How HR Leaders Can Support and Implement A Hybrid Workforce For The Public Sector

eye glasses on a paper

Many Municipalities and organizations within the broader Public Sector across Canada were heavily reliant on in-person work prior to the pandemic. Today, a hybrid workforce is the model many organizations and employees across the Public Sector are shifting to, but the real question remains for Mayors, Municipalities and HR leaders on how to successfully implement this.

A Pandemic Test-Run: How One Canadian Town Tried A Shortened Work Week and Hybrid Workforce

 During the pandemic, the rural Town of Zorra (just east of London, Ontario), launched an 8-month pilot program of a 4-day work week in a hybrid environment. The first part of the trial for the Township’s 14 municipal office staff ran from September to December 2020, with the second four-month trial period beginning in July 2021. In an article, the Town of Zorra’s Chief Administrative Officer, Don MacLeod, commented that there had been no complaints from staff or the public, indicating no disruption of services. The trial divided teams into two groups, one working Monday through Thursday and the other working Tuesday through Friday, with each “workday” lasting 8.75 hours. Their salary and total working hours per week remained the same as before. 

 The results thus far have yielded an interesting impact to employees. Employees were able to spread personal activities across three weekend days instead of two, freeing up more time to be present, take care of errands and care for family members. Logistically, employees had to restructure their work day schedule to accommodate in-person meetings on overlapping work days on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and leave individual work to the other hours. While at first the restructured work week took some getting used to, overall it allowed employees to have better work-life balance and feel recharged. The trial of the four-day work week in the Town of Zorra has yet to conclude, but initial benefits can already be seen including:

  • Improving efficiency
  • Reducing overhead
  • Retaining current employees
  • Attracting new talent

For The Town of Zorra, this experiment tested both the workweek itself with the added challenge of a hybrid workforce of essentially three collaboration days in-person. Many Canadians have suggested that a hybrid workforce of 3-4 days in office would provide sufficient balance for them and be ideal. The new challenges presented by a hybrid workforce will be how employees reconnect and reduce the barriers of in-person versus digital collaboration and socialization.

 Rebuilding Collaboration, Community and Trust Through Culture

With the adoption of digital collaboration platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack and more, teams were able to remain connected during the pandemic. However, many would argue that in-person collaboration is always more effective than these alternatives. As employees return to the office in a hybrid work environment, HR leaders will need to ensure that the barriers between virtual and in-person employees remain low. Leaders within the Public Sector will need to navigate this by developing new guidelines to maximize collaboration for in-person and remote teams such as:

  • Requiring presentations or meetings to happen in-person
  • Holding regular in-office Town/City Hall meetings once a month to bring together all employees
  • For virtual meetings, requiring cameras to be on at all times
  • Reward in-office days with perks, credits or rewards
  • Enable and implement the same IT systems for virtual and in-office employees
  • Plan water-cooler days where departments that overlap or work on projects together can collaborate casually in-person
  • Encourage meetings and attendance to be conducted all via the same channel, either virtually or in-person
  • Keep the number of meetings low
  • Accommodate new physical workspaces that align with remote work environments
  • Reimagining Organizational Culture

One of the things that arose from the pandemic was the sensitivity, awareness and elevation of mental health within society and the workplace. As Canada’s organizations begin to invest in a hybrid workforce, training, seminars, webinars and activities surrounding mental health can help individuals process the past 18 months from a work and personal perspective. These sessions will be critical to safely and successfully transitioning into a hybrid workforce.

Along with the mental shift of returning to an in-person office environment, communication methods will need to be refreshed and reassessed for any new employees that were on boarded during the pandemic. A revisit to any new employees’ initial onboarding can help leaders discover new aspects of their colleagues and help inform more effective in-person communication styles for delivering feedback, teaching and building trust.

 There is no doubt that remote employees will feel a loss of freedom when returning to a hybrid work environment after enjoying the flexibility and comfort of working from home. At home, leaders and teams proved they could remain as productive as if they were in the office, however, new habits, behaviors, and routines arose to dictate working hours, team socialization, breaks, and more. As a result, Municipalities and other Public Sector organizations will need to re-engineer both their physical spaces and organizational culture to blend the “in-home” culture of flexibility with the “in-office” culture of collaboration.

About The Author

Kartik Kumar is a Partner at Legacy Executive Search Partners and has over 15 years experience in successfully executing 250 projects within the Public and Private Sector, including Municipal Government and Public Libraries. Kartik has a Bachelor’s in Business Management from Ryerson University and an accredited certification in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University.

Prior to joining Legacy Executive Search Partners, Kartik has held several Managing Director roles within large national and international executive search firms. He has successfully developed an executive search practice across Ontario and Canada within Municipal Government and the Broader Public Sector.

