CAMA’s Toolkit For Effective Chief Administrative Officers: The Right Questions to Ask

Recognizing the importance of building a team within any organization, CAMA developed a “Toolkit for Effective Chief Administrative Officers: The Right Questions to Ask”.

This toolkit is meant to be a resource to support our members whether they are just starting their job as a CAO (or senior administrator) or have been in the role for some time in a new community or one they’ve been in for many years. It will assist all of our members with building a team with their staff and Council. No one is born a local government administrator. Each of us comes to this role by way of a path of some kind. Being an effective CAO is not about knowing everything; it is about asking the right questions and challenging appropriately. This resource is a guide to support CAOs in their work. One of the most powerful management tools that you can have at your disposal is very basic…the question.

 

The Toolkit will provide the following tools:

· Sample Questions for Council. It is important to build and maintain a strong relationship with your Council and asking them questions will help to learn more about them as individuals and as a team.

· Sample Questions for each Division and Department. A template has been provided of sample personal, operational and specific questions that a CAO can ask their various Department Heads, Commissioners, Chiefs, and Managers about their operations whether you are just starting your job or have been in it for some time.

· A Resource for your Executive Team. In addition to being invaluable for CAOs, this resource is also a very useful tool for the Executive Team in understanding the kind of questions their CAO are likely to ask to learn more about the operations. Change is also difficult for the senior management team and it too creates a lot of anxiety. Therefore, a section has been included about how to deal with a change in leadership and the direction of an organization.

CAMA hopes that this toolkit will become a valuable resource to support senior administrators in their careers.

If you would like to become a CAMA member and have access to this great resource, please click here.

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Accessing Municipal Compensation Information Just Got Easier

INTRODUCING THE MUNICIPAL COMPENSATION DATABASE

Every municipality needs to undertake periodic compensation reviews to keep their compensation current and attract talent.

Municipalities generate vast amounts of compensation data that other municipalities need, but there is no easy way to access or share it.

Engaging third-parties to conduct a review is expensive and the day the report is presented, the data is already outdated.

Conducting your own compensation reviews is not efficient and results in a duplication of work.  How many times last year, were you asked your salary and benefits information, by comparator municipalities conducting their own compensation reviews?

The Ontario Municipal Administrators Association (OMAA) and muniSERV have once again partnered to bring a new tool to Ontario municipalities to address these issues.  Along with support from the Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association (OMHRA), the Municipal Compensation Database (MCD) was developed under the guidance of a joint CAO/HR Advisory Committee.

The MCD is a cloud-based platform to collect and aggregate current municipal compensation and human resources information.  It revolutionizes the ease at which municipalities share and access compensation and human resources data, when and how they need it.

Benefits for Municipalities:

  • Single source access to improved municipal salaries & benefits data and HR information
  • Comprehensive, Convenient, Collaborative and Confidential
  • Easy access 24/7 right from your desktop or device, from any location
  • Access to real-time, statistically valid information
  • Includes Council Compensation, Job Descriptions and Organizational Charts
  • Enhances efficiency – eliminates duplication
  • Guarantees measurable cost savings
  • Real-time reports created in a matter of minutes

The Province of Ontario encourages municipalities to work together and share services and the MCD fits the bill.

Learn more and participate in the Municipal Compensation Database, or to request a demo, email [email protected] or call 705 538 0176 or 905 459 9200.

By: Susan Shannon, CEO, muniSERV.ca

 

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Focusing your Business Continuity Management (BCM) (Continuity of Operations (COOP))

The arrival of Covid-19 two years ago posed a serious and more difficult threat to most enterprises’ existence. The importance of business continuity management (BCM) in reducing possible hazards, speeding recovery, and meeting customer expectations has become critical for every firm, regardless of size, business vertical, government, or private entity. BCM is a methodology for determining an organization’s risk of being exposed to both internal and external threats. The purpose of BCM is to give the organization the capacity to respond effectively to risks such as pandemics, natural disasters, and data breaches while also protecting the organization’s commercial interests. Disaster recovery, business recovery, crisis management, incident management, emergency management, and contingency planning are all included in BCM.

