. Some of them will work for you. Sometimes you’ll work for them—or even in them. –Cornerstone OnDemand


3. How would you/have you developed your employees to build your tribe?

Respondents’ feedback:

“Create a mentor program and a reverse mentor program.”
“I encourage and support my staff in their community work. I look for people who are involved in the community when I hire. I talk to my current staff about their outside interests and community work, and I support them, both in word & deed. I buy the raffle tickets, attend the shows, share the advertising posts…..”
“Sharing a vision that everyone can understand and get on board with.”
“Prove that your are trustworthy with the small and big things.”
“Core Values focus.  Build Trust within the organization.  Think about the organization’s brand and recruit and develop people to reflect that.”
“Spark Community”
“MWR always worked in the military… I am still trying to figure this out in the civilian sector. We have multiple individuals who are under the  this is who we’ve always done it.  With the experienced and new employees, our office has turned into sides almost. Now that people are remote and some are not, this has really put a damper into the attempts we were starting with our  work social hour  events that were being implemented (which were very hard to get approved).”
“Build online team, function-based and agency-wide”
“Taking time to get to know them personally.  Even a five minute conversation during their shift can help build camaraderie.  Taking an interest in them and making the effort to remember things about them.”
“Encouraging colleagues to spend time intentionally building relationships with others in the org that they don’t normally work with.”
“Incorporating team building activities into several staff meetings.”

You have to build your tribe—or tribes—as you make your way through life. You’ll need to master the many different kinds of trade: Money, time, insight, skill, knowledge, strength. –Cornerstone OnDemand


4. How would you/have you developed your employees to keep it going?

Respondents’ feedback:

“Implement some of the new programs that have been in the works for a while. Timing just worked.”
“As the COVID-19 crisis approached, and as it’s gone on, I’ve tried to communicate with each staff member individually by listening to their concerns/ideas, and working with them to do what’s best for them as far as work is concerned.”
“Offer training like this to members”
“$ are tight so we focus on no cost training/learning which includes allowing work time for the opportunities and making assignment that provide learning.”
“I would lead with examples of empathy to hopefully show other leaders how to do the same.”
“Communication is key.”
“We have development programs in place to better prepare employees before they become managers.  They need to be revamped, I think, but they have worked well in the past.  Revamped = updated, modernized!”
“Our adaptation to change really stems from our higher echelon. We technically do not have a choice to keep it going – we either accept and adapt, or the position may be determined to not be a good fit. They learn at different rates/styles of learning. We need to offer multiple leaning styles so they can all adapt effectively. Address barriers to their learning and assist. Some may be stronger in some area.”
“Keep them motivated by helping them realize their progress.”

Build personal resilience. This future needs more than tech solutions and artificial intelligence. It needs social intelligence, emotional intelligence, empathy and clear strategies for we’re-all-in-this-together. –Cornerstone OnDemand


5. How would you/have you developed your employees to make yourself known?

Respondents’ feedback:

“Work with community leaders who could be partners.”
“Customize email stationary; Sign work product; speak up in area of expertise.”
“Increased training opportunities for personal introductions and cross-pollination.  More work groups to spread knowledge and awareness across the organization.”
“I make sure our library garners credit for things by posting the great things we do and crediting the staff person who led it, or mentioning the collaborators, or mentioning the importance and the impact on our community. So, I never say  our library is great , but I show it on social media without having to actually state it.”
“Training, mentoring, get them coaches”
“Developed a group on Facebook for our office during COVID-19 so we all can connect.”
“Publish weekly, monthly and yearly reports of accomplishments.”
“I volunteer and participate in opportunities within the organization that fall outside the scope of anyone’s job (like newsletters, updating SharePoint sites, organizing shared drives).  Then make sure to communicate it to my coworkers and provide it during performance appraisal feedback as well as other meetings with my direct supervisor.”
“Encourage mentoring/coaching.  Encourage them to think about their  brand.”
“When funding is possible, we are able to offer training if they are interested. However, as a state entity, funding is typically limited.”
“Shadowing during meetings.  Train employee to take over my job tasks.”
“Build teams by function; continue to advertise the curriculum that I provide.”
“Customer service: both training them in it and modeling it for them.”

With the art and science of reputation management, everyone is visible—just about everywhere and all the time. In the future, you will have to make yourself known in a digiverse of billions of people. –Cornerstone OnDemand

This online training was brought to you by:

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