Contact Kartik to learn more ([email protected]) about Senior Leadership Recruitment within the Public Sector across Canada.

New! Drive time data for cars, trucks, walk time on ZoomProspector

We’re thrilled to introduce yet another new feature on ZoomProspector: adjustable drive time analysis for cars, trucks and walking. This is a game-changer for prospective investors who need to assess transportation logistics, commute times and travel distances for target clients travelling in different ways, on different days and at different times. In keeping with GIS Planning’s ongoing commitment to excellence in the user interface, we’ve designed this feature to be intuitive, visual and easy for your website visitors to find.

The new drive time analysis is easy to find – it’s an enhancement of the radius/ drive time buttons at the top of every single property and pinpoint report. Now when you click “Minutes,” you’ll see icons that let you select car, truck or walk, with an additional option to click on and adjust the date, time and destination – from or to the selected location. We’ve made it even easier by also adding these options directly on the map for those website visitors who prefer to make adjustments over there.

Miami Dade ZoomProsepctor walk drive truck timeIt’s easier than ever for economic developers to inform site selectors and businesses making location decisions as they research long and shortlists of suitable communities and properties. You can read more about our new adjustable drive time analysis here. You can also click here to learn more about the other map tools that make ZoomProspector the most innovative and user-friendly online GIS data tool for site selection?

Would you like to learn more about how ZoomProspector can help drive investment to your community? Click here to schedule an online meeting and demo.

Finding Diversity, Inclusion & Equity in Municipal Government and Public Sector Organizations in Canada

 

Kartik KumarKartik Kumar, National Practice Leader, Municipal Government and Broader Public Sectors.

 

Diversity and Inclusion has been a common discussion point for many Municipalities and Broader Public Sector organizations over the last several years in Canada. As communities and populations begin to shift to become more inclusive and diverse, meeting these changing societal values and demographics will require fresh perspectives and representation at the leadership level within Municipalities and other Public sector organizations.

Oftentimes innovative leadership qualities are found within diversity candidates that can challenge the status quo to effectively impact change across a community. Typically, diversity candidates have experienced and mitigated a lifetime of adversity and obstacles. These experiences, both professionally and personally, foster new ideas, creative thinking, innovation, agility and influence. However, when it comes to appointing diversity candidates to positions of leadership, Municipalities and other organizations within the Public Sector face a number of challenges including:

●  Finding Passive Diversity Talent

●  Diversity Leadership Driven By Representation

●  Benchmarking Diversity Candidates Against Competencies and Skills

●  Creating An Inclusive Culture To Drive Performance

Finding Passive Diversity Talent

Many Municipalities and organizations see the value that diversity can bring to their leadership teams but don’t know where to start their search for this elusive talent. For many years, organizations and Municipalities unknowingly created a culture of homogeneity thus shrinking their own internal talent pipelines as a source for diversity talent. Instead, Public and Private Sector organizations must partner with external experts, such as an executive search consultant, to assist in the identification, appointment and presentation of the most qualified and capable diversity candidates for a role.

Diversity Mandates Driven Representation

One element of diversity that some organizations fall victim to is the necessity to hire a diversity candidate as a response to societal pressure. I’ve worked with many clients in my career as an executive search consultant, that believe that hiring a diversity candidate that can provide the best value to a community is the simple concept of representation.

When I work with Municipalities, Public Libraries and other Public Sector organizations – I advise Councillors, Board members and other stakeholders and selection/recruitment committees to consider three things:

  1. The benefits that diversity can bring to their communities/ organizations.
  2. Require a diverse slate of candidates.
  3. Examine diversity within the community/ organization and population to help clarify and define the best fit of diversity for a leadership role.

Benchmarking Diversity Candidates Against Competencies and Skills

Sometimes the personification and perception of diversity by selection/recruitment committees may not always align with the true values and representation of the communities they will be serving. As a best practice, a diversity candidate should be representative of the larger community in which they will serve, while also maintaining the leadership attributes required by the role.

In addition, Municipalities and Public Sector organization’s selection/recruitment committees must carefully examine what key competencies and skills the role requires. Sometimes the benchmark diversity candidate that a search committee thinks they need, does not always align with the skills and core competencies demanded by the role itself. The best fit diversity candidate is a well-rounded individual that is able to meet both the requirements for the role as well as represent the larger community/ organization.

Creating An Inclusive Culture To Drive Performance

The other caveat that Municipalities and Leadership within the Public Sector overlook when hiring a diversity candidate is inclusivity training and acceptance of new and different perspectives for other senior leaders. Inclusivity programs allow for the broader leadership team to adopt and best leverage new perspectives gleaned by diversity candidates in powerful ways. By elevating cultural sensitivities and awareness to the existing senior leadership team and creating a more inclusive culture, senior leaders can learn how to better collaborate, break through unconscious bias and support one another.

