Miss the closing session keynote?

September 16, 2009

Dr. Linda Duxbury showed data from Canada revealing that 20 years of talking about life-balance has led to … LESS balance. More work, more stress, less satisfaction, less productivity. At the same time, more technology means work is everywhere, all the time. For instance, some people waited to have children later – and now balance child care AND elder care. Add in economic stress and city managers are doing more, sleeping less, and lacking time to manage. How do we fix this daily nightmare? What do we need to know? Here are some of her thoughts:

1. Adjust expectations. It is unreasonable to expect all email to be read overnight.

2. Model better balance. As leaders, our staff watches us to learn what is expected.

3. Don’t do two things at once. Turn off your cell, bb or pda when in a meeting.

4. Don’t expect immediate responses, or people to be always available.

5. Managing your in box is not the same as managing your life.

6. Work-life conflict, especially over loading, is major predictor of absenteeism and illness. So we must pay attention to this.

7. If these issues are not addressed during time of boomer retirements, we will lose in the efforts to recruit new talent.  For the next 20 years, there will be only one next gen person available to replace two boomer.

8. Boomers are boiled frogs. Slowly, over time, water heated up around these ever more stressed hard workers. Work dominates their lives. The next gen says no, I will not live that way.

9. Boomers say “where is the work ethic of the next gen?” Their models were their WWII parents, and stay-at-home moms. The next gen had an entirely different experience : many of them saw their parents give their all to their work – and fail at family life. Often they say “Work broke my mom’s heart.”

10. Focus more on HR and managing human capital. Do more coaching, training. Move beyond just talking about balance. Suppprt employees. Change your org culture – overwork is the modern madness.

11. Say no – we cannot do everything. Set priorities and stick to them.


Improved Health and Reduced Costs

September 15, 2009
I just attended the educational session entitled “Breaking Individual Inertia: A Pathway to Improved Health and Reduced Costs”.
Bill Reindl from CIGNA shared a fresh perspective on innovative ways to get individuals actively engaged in their health — and important health care decisions.  Interestingly, he began with an exercise to show attendees how their employee health benefit strategy relates to the benefits they offer.  For example, how managers, their HR directors and employees view their role in employee health.
Ultimately I learned that each of these stakeholders plays a critical role and shares in the responsibility for health.
Mr. Reindl noted that for many stakeholders change is a challenge. He reviewed critical components of effective strategies to get employers and employees engaged in health improvement to lower costs. 

Last Day to Visit the Exhibit Hall

September 15, 2009

Yesterday was a great day in the Exhibit Hall.  Attendees were able to meet their private sector colleagues and brainstorm around the top issues in local government today.

One of my favorite things yesterday was the driver safety technology at the Runzhiemer International booth 504.  Here’s a sample http://60secondbraingame.com/, check out their booth to try more of these fun and instructional brain games.

The 2009 Educational Exhibit Hall will close at 2:00pm today.  Don’t miss the opportunity to check out valuable private sector solutions to your local government challenges. 

There are still 7 Solutions Track sessions taking place in the three theaters in the exhibit hall between 9:45 and 2pm today.  See the schedule in your program, on the website or on signage in the hall and around the Palais.

What was your favorite thing in the hall this year?

Avoid a Jekyll Interview and Hyde Hire

September 14, 2009

This afternoon, ICMA member Pam Antil moderated a panel featuring new ideas on recruitment and interview practices from Heidi Voorhees, Mike Goodrich, and Victor Lauria. Here’s an overview for those of you who missed it:

Heidi: Discussed trends and tips in recruitment. One of my favorite lines was that people are usually hired for skill sets and fired for behavioral issues, reiterating why it’s really important to get a sense of someone’s personality, style, etc. in the hiring process.

Mike: When Arlington County received nearly 400 applicants for a single position, Mike and his team devised a “speed interviewing” process that drew on a variety of different staff and reinforced the county’s vision. The result was a collaborative, inclusive process and a strong new hire.

Victor: As a police lieutenant in Novi, MI, Victor has a lot of experience catching lies. He spent the bulk of his presentation discussing the importance of reading body language to really understand a candidate.

If you missed this session, and are a virtual or onsite attendee, be sure to check back to hear the archived version–one attendee claimed it was the best session he’d been to in 25 years of ICMA conferences!