When done correctly, BCM may provide any organization a competitive advantage. This is especially true if a disruption affects an entire group segment and you are able to respond or recover faster than your competition, reducing consumer inconvenience. When it becomes evident that you excel at dealing with operational disturbances, your brand will gain trust and certainty, allowing you to position your organization as a preferred alternative for your clients and even bolstering confidence and increasing shareholder value. This is no different in being a trusted government entity, department, or agency.

Understanding continuity and preparedness requirements, establishing business continuity management policies and objectives, implementing and operating controls and measures for managing an organization’s overall continuity risks, and continual improvement based on objective measurements are all covered by one internationally recognized standard, that being ISO 22301. The standard highlights the need of meeting and exceeding customer expectations in order to secure business longevity and revenue development.

It is critical that the thought leadership and every level of the organization understand the importance of readiness and continuity.

The most crucial part of developing a BCM is clearly articulating stakeholder demands; consequently, consumers must receive special attention because they are critical to the organization’s success. Focusing on customer needs will also allow the BCM to be fit for its purpose and provide the organisation with a clear picture of process criticality. As a result, you can expect positive results if you design and implement the business continuity plan from a customer’s perspective to drive the business impact analysis. Understanding your customers’ demands is critical to determining where you add value to them, as it allows you to prioritise and determine how much downtime is tolerable in various areas before affecting your bottom line.

Be S.M.A.R.T. about creating strategies and objectives for business continuity management.

Doing this guarantees that objectives are defined and matched with customer-oriented criteria. Internal and external dependencies that may have the greatest impact on an organization’s consumers are identified when policies and objectives are developed. Customer objectives should attempt to surpass consumers’ expectations rather than merely satisfying their requirements. As a result, any organization should make sure to provide top-notch quality consumer objectives. The goal of this setup is to ensure client retention, brand image, and eventually revenue growth.

There exists the importance of putting in place operational controls and procedures to manage an organization’s overall continuity risks.

Following the identification of customer demands and the establishment of essential policies and objectives for the organization, the next stage will be to implement controls that address and mitigate the identified risks. Because risks and changes are unavoidable in the environment in which your organization operates, a systematic approach to putting in place controls to reduce hazards is required. Setting up disaster recovery sites, business continuity strategies, and business continuity procedures are examples of these controls. Lack of these will eventually cause an organization to fail, leaving clients with little choice but to shift to competitors who will provide better choices, or at minimum a choice.

It’s a cycle of continuous development and improvement.

Continuous improvement is a continuous, cyclical endeavour to enhance goods, services, or processes. Processes are assessed and adjusted on a regular basis based on their efficiency, effectiveness, and adaptability to changing consumer requirements and business circumstances. Organizations employ a variety of approaches to structure the process of recognising and acting on opportunities for improvement. Six Sigma, Kaizen, Lean, and the Toyota Production System are examples of prevalent approaches. Although these approaches differ, they all share a common foundation in the continuous improvement paradigm and principles.

Small tweaks, rather than significant paradigm leaps or new breakthroughs, lead to improvements. One percent improvement a month leads to a 12% improvement annually. Employee suggestions are quite helpful. When Employees take ownership and are involved in incremental changes, which are often affordable to execute, improvement occurs.

And finally…one more thought.

Customers are the lifeblood of every organization, and this is something that every organization understands, or should understand. As a result, their pleasure is critical to the organization’s success, which may be secured by providing exceptional customer service. Customer happiness, brand image, and revenue growth have all been shown to improve when BCM is implemented. BCM is critical in this age of unpredictability, and enterprises are encouraged to use it to provide corporate stability and sufficiency for ever-changing client demands.

The Michael White Group International is an approved PECB ISO Standard(s) training provider. It all starts with a conversation.

Plan the Work. Work the Plan.