As a result, this awareness and approach to inclusivity will increase collaboration. This culture reshaping will then trickle down through the wider teams and produce better results. As this cultural shift slowly takes place, success can be measured by performance and the attraction of other diversity candidates to the talent pipeline.

About The Author.

Kartik Kumar is a Partner at Legacy Executive Search Partners and has over 15 years experience in successfully executing 250 projects within the Public and Private Sector, including Municipal Government and Public Libraries. Kartik has a Bachelor’s in Business Management from Ryerson University and an accredited certification in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University.

Prior to joining Legacy Executive Search Partners, Kartik has held several Managing Director roles within large national and international executive search firms. He has successfully developed an executive search practice across Ontario and Canada within Municipal Government and the Broader Public Sector.

Contact Kartik to learn more ([email protected]) about Senior Leadership Recruitment within the Public Sector across Canada.

How ZoomProspector makes you look like an economic development rockstar

GIS Planning’s clients range from small towns with a single economic development person (who often also handles duties at the chamber, the city manager’s office etc.) to large cities or regional and statewide economic development agencies with large staffs.

But no matter the size of the EDO is, they always have more projects and incoming requests than people or time.

Fortunately, GIS Planning clients can rely on the equivalent of an extra staff member with ZoomProspector working for their region.

Closeup portrait happy excited young economic developer celebrating successZoomProspector is available to answer questions 24/7 from anyone who comes to your website, whether they’re a potential investor, site selector or local entrepreneur. The industry’s leading GIS web tool for economic development can always be relied upon to offer accurate, up-to-date information in clear, visually compelling ways. And while it can’t crack a clever joke in meetings, celebrate birthdays or join co-workers for drinks after work, it will also never take a vacation, steal your lunch from the fridge or leave the coffee pot empty.

Reliable, smart and unflappable, ZoomProspector is the staff member every economic developer wants on their team. It makes everyone around them look good by helping them succeed. It makes you look like a rock star by facilitating quick, reliable research and helping generate beautiful, branded reports and polished proposals.

We have clients who speak with businesses only after that business has (in effect) qualified themselves by gathering information and answering questions, using the powerful analytical tools and extensive datasets provided by ZoomProspector.

In a fast-paced digital world where people want that information before they take time to pick up the phone and connect in person, ZoomProspector offers a critical competitive advantage. In many cases, simple questions about a community’s demographics, labor force, businesses, wages, etc. can be answered on the public ZoomProspector site using a few clicks of a mouse button.

As the most intuitive and user-friendly GIS site selection data tool on the market (by a long shot), they don’t need training or guidance to do so. You can rest confident that you aren’t losing leads before you even know they exist.

When more extensive data requests or RFP’s come in, GIS Planning clients have the ability to pull down and compose sophisticated reports on their community, with custom mile or drive time analyses around specific available sites or buildings, or around a pinpoint on a map. They can easily build and export reports from ZoomProspector in a few minutes. When our economic development clients receive incoming requests from elected officials, members of their community, academics or journalists, they too can be handled easily and quickly. Thus such request is transformed from a time-consuming nuisance to an easily handled opportunity to network, engage and build or bolster relationships with stakeholders.

Our drag and drop proposal generator now enables our clients to begin a response to an RFP, or begin crafting a proposal, with one click, and from there it’s easy to include available sites and buildings with relevant data reports, even include video and photos.

Best of all, anyone can perform the same high-level, detailed analyses on ZoomProspector at any time of day or night. GIS Planning created ZoomProspector to be a public-facing, easy-to-use source open access data portal. Economic developers can simply point to their own public website to answer basic questions, direct marketing campaigns to the website as a “call to action”, and make their website an integral part of their information toolkit.

With our ZoomTour platform, our clients can go even further and offer an online immersive experience, using media ranging from still photos to video to drone footage, and (of course) GIS Planning data tools, to provide a guided tour of a community (or a part of the community like the downtown area, or specific business clusters etc.), available 24/7, 365 days per year.

Learn how GIS Planning’s innovative GIS data tools for economic development can serve your community. Book a demo today!

Vaccination Policies for Municipal Employees and Consultants

While there is currently no federal or provincial legislation in Canada requiring mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all employees, we are seeing more and more municipalities implementing requirements for their employees, consultants and contractors.

This is a controversial issue and muniSERV is not speaking out for or against these policies. We believe that municipalities have an obligation to protect the health and safety of their employees, as well as their residents and the community as a whole. Although implementing a mandatory vaccination policy poses potential legal risks, such as human rights and privacy claims, most municipalities are moving forward. This blog is meant to help clear up some misconceptions and to help municipalities make informed choices when developing, implementing and enforcing their vaccination policies.