Real Challenges/Real Results-Employee Health

September 14, 2009
I just attended the Real Challenges/Real Results employee benefit educational session. I came away with a better understanding about how local government managers can save money on health costs by incorporating several strategies: benefits integration; health plan selection; and tailored employee health programs.  
Reggie White from CIGNA talked about how integrating benefits such as medical, dental, behaviorial, pharmacy, and disability can yield significant savings.  He also explained how companies are now offering new plan designs that have proven medical cost savings. 
Mr. White said that many jurisdictions are benefiting from tailoring their employee health programs.  For example, when jurisdiction introduce programs such as maternity/oral health based on the employee population profile, then this creates a win-win situation for the employer and employee as well
Mr. White concluded the session by explaining that making enrollment and ongoing employee benefit management more efficient are a real plus for local governments, improving productivity for HR and employees.

Solutions for your Community

September 14, 2009

Times are tough, budgets are tight, but the show must go on.  Your constituents still want the services they have come to expect.  So if you have been racking your brain for solutions to your local government challenges look no further.  Along with a variety of topics addressed in the Educational Program conference attendees can find answers in the 2009 Solutions Track.  22 sessions will run in three Theaters in the Exhibit Hall Monday from 9:45am-5:15pm and Tuesday 9:45am-2:00pm.

A full list of the Solutions Track sessions can be found in your final program, some of the subjects covered in the solutions track include: Community Branding, Tackling Economic Challenges, Performance Measurement, Public Safety, Service Delivery, Sustainable Communities, Technology, and Workforce Issues.

Thank you to all our speakers and sponsors for contributing to this year’s program.

Keynoter Linda Duxbury Answers Your Questions!

September 11, 2009

1) How will the decline in retirement accounts impact the forecasted upcoming workforce shortage?

There are a number of plausible scenarios. First, people (especially talent who have higher incomes) will leave anyway. Second, people will stay but they will “retire on the job”. In fact, I think that people “having” to stay with their employer because they need their paycheck when their heart wants to leave will be a worse case scenario here – reduced engagement, poorer customer service etc.
Third, older workers who have experienced decades of doing more with less will experience significant health problems which will cost the employer in terms of increased absenteeism, lower productivity etc.  This is not a good news story!

2) How will having employees in the workplace who had planned to retire (but can’t) impact organizational morale?

See above… they will retire on the job and their focus on the negative will contribute to lower morale for all and a decreased ability to recruit and retain younger workers.

3) What is the most high-profile or urgent professional issue you’re facing right now?

High profile?  Speaking with Donald Trump Sept. 24th.  Urgent – getting ready for two new class preparations next Monday!!!

4) Which of your professional accomplishments are you most proud of and why? Which has had the greatest impact on your target audience?

Proudest of? That is a hard one. It sounds trite but I guess I am proud of the fact that I try and walk the talk re:  my research on work-life balance.  I touch base with my 90-year-old dad and 86-year-old mom a couple of times a week, am still happily married and have a great daughter who has recently decided that I am not so stupid after all.  Plus, and most importantly, I have resisted the lure of the Blackberry/iPhone and only two people (husband, daughter) have my cell phone number.  I make sure that I do not work all the time and Friday night, Saturday and Sunday until 8 PM are always time for family and me. Hard but think it is important. Why is this important for my target audience?  Many of you need to make you a priority. Work can and does take over. We need to make sure that this does happen all the time.

5) What are the keys steps necessary to change a work culture effectively?

This one is huge… not something that I am prepared to blog about.  My fingers will cramp if I tell you all I know here.  There is NO one answer and No Magic bullet. This one is tough.

6) What are two to three of the most important things a manager can do to encourage appropriate work-home life balance?

Have some balance themselves, focus on what they do, not what they say, and look at deliverables not face time.

7) Do you see any significant difference between the state of the US and Canadian workforces in terms of the challenges they’re facing or the way they’re dealing with them?

Absolutely.  The recession has not been as deep in Canada as the US and many firms recognize the importance of talent. The downsizing does not appear to be as extreme here.  Plus, we have a much more effective social safety net (despite the debate on Health Care in the U.S. I would rather live here and have access to free health care than the US where you tend to get the care that you can afford.  I also think that we have a much better and competitive approach to maternity leave, etc.

8) Congratulations on being named a Woman of Influence by Deloitte! What have you learned from being part of such a distinguished crowd?

I was honored to get this award.  Very humbling.  Learnt that hard work and a positive view of the world does make a difference.