Reach out. We can help.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group International today, and we will be happy to answer your questions. Visit michaelwhitegroup.com/contact/

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Are you practicing SITUATION AWARENESS?

Situation Awareness is a skillset that should be practiced daily and is a valuable tool for staff.

Increasing situation awareness, through constant development and use increases security, protection of staff, protection of assets and overall resiliency of staff and the organization.

Training Situation Awareness benefits every department across the organization.

This training can take many forms. The focus however should always be the same. Elevate the staff member’s capability of being aware of their surroundings and the different influences, factors, items, and people that make up the environment they’re in. Situation Awareness is a mental image of what is happening all around you. Hearing, seeing, feeling for information and the various cues and clues that those influences, factors, items, and people are making in that environment and piecing them together so that they can have a good idea of what is happening and then using that information to predict what happens next.

There are many reasons why we need to be situationally aware.

  • Personal Safety & Security
  • Crime
  • Workplace Safety

 

Personal Safety & Security

Situation Awareness training can greatly improve an individual’s personal safety and security, regardless of if they’re at work, home or at play. Being aware of the environment you’re in reduces the risk of placing yourself in harms way or removing yourself from harms way. Being aware of the individual that wants to or is about to cause you harm or steal some of your personal belongings, unfortunately in some locals, environments and situations is much needed. Unfortunately for most, we traverse through many different environments on a daily basis that vary in degrees of safety.

 

Crime

Levels of crime or criminal activity vary geographically and from environment to environment. Unfortunately, criminal activity affects many of us, especially crimes against a person, theft, verbal abuse, physical abuse all the way to the far end of the spectrum of terrorist events. In efforts to be continuously aware, individuals should keep themselves abreast of local news and events and equally important when travelling, their destinations local news and events.

Workplace Safety & Security

It is everyone’s collective and individual responsibility to make and improve workplace safety and security. Law enforcement organizations, Crime Stoppers chapter always encourage us to “See something. Say something”. This very same message applies equally from our personal lives to our working environment. “That’s not my job” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Situation Awareness training assists organizations in bettering the safety, security and overall resiliency of their employees resulting in a more safe, secure and resilient organization.

 

Situational Awareness Training Delivery

There are options for organizations when seeking out Situation Awareness training.

  •          In Person
  •          Virtual Classroom

 

In Person Training

It has been said that In Person training is the best delivery method and most beneficial for the participants. It can create an environment of interactivity between the instructor, the participant and with the other participants also. Our delivery of this training will only take up to half a day.

 

Virtual Training

The recent and ongoing pandemic also allowed us to pivot the training and provide it in the virtual world in the varying platforms of virtual meeting spaces. Virtual training offers benefits also in that, we can bring together staff from geographically challenging locals where costs to bring them together is prohibitive making an even larger training group more feasible.

Benefits

The benefits of Situation Awareness training are many for al individuals. Increased personal safety and security, increased security culture in the workplace and increasing the individual’s knowledge of the environment around them. Whether it is a high or low risk environment, situation awareness belongs there.

The value of the training, the value of the results shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated.


Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group International today, and we will be happy to answer your questions. Visit michaelwhitegroup.com/contact/

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CAMA’s Political Acumen Toolkit: Politics and the Role of the Senior Administrator

CAMA’s Political Acumen Toolkit

 POLITICS AND THE ROLE OF THE SENIOR ADMINISTRATOR 

Recognizing the importance of political understanding in the role of senior municipal administrators, also referred to as political acumen, the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA) launched a Political Acumen Toolkit. This resource can be found at politicalacumen.camacam.ca  

 

Today’s featured category is the role of the senior administrator in politics. 

 

The role of a CAO is apolitical, and therefore, it is imperative that the CAO and other administrators remain impartial in all matters.  At a high level, the role of Administration is to implement the policies of elected officials. This creates an interesting relationship between the political and the non-political in municipal activities. To successfully navigate this nebulous territory, it is important that municipal leaders understand the politics of a situation as well as have a firm grasp on their role.  As much as the CAO and other administrators work in the political realm and need to have a solid understanding of political influences, these roles require that you stay neutral to be able to act effectively on behalf of your municipality. 