Human Rights

Human rights legislation, pertaining to employment, prohibits discrimination on certain grounds, including disability, sex and religion. If an employee refuses to comply with mandatory vaccination policies with a justifiable exemption, the employer must make accommodations. These can include working remotely or more specific measures like increased PPE or modified work hours. Many municipalities are requiring staff who have are not fully vaccinated to attend vaccination education training and undergo routine COVID testingPrivacy Concerns

In most Canadian provinces, an employer may collect, use or disclose personal employee information only with their consent and for reasonable purposes. In order to enforce a mandatory vaccination policy, employers would be required to ask employees if they are vaccinated. This qualifies as the collection of personal information, which means that the employee would have to consent but also that the employer must demonstrate that they are collecting the information for a reasonable purpose.

In this case, the employer could reasonably request vaccination information but only to be used for the implementation of vaccination policies, health and safety protocols and infection control measures. This information should, ideally, be kept separate from regular personnel files and only accessed with required.

Termination

An employee who refuses to be vaccinated because of a medical condition or religious belief cannot have their employment terminated as that would be considered discrimination under the human rights code. But, the reality is that employers can invoke a “without cause” termination as long as the proper severance is paid.

Non-compliance with vaccination policies could leave employers in a delicate situation, forcing them to discipline their employees and even possibly terminate their employment.

Unionized Employees

Since many municipal employees are also union members, municipalities must work closely with the unions before finalizing and implementing their vaccination policies. Workplace safety is a founding principle for most unions but the pandemic has produced new obstacles for everyone.

Of course, it is always best that municipalities explore all of their options and obligations when developing, implementing and enforcing their vaccination policies.

Building And Reconnecting a Hybrid Workforce for Public Sector Organizations Across Canada

Kartik KumarKartik Kumar

National Practice Leader, Municipal Government and Broader Public Sectors.

As vaccinations slowly allow for the workforce to return to the office – there are many things to consider as both the public and private sector begin to implement a hybrid workforce. Just as the post-pandemic recovery will demand new leadership traits and styles, so will the way that Canadians approach working together and collaborating.

A recent KPMG study found that over 75 percent of Canadians would like the flexibility of a hybrid workforce. With the majority of Canadians becoming more comfortable working from home and leaning towards a blended version of in-person and remote work, Municipalities, and broader Public Sector organizations across Canada will need to consider how to structure the physical, digital and cultural realignment of their workforces. After 18 months of remotely working, there are many benefits for allowing employees to remain at home for some or all of the time including:

  • Reduced Commuting Time
  • Reduced Carbon Emissions
  • More Flexibility
  • Better Work Life Balance
  • Fewer Interruptions By Colleagues

Many employees are hesitant to relinquish their freedom from remote work, but recognize the benefits of in-person connection versus digital connection. Leaders across Municipal Government and Public Sector organizations in Canada should position the workplace as a place for collaboration to build community and trust again in others. The transition to a hybrid workforce will give rise to difficult conversations for both attracting top talent and retaining existing teams. Below are a few things that organizations within the Public Sector will need to carefully consider when launching a hybrid workforce model. 

Safety and Well-Being

Safety will be critically important to making employees and teams feel comfortable in negotiated environments and spaces, such as the workplace. From limiting in-person headcounts throughout the workplace to maintaining a new standard of cleanliness, these commitments will need to be rolled out and communicated efficiently to teams from the top down. New programs and benefits designed to promote balance and support mental health across the organization for returning employees will be critical to a successful transition.

Retaining And Rewarding Remote Talent 

Not surprisingly, the idea of “indefinite remote working” back in 2020 motivated a lot of employees to move out of city centers in search of more space, stronger support networks and better balance. Now, as both the private and public sector implement hybrid workforces, leadership and managers find themselves at a compensation crossroads. For employees that moved away and are choosing to stay fully remote, new conversations will arise surrounding the cost (salary) versus the value (work) an employee brings to the table. Cost of living has diminished drastically for those that have fled urban centers which may be a reason for reducing salaries. However the value, performance and contributions these employees offer remain the same as before. These difficult situations will need to be handled consistently and carefully to assure that employees remain engaged and incentivized. 

Bridging The Digital And In-Person Divide

With the pandemic forcing many Public Sector organizations to adopt digital transformation of their services, operations, and more, organizations will need to assure a seamless transition between platforms, systems and workflows for both digital and in-person set ups. This means migrating data, files and records to a centralized cloud data storage system that can be securely accessed in-office and remotely. Municipalities and broader Public Sector organizations will also need to upgrade legacy infrastructure and systems that are unable to support a hybrid workforce. 