 

To learn more about the politics and role of the senior administrator visit CAMA’s Political Acumen Toolkit. 

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Are Your People Being Poached? It Might Be Time for a Leadership Check-up.

In the 2016 Ontario Municipal Chief Administrative Officer Survey, CAOs identified “poaching” of their employees as a significant problem. One CAO bluntly summed up the issue,

“It feels like the succession plan of some of my neighbours is just to recruit my best people with higher comp.”1

In 2022, the challenge of keeping good people continues and it is not limited to municipalities. While compensation is certainly a consideration in luring people away from their current employer, there is another variable that plays a significant role in employee retention. If the adage of “people leave managers not companies” is to be believed, it is prudent for an organization to consider current leadership health when addressing the talent retention issue.

In conversations with my clients confronting this challenge, I lead with this question:

In order to avoid the stiff competition of the current talent market, what are you doing to keep your good people?

This question is followed by a probing of their current leadership health.

·      Are your leaders self-aware and willing to set aside their own biases in their daily leadership practice?

·      Do your leaders have an objective understanding of what motivates each member of their team?

·      Do your leaders have the resources to lead effectively?

·      Do you collect data on a regular basis that provides insight into leadership successes and challenges at all levels, and do you create action plans in response to the story of this data?

I. Are your leaders self-aware and willing to set aside their own biases in their daily leadership practice?

There is no shortage of evidence reinforcing the importance of self-awareness in leadership.  Getting to that self-awareness through honest introspection, however, can be a humbling experience but at the same time, self-reflection is a powerful lever in recognizing one’s biases and realizing greater leadership potential. Ensuring that the organization’s leaders are provided with objective, frequent and reliable feedback about leadership behaviour at all levels can be a powerful strategy in retaining great employees.

II. Do your leaders have an objective understanding of what motivates each member of the teams they lead?

 All members of the team are “wired” differently and therefore require a differentiated leadership approach. Understanding what motivates and demotivates team members and applying this knowledge in the leader- team member relationship demonstrates the leader’s willingness to recognize and respect team members as individuals. Respect and understanding of unique qualities are powerful motivators for an employee’s loyalty to their manager and their desire to remain with the team (and the company).

III. Do your leaders have the resources to lead effectively?

There is an entire industry that has grown out of leadership development. In my own professional experience and that of my clients, there are three metrics that separate “one day wonder” leadership development efforts from those that gain traction and become hardwired into company culture.

1.     Simplicity – Leadership training and materials that are overly complex and require significant amounts of time and effort will not get used. Full stop. The measure of success for simplicity is the ability of leaders to immediately understand and apply new knowledge and materials in their daily leadership practice.

2.     Relevance – Leaders must see a direct connection between leadership development initiatives and their current situation. Moreover, they will need to be convinced of the benefit for themselves and their team.

3.     Accountability – Many leadership development initiatives fail because participants know they won’t be held accountable for implementation.  Perhaps the most powerful accountability strategy is for all levels of leadership, from front-line managers to the C-Suite, to embrace, model, and set an expectation for the implementation of a leadership development strategy.

IV. Do you collect data on a regular basis that provides insight into leadership successes and failures in your organization?

In the same way that leader self-awareness affirms areas of strength and challenge so too, does organizational self-awareness. How do employees feel about coming in to work every day? How do they feel about their boss or the people they work with? Do they have a sense of satisfaction in their job?  The answers to these and other important people-related questions will have impact on the success or failure of the organization because every business problem inevitably includes a people problem.

There are important considerations when conducting an organizational self-assessment:

1.     Measure what matters.  Specifically target those people areas that have the greatest impact on the achievement of organizational objectives

2.     Select the tools and strategies that will yield the most useful objective information and provide a macro view of the entire organization as well as a micro view of each department. These dual perspectives shed light on the performance of all leaders in the organization.

3.     Administer the assessment and collect the data in a timely manner.

4.     The process does not end with the assessment! Analyze the data and create an action plan with key performance indicators and timelines. Everyone in the organization needs to feel that their contribution made a difference.

It takes courage for an organization to “hold up a mirror” to itself, but the payoff is understanding current employee sentiment which is a powerful data point in strategizing for employee retention.

The best option for avoiding the current “war on talent” is to keep your good people from leaving. A talent strategy that includes asking the right questions about leadership health, conducting an objective assessment of current leadership practices, and creating an action plan informed by the story of the data, will be instrumental in the engagement and retention of great employees.

 

1Ontario Municipal Chief Administrative Officer Survey 2016,  A Candid Look at the Issues on the Minds of Ontario CAOs, SurveyCorp, Spring, 2016

Mitch LePage, a former public sector leader, is a Managing Principal with Predictive Success Corporation and leadership partner to private and public sector clients including municipalities. To discuss your talent strategy or challenges, you can reach Mitch at [email protected]

 

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What is Boolean Logic?

Girl encircled by search icons and AI

What is Boolean Logic?

Have you ever wondered how a computer can do something like balance a check book, or spell-check a document? If you want to understand the answer to this question down at the very core, the first thing you need to understand is something called Boolean Logic.   [i]

Why do you need to understand Boolean Logic?

Well, as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) increases, it will be important for us all to understand it.  I am no expert on it by any means, but here’s my take on what I understand to be the very basic fundamentals of it, in the simplest and broadest of terms.

The term “Boolean” refers to a system of logic developed by the mathematician and early computer pioneer, George Boole.

A Boolean search is a query technique that utilizes Boolean Logic to connect individual keywords or phrases within a single query.
Boolean searching allows the user to combine or limit words and phrases in an online search in order to retrieve relevant results.  Boolean searching includes three key Boolean operators: AND, OR, and NOT which are used to limit, broaden and define the search results.
When these “operators” are used between two keywords, the search will result as follows:
  • A Boolean search for “Cats AND Dogs” will retrieve all documents that contain both words
  • A Boolean search for “Cats NOT Dogs”, will retrieve only documents that contain the word “Cats”
  • A Boolean search for “Cats OR Dogs”, will retrieve documents that contain either the word “Cats” or the word, “Dogs”
Wildcard Characters (? and *) are also used in Boolean Logic. 
  • “?” matches a single character (i.e. the search string “re?” will match both rest and rent)
  • “*” matches multiple characters (i.e. the wildcard search “res*”, will match rest, rested and resting.[ii]
Quotation marks require words to be searched as a phrase, in the exact order you type them. For example, when searching for posts about Asset Management, using the quotation marks will search for the phrase exactly as it appears (i.e., “Asset Management”).  It would not return  documents that contain both the words, Asset and Management, in any other combination.
There are other elements to Boolean Logic, but I don’t want to get you too far into the weeds.  
The main thing I wanted to achieve with this article is; a) to provide an introduction to Boolean Logic, for those of us who are new to it and, b) for you to understand that combining Boolean strings with AI-powered search filters to conduct a search, utilizes a search engine to its fullest, most comprehensive potential for optimum search results.
Susan Shannon, CEO
muniSERV.ca

[i] How Boolean Logic Works, by Marshal Brain, Science Direct

[ii] Gnowit Guide to Boolean Logic – Boolean Primer

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CAMA’s Business Partner Program

The Canadian Association of Municipal Administrator’s Business Partner Program allows companies to showcase their products and services to CAMA members and their employees. 

Facts about CAMA Membership:  
⦁ As a national association, the CAMA membership offers a wide geographical appeal to potential business partners and has a membership of over 650 local government professionals.   
⦁ Canadian municipalities spend in excess of $40-billion annually and CAMA members represent over 85% of the nation’s population.   
⦁ CAMA members are the most senior appointed officials in their municipalities including Chief Administrative Officers (CAO)/City Managers and any person employed in a senior management position that reports directly to the CAO (Deputy CAOs, Directors, Departments Heads, General or Chief Commissioners, City Clerks, etc.)   