The Hybrid Workplace

In some cases larger companies have created the role of the Chief Remote Officer, to lead and formulate the most effective blend of working remotely and in-office. As employees return to the office, the physical workspace environment itself will need to change and depart from the typical cube / office set up. The new office environment and furnishings will require a more casual setting to physically encourage and welcome collaboration among team members such as more tables and less desks, reimagined seating areas or “living rooms” as well as private spaces for individuals to hold meetings or calls. The new hybrid workplace will need to accommodate how people work from home on the couch, at a dining table, at a kitchen counter, etc. 

Many Municipalities and organizations within the broader Public Sector across Canada were heavily reliant on in-person work prior to the pandemic. Today, a hybrid workforce is the model many organizations across the Public Sector are shifting to, but the real question remains for how to successfully implement this.

The New Hybrid Workforce and The Public Sector

During the pandemic, the rural Town of Zorra (just east of London, Ontario), launched an 8-month pilot program of a 4-day work week in a hybrid environment. The first part of the trial for the Township’s 14 municipal office staff ran from September to December 2020, with the second four-month trial period beginning in July 2021. In an article, the Town of Zorra’s Chief Administrative Officer, Don MacLeod, commented that there had been no complaints from staff or the public, indicating no disruption of services. The trial divided teams into two groups, one working Monday through Thursday and the other working Tuesday through Friday, with each “workday” lasting 8.75 hours. Their salary and total working hours per week remained the same as before.  

The results thus far have yielded an interesting impact to employees. Employees were able to spread personal activities across three weekend days instead of two, freeing up more time to be present, take care of errands and care for family members. Logistically, employees had to restructure their work day schedule to accommodate in-person meetings on overlapping work days on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and leave individual work to the other hours. While at first the restructured work week took some getting used to, overall it allowed employees to have better work-life balance and feel recharged. The trial of the four-day work week in the Town of Zorra has yet to conclude, but initial benefits can already be seen including:

  • Improving efficiency
  • Reducing overhead
  • Retaining current employees
  • Attracting new talent

For The Town of Zorra, this experiment tested both the workweek itself with the added challenge of a hybrid workforce of essentially three collaboration days in-person. Many Canadians have suggested that a hybrid workforce of 3-4 days in office would provide sufficient balance for them and be ideal. The new challenges presented by a hybrid workforce will be how employees reconnect and reduce the barriers of in-person versus digital collaboration and socialization.

Rebuilding Collaboration, Community and Trust

With the adoption of digital collaboration platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack and more, teams were able to remain connected during the pandemic. However, many would argue that in-person collaboration is always more effective than these alternatives. As employees return to the office in a hybrid work environment, Towns and Municipalities will need to ensure that the barriers between virtual and in-person employees remain low. 

Employees that are new on staff and those that have been around for years will need to be “re-onboarded” into a hybrid work environment. Leaders within the Public Sector will need to navigate this by developing new guidelines to maximize collaboration for in-person and remote teams such as: 

  • Requiring presentations or meetings to happen in-person
  • Holding regular in-office Town/City Hall meetings once a month to bring together all employees
  • For virtual meetings, requiring cameras to be on at all times
  • Reward in-office days with perks, credits or rewards
  • Enable and implement the same IT systems for virtual and in-office employees
  • Plan water-cooler days where departments that overlap or work on projects together can collaborate casually in-person
  • Encourage meetings and attendance to be conducted all via the same channel, either virtually or in-person
  • Keep the number of meetings low. 
  • Accommodate new physical workspaces that align with remote work environments. 

Reimagining Organizational Culture

One of the things that arose from the pandemic was the sensitivity, awareness and elevation of mental health within society and the workplace. As Canada’s Municipalities and broader Public Sector organizations begin to invest in a hybrid workforce, training, seminars, webinars and activities surrounding mental health can help individuals process the past 18 months from a work and personal perspective. These sessions will be critical to safely and successfully implementing a hybrid workforce.

In addition, communication skills will need to be revisited. During the pandemic, workforces and employees relied heavily on messaging platforms and virtual conference tools. Along with the mental shift of returning to an in-person office environment, communication methods will need to be refreshed and reassessed for any new employees that were onboarded during the pandemic. A revisit to any new employees’ initial onboarding can help leaders discover new aspects of their colleagues and help inform more effective in-person communication styles for delivering feedback, teaching and building trust. 

There is no doubt that remote employees will feel a loss of freedom when returning to a hybrid work environment after enjoying the flexibility and comfort of working from home. At home, leaders and teams proved they could remain as productive as if they were in the office, however, new habits, behaviors, and routines arose to dictate working hours, team socialization, breaks, and more. As a result, Municipalities and other Public Sector organizations will need to re-engineer both their physical spaces and organizational culture to blend the “in-home” culture of flexibility with the “in-office” culture of collaboration. 

About The Author

Kartik Kumar is a Partner at Legacy Executive Search Partners and has over 15 years experience in successfully executing 250 projects within the Public and Private Sector, including Municipal Government and Public Libraries. Kartik has a Bachelor’s in Business Management from Ryerson University and an accredited certification in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University.

Prior to joining Legacy Executive Search Partners, Kartik has held several Managing Director roles within large national and international executive search firms. He has successfully developed an executive search practice across Ontario and Canada within Municipal Government and the Broader Public Sector.

Contact Kartik to learn more ([email protected]) about Senior Leadership Recruitment within the Public Sector across Canada.

Reflections on Working in a Municipality

I recently was asked to discuss, “Managing Your Career from Start to Finish”, with the graduating class of the University of Western’s Municipal Public Administration program.

To prepare for it, I was asked to reflect on the trajectory of my career and provide some thoughts and tips I might have on launching a municipal career.  

It was an interesting task – not one I’d really given much thought to before. 

The graduates were surprised to learn, that when I first became interested in a career in municipal government, many municipalities in rural Ontario were managed by husband-and-wife teams.  Not good financial management at all but back then it worked.  

This is a far cry from the professionalism municipalities deliver today.  While constant changes in legislation are frustrating to municipalities, they really have served to improve municipalities over time.

When my local husband-and-wife team announced their impending retirements, I started taking the AMCTO Municipal Administration Courses and going to Council meetings – not only to understand municipal operations better, but also so the Council would get to know me.  And it worked!  

I applied and my first municipal job was as Clerk/Treasurer/Tax Collector of my local municipality.  

So, here’s some strategies that may help you land your first municipal job

Do some homework;

  • Research the municipality and the department of interest
  • What are the issues? What key projects are they working on?
  • Go to a Council meeting in person once things open again so Council and staff will start to get to know you, or watch some online to understand the protocols
  • Volunteer to help at municipal/community events
  • Look for a summer job in the municipality to get a feel for what it’s like to work there
  • Ask if you can job shadow the CAO for a day (at no charge) 
  • Investigate OMAA Bursary program http://www.omaa.on.ca/en/about-omaa/the-omaa-bursary-program.asp  It’s a Bursary program offering $5,000 annually to support the education of future municipal government leaders and promote the role of CAO. The program runs to 2025.

 

My personal belief is that those launching municipal careers right now have perhaps the best opportunity in recent history, for quick career advancement, because so many municipal employees are eligible for retirement in 2021.

Many are staying on past their retirement dates, however, to help their communities through COVID, but I predict there will be a mass exodus of employees soon as the COVID crisis begins to ease. We’re already seeing an increase in municipal job postings.  

As for the trajectory of my career – well, I eventually became the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and helped the municipality through restructuring, worked with the province in issues and project management, and eventually decided to set up a municipal consultancy and develop muniSERV.ca. and muniJOBS.ca

To me, a career in local government is still the most challenging and rewarding work you’ll ever do. 

Like I always say, You can take the girl out of the municipality, but you can never take the municipality out of the girl.”  

 

Susan Shannon, AMCT

Founder & Principal, muniSERV.ca & Shaping Organizational Solutions (SOS)

[email protected]  Phone: 855.477.5095

Podcast Interview with Ripple Analytics

Do you dread conducting annual employee reviews?

Ripple is a platform for providing quick, anonymous team member evaluations. By rating colleagues based on the Big 5 Personality Traits, Ripple turns objective feedback into actionable information.

CEO, Noah L. Pusey, brings a unique perspective to growing Ripple, drawn from nearly two decades of experience establishing and building law firms in New York City.  He has counseled and advised individual and corporate clients in various practice areas including business development, growth strategy and general transactional matters.

Noah has firsthand knowledge of the flawed employee review systems used by many companies – having participated in hundreds of annual evaluations over the years, so he has set out to change they way they’re done!

Listen to this podcast to learn more: https://truecomparepeo.com/2021/05/06/noah-pusey/

Municipal Work Opportunities for Our Professional Members!

Ontario Supports Modernization of Small and Rural Municipalities

The Ontario government is providing up to $24 million to support the modernization of 224 small and rural municipalities across the province. This investment will help improve the delivery of critical programs and services that people rely on every day, while saving taxpayers’ dollars.

A total of 254 projects have been approved for funding under Intake 2 of Ontario’s Municipal Modernization Program. Municipalities will use the funding to find efficiencies and implement a wide range of initiatives to digitize, streamline and/or integrate programs and services with neighbouring communities.

The funding will help municipalities administer the cost savings measures in time for the 2022 municipal budget cycle.

Here’s the List of Municipalities who received funding for various Municipal Service Delivery & Efficiency Projects.