What is the Cost to Become a Business Partner?
⦁ $550.00 (plus applicable taxes) for a one-year membership.
⦁ $1000.00 (plus applicable taxes) for a two-year membership.

For more information on the advantages of becoming a Business Partner visit the CAMA website.

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Considerations for Employees who are Working Remotely – Part 2

cartoon of people on a zoom call

Part 2 – Clearly outline when the employee is considered to be in the physical work environment and when they are not.

In our last article we noted that Covid-19 changed the way many organizations do business and organizations have had to learn how to navigate the many challenges of remote work: lack of face-to-face supervision, keeping employees engaged and motivated and managing the work environment are just some of the challenges with remote work. During the pandemic, many employers shifted to a full or hybrid remote work arrangement, but with COVID restrictions being lifted and life slowly returning to the pre-pandemic norm, what was just a temporary measure necessitated by the COVID pandemic is becoming a more permanent arrangement by choice.

Whether you choose to adapt to a fully remote workforce or a hybrid remote work arrangement, employee’s activities while working remotely should be subject to the same standards that are applied at the organization’s offices regarding confidentiality, security, quality, and access to business documents just to name a few. In addition, an employer must continue to comply with applicable employment legislation and continue to ensure the health and safety of employees to minimize the risks of workplace injuries while working remotely. To help minimize liabilities, employers who are considering implementing a permanent remote work arrangement should ensure that they establish and implement a clear remote work policy along with a well drafted remote work agreement between the employer and the employees.

In Part 1 we talked about these key areas to consider when creating a remote work policy; Availability and Hours of Work, Physical Environment & Security.  Here are some additional areas to consider when creating a remote work policy. 

Client Confidentiality

Some employer’s client information may be particularly sensitive. Customers have a right (both legal and moral) to expect their confidential information to be protected. Employees who are working remotely should be reminded of their obligation to take appropriate precautions to ensure that confidential information not be exposed to third parties, including family members, visitors or any other persons residing, working or simply present at the remote work location.

Health and Safety

The remote work location is an extension of the physical office. While the Ontario Health and Safety Act appears explicitly to not apply to work performed by the owner or occupant in or about a private residence, the employer should practice due diligence and it would still be considered best practice to direct employees to observe all applicable health and safety policies when working remotely.

Remote work may also be conducted in locations other than the employee’s home. This could be highlighted in the policy and employees reminded that they could consult with their health and safety representative (if applicable) in respect of best practices in setting up a remote-work location. Employers continue to be responsible to take every reasonable precaution to protect the well-being of their employees. And in the context of a “distributed workplace” employers should be clear about the employer’s and employee’s shared responsibility to ensure a safe workplace.

Injuries sustained at the employees’ homes would be treated as a workplace-related injury, so it is imperative that organizations continue to manage health and safety for employees who are working from home. To minimize the health and safety risks associated with working from home employers should ensure that the remote-work policy covers the following:

  • Define the workplace. Where does the workplace extend to and how does the workplace extend into the employee’s home?
  • Clearly outline when the employee is considered to be in the physical work environment and when they are not.
  • Be clear about break times and ensure that employees understand that breaks are time away from work.
  • Employees should be made aware that just as they are expected to maintain a safe work area free of safety hazards while in the office environment, they are required to do the same in their home workspace.

Confusion of expectations and disconnections between employees and employers from not having a clear remote work policy can result in undue risk to both parties. An effective remote work policy should establish the guidelines and expectations for performance while working remotely, along with providing a framework for monitoring and addressing situations of non-compliance. By doing so the employer may enjoy a competitive edge, even during trying and difficult times, as they provide employees the opportunity to continue to contribute to the organization’s ongoing success in an evolving understanding of how work gets done.