If you offer any of the services these municipalities are looking for, select the municipality you would like to work with and watch their websites for RFPs for any Third-Party Review or Implementation opportunities.  You might also want to watch muniSERV’s Find RFP’s section and/or bidsandtenders listings.

For more information on the Municipal Modernization Program and the June 30th announcement, click here.

How To Find Executive Level Talent For Canada’s Municipalities And Broader Public Sector Organizations

How To Find Executive Level Talent For Canada’s Municipalities And Broader Public Sector Organizations

Some thoughts from a search expert in these fields.

In my last article, we discussed the leadership qualities and traits that will be required to transition Canada’s Municipalities and the general Public Sector into a post-pandemic reality. As the pandemic recovery slowly makes its way through the economy in Canada and abroad, industries will begin to bounce back, becoming more resilient, agile and innovative under new leadership. As a result, an increase in hiring has surged through the workforce and is transforming the talent landscape from a “War for Talent” to include a “Race For Talent”. So what is the best way that Councils’ and Boards’ in the Public Sector can reach, engage and attract the best talent to lead the recovery. 

More often than not Municipal Councils’, Boards’ and Senior Management Teams within the Public Sector will approach the recruitment of a Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Executive Officer, Director or other C-level senior executive similarly to that of a mid-level manager. When taking this effort on themselves, they will post the job description, gather resumes, interview candidates and make a final selection. This approach to running a senior level search internally is compromised for many reasons including:

  • There is limited access to qualified leaders beyond your team’s immediate networks.
  • A lot of potential candidates are not “actively looking,” are “selective” regarding their career moves and would not apply for the role concerned about a breach of confidentiality. Dealing with a search consultant, before they commit, makes it easier for these candidates to feel comfortable and seek more details about the opportunity.

Countless times I have seen Municipalities and other Public Sector organizations attempt to take on the hiring for a senior executive leader internally, and end up coming to us eventually for help in managing the search process.

In order to avoid this initial waste of resources, time, finances and frustration, I’ve created a guide for how Municipal Councils’, Board’s and Senior Management teams in Canada can partner and work with an external executive search firm for finding and appointing the best leaders for their organizations and communities.

Step 1: What Is Their Specialization? Success In Finding And Placing Right Fit Candidates Who Can Make A Difference

Firstly, you will need to identify the best search firm to partner with. This will include a close examination of several key areas including the types of executives they have placed, other clients they have worked with in the past (are these past clients similar to you and your needs) and a list of recent or past searches. For example, I specialize in placing Chief Administrative Officers’, Chief Executive Officers’, Commissioners’ and Directors’ for Municipalities, Public Sector organizations and Libraries across Canada. To quickly gather this information, review a search firm’s website. If you are still unclear of their specialization and methods you can dive deeper into their thought leadership that they have published. Look for regular postings of thought leadership articles and content about your industry and ask yourself if these articles provide deeper insights than others you have come across or reveal perspectives that you may not have considered. A truly experienced search consultant should be able to demonstrate and provide value to their wider networks in addition to their immediate clients.

Successful search consultants that exceed client expectations, will also see a high rate of repeat and referral business – it is important to understand what percentage of a search firm’s business is repeat or referral business versus new business. The higher the repeat / referral rate – the better the relationship a search consultant will have with their clients. I am grateful to have a very high rate of repeat / referral business. 

The final consideration for identifying specialization within a search firm when working in the Public Sector, is to confirm that a search firm or search consultant is a trusted partner and vetted provider with prior experience working with Municipalities and Public Sector organizations. A search firm that has been through this rigorous process of verification, certification, approval and documentation, will be accustomed to these requirements and this process. Having this awareness and experience will save you time and resources when looking for an external search firm to partner with.

Step 2: Why Partner with A Search Firm Instead Of Doing It Yourself?

Aside from the downsides to doing it yourself that I mentioned earlier, there are a number of additional reasons why allowing a well respected third party to manage and run your executive search process will yield better results. In addition to unrivaled candidate access and relationships, a search consultant or search firm you partner with can:

  • Collectively gather information from internal stakeholders to create a summary of ideal core competencies, gain trust and build consensus.
  • Remain unbiased during the research, interviewing and decision-making processes.
  • Conduct interviews to provide a fair and objective process for everyone involved.
  • Assure that candidates have fair representation in the interview process.
  • Garner buy-in across multiple internal stakeholders.
  • Decrease the time to placement / hire by circumventing internal obstacles and politics. 

A search consultant should serve as a trusted advisor to both a client and a candidate. Having an objective perspective as a search consultant, they can lead the charge and the process and instill confidence and trust within the candidate. When a search is conducted internally – candidates often will not trust the process for any number of reasons and therefore lose interest, shrinking the available talent pool. This distrust can manifest from any number of prior experiences including:

  • Mistreatment in a prior internal interview process
  • Losing the role to an internal hire / promotion (for cost hiring purposes)
  • Mishired and not a good fit culturally. 

The candidate experience is becoming more and more critical to finding and attracting senior leadership talent within the Public Sector. A third party search consultant represents both the client to the candidate and vice versa and will have everyone’s best interests top of mind throughout the entire cycle. When candidates are not selected to move forward for any number of reasons, an expert search consultant will assure that the candidate’s experience remains positive by offering additional coaching, feedback, etc. This in turn creates a favorable impression by the candidate and maintains a Municipality’s or Public Sector organization’s reputation. 

Another reason why senior executive candidates do not apply directly to positions is the risk of exposure to their current company which can damage their reputation and career aspirations. As a search consultant, I make sure that the entire search process remains confidential and candidates are informed of their status in a timely and discrete manner – regardless of the outcome. 

Once your Search / Recruitment Committee has selected a search firm to appoint your next senior executive, it is imperative to understand the process of how you will work together with a search consultant. 

Step 3: Understanding The Executive Search Process. 

To set expectations, an executive search process for selecting a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) or a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will take roughly 6-8 weeks to complete. First, we interview Search / Recruitment Committees and the rest of Council / Board members to gain insight, get stakeholders actively involved and identify the core competencies (skills, traits, qualities) of the ideal candidate. When completed, this reveals the summary of the most important core competencies, which are then developed and approved by the Search / Recruitment committee and built into a position profile. 

Next, as a search consultant, we go to market to research, find, engage and source candidates that align with these competencies. Our team will often consult with my confidential advisory committee of current and past successful Municipal and Public Sector executives seeking potential referrals for candidates. Typically this initial research will yield approximately 80-100 candidates, who are then scored and ranked against the competency matrix through a round of initial interviews and either moved forward or withdrawn from the process. After this initial screening and research phase, I match the best candidates that align with both the required experience and core leadership skills, resulting in roughly 8-10 top candidates ready to be presented to the Search / Recruitment Committee. 

At this point, a truly experienced search consultant will continue to manage and facilitate the interview process between candidates and the search committee. By facilitating panel interviews as a moderator and coaching stakeholders on key questions to ask, a search consultant will make sure that the process remains fair and equitable. This also avoids any possibilities for potential conflict internally and eliminates favoritism and bias. 

We would then work with Search / Recruitment Committee stakeholders to build consensus of their top 3 candidate selections. Once further interviews are conducted and a finalist is chosen, we also recommend a unique psychometric assessment expert to conduct an independent assessment of the finalist candidate. I will conduct final reference, credential, criminal background and social media checks. An offer is then extended to the candidate who will then either negotiate or accept. 

The above process is an example of a typical search process that has been successful on many occasions in hiring senior executives, however each process is tailored to clients’ specific needs and agreed to in advance. We constantly strive to improve our processes and do so based on feedback from clients. 

It is our understanding that the average tenure for a Chief Administrative Officer / Chief Executive Officer in the Public Sector is roughly 3-5 years. If you have any questions regarding the Canadian marketplace or are considering a new executive hire to your leadership team, I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Below are a list of our current searches that we are working on:

Some of Our Past Successful Searches Include:

  • Chief Administrative Officer – City of Pickering
  • Chief Administrative Officer – City of St. Catharines
  • Chief Administrative Officer – Township of Uxbridge
  • Chief Administrative Officer – Town of Niagara – On – the Lake
  • Chief Administrative Officer – Region of Waterloo
  • Chief Executive Officer – Burlington Public Library
  • Chief Executive Officer – St. Catharines Public Library
  • Director, Economic Development Services – City of Oshawa
  • Director, Planning Services – City of Oshawa
  • Director, Transit Services – Region of Waterloo
  • Director of Municipal Works – City of Niagara Falls
  • Director of Operations and Environmental Services – Town of Ajax
  • Director of Communications – City of Cambridge
  • Director of Information Technology – Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)
  • Director of Finance – Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)
  • City Manager – City of Cambridge
  • Senior Manager, Economic Development – Town of Whitby

About The Author

Kartik Kumar is a Partner at Legacy Executive Search Partners and has over 15 years experience in successfully executing 250 projects within the Public and Private Sector industry segments, including Municipalities and other Broader Public Sector organizations. Kartik has a Bachelor’s in Business Management from Ryerson University and an accredited certification in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University.

Prior to joining Legacy Executive Search Partners, Kartik has held several Managing Director and Partner roles within large national and international executive search firms. He has successfully developed an executive search practice across Ontario and Canada within Municipal Government and the broader Public Sector.

Contact Kartik Kumar at [email protected] for Senior Leadership Recruitment within the Public Sector across Canada.