By Adrian Johnson, ASSOCIUM Consultants

Through our collaborative approaches, innovative HR products and customized advisory solutions we impact four leadership priorities: managing risk, driving productivity, strengthening talent capabilities and supporting your bottom line.

Let’s connect to find out how ASSOCIUM Consultants can help your organization.

 

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Considerations for Employees who are Working Remotely – Part 1

Office items on a desk

Part 1 – Your remote work policy should outline the importance of protecting confidential information in remote work settings.

Covid-19 changed the way many organizations do business and organizations have had to learn how to navigate the many challenges of remote work: lack of face-to-face supervision, keeping employees engaged and motivated and managing the work environment are just some of the challenges with remote work. During the pandemic, many employers shifted to a full or hybrid remote work arrangement, but with COVID restrictions being lifted and life slowly returning to the pre-pandemic norm, what was just a temporary measure necessitated by the COVID pandemic is becoming a more permanent arrangement by choice.

Whether you choose to adapt to a fully remote workforce or a hybrid remote work arrangement, employee’s activities while working remotely should be subject to the same standards that are applied at the organization’s offices regarding confidentiality, security, quality, and access to business documents just to name a few. In addition, an employer must continue to comply with applicable employment legislation and continue to ensure the health and safety of employees to minimize the risks of workplace injuries while working remotely. To help minimize liabilities, employers who are considering implementing a permanent remote work arrangement should ensure that they establish and implement a clear remote work policy along with a well drafted remote work agreement between the employer and the employees.

Below are some key areas to consider when creating a remote work policy:

Availability and Hours of Work

A remote work policy should clearly outline availability expectations. One of the disadvantages of working remotely is that employees are in various locations. This sometimes makes it difficult to have spontaneous meetings or pop by someone’s desk for a quick meeting or chat about business. A solution for this may be to incorporate schedule requirements including structured, periodic check-in times with employees. While there has been much written recently about the value of flexibility for employees who can have greater control over their schedules while working remotely, it may still be necessary to set parameters for hours of work and set rules for overtime. So, regardless of the flexibility of work schedules, the employer may want to set expectations for employees to be accessible during particular hours and to be available to respond promptly to any time-sensitive calls, emails, or other communications from the organization’s clients or other third parties critical to the organization’s purposes.

Physical Environment

If there is a preference for a physical working environment for your employees, outline these expectations in your policy. Ensure your employees know what the requirements are for a physical working environment whether it be in the employee’s home or alternative location. If necessary, the employer may require employees to provide addresses and locations from which they are working remotely and update these when necessary. Employers may wish to establish expectations for dependent care arrangements and personal responsibilities to ensure that employees are able to meet their job responsibilities without interruption or distraction.

Security

Security is a big concern with remote work. Your remote work policy should outline the importance of protecting confidential information in remote work settings. Your policy should set guidelines for working remotely to secure records and prevent unauthorized disclosure of confidential business information.

Employers should consider the processes for storing business documents, especially sensitive and/or highly confidential files, on the organization’s secure servers and not on the employee’s remote hard drives.

Your organization might consider specific policies mandating secure internet connections or virtual private networks with a strict exclusion of public wi-fi. And there should be a policy and process for reporting a security breach if the employee has any reason to believe that business information has been accessed by any unauthorized person(s).

And, of course, if budgets permit, it may be prudent to provide remote-work employees with secure computers and other hardware, owned by the organization. Related policies could then restrict the processing or storage of any of the organization’s information on the employee’s personal equipment.

This is a two-part conversation, so watch next week for Part 2 of our article, where we’ll cover, Client Confidentiality and Health & Safety considerations. 

————-

Through our collaborative approaches, innovative HR products and customized advisory solutions we impact four leadership priorities: managing risk, driving productivity, strengthening talent capabilities and supporting your bottom line.

By Adrian Johnson, ASSOCIUM Consultants

Let’s connect to find out how ASSOCIUM Consultants can help your organization.

 

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