Let’s talk about the elephant in the room that brought many challenges to both private and public sector processes in the last few years- The Great Resignation. Many individuals left their place of employment for reasons like being underpaid, overworked, and limited flexibility for hybrid and remote schedules. Though the topic may seem discouraging at face value, the phenomenon brings great opportunities for organizations to advance internal processes.
Local government is an incredibly daunting industry when it comes to great resignation- and recruiting and retaining quality staff can be difficult amidst daily city staff responsibilities. In Rock Solids' latest comprehensive report, we unpack 9 Trends in Citizen Engagement for Local Government in 2023 to empower both city staff and citizens to make more informed decisions on citizen engagement planning. Further, we offer real examples of how your neighbors are being early adopters of these trends to uplift and serve their communities while simultaneously empowering city staff.
One trend specifically pressing for local government leaders is Trend 7: Reducing Public Sector Staff Burdens for the reasons aforementioned. This is why we’ve gathered a list of actionable points so that local governments can reduce public sector staff burdens and enrich both city staff and community members.
Let’s begin with one way that covers some ground in reducing staff burdens:
- Distributing Employee Information- Newsletters, Emails, and Messages.
It never feels good to be the last person to hear news- and the same story goes for employees receiving company updates and announcements. Company newsletters help employees gather information and stay connected with the organization.
Effective newsletters can include:
- Company updates, events, and milestones
- Policy and Initiative updates
- Opportunity to tell employees about training sessions
- Gather employee feedback
- Connect remote workers
- Help draw attention to community and advocacy resources to benefit employees
- Reinforce company culture
- Generate thought leadership
- Highlight employees who are excelling in their role
Newsletters can be distributed in different formats like company-wide emails, CRM platforms, etc. The important thing is to have a newsletter that covers some of these topics so that employees don’t feel overlooked or not communicated with.
74% of employees feel they are missing out on company information and news.” (Trade Press Services)
Let’s peel the next layer of reducing public sector staff burdens with another component:
2. Implementing Government Solutions that Empower City Staff
The whole purpose of technology is to make people's lives easier, which is why it’s lucrative for an organization to invest in technologies that reduce the burden of city staff. When we think about solutions that can help city staff one that may come to mind is the CRM. For the private sector, the acronym means Customer Relationship Manager, for the public sector, the acronym means Constituent Relationship Manager.
Private sectors recognize the importance and validity of the technology, “91% of companies with more than 11 employees use a CRM system.” (Review) and public sectors are beginning to see it too. In our previous blog, we cover how CRMs are empowering organizations like the city of Cupertino, CA to increase community engagement, increase staff efficiencies, accelerate public service request resolution times, improve tracking data and transparency, etc.
Another example of implementing a government solution to offload city staff tasks comes from Houston, Texas, a city with a diverse population of over 2 million constituents. The city recognized the need to have timely and reliable communication with constituents within public meeting visibility, and so they turned to stream and hosting public meetings- but they ran into some roadblocks...
“The support of streaming and hosting the video on the city’s network was overwhelming for the city to facilitate,” said Dwight Williams, Houston TV (HTV) Division Manager. “We would have had to hire additional employees to maintain the traffic, at the level we estimated, for this type of streaming video project.”
HTV offloaded the task to Swagit, a video and live stream provider. The Hands-Free solution could provide virtual monitoring, response, and ongoing 24/7 technical support with vendor aid and eliminate the need for HTV to maintain a video streaming system or additional support responsibilities.
Houston and Cupertino are proof that recognizing and investing in solutions that help automate processes for their staff can help reduce burnout and offload tasks- CRMs, Agenda Meeting Management Solutions, Video/Live Stream Solutions, etc. are just some of the solutions that can help reduce staff burdens.
3. Finding Creative Ways to Educate and Train Employees
It can be easy to overlook processes or technologies in place for an organization, especially if those technologies and processes have been around for a long time and may seem “common knowledge” to veteran city staff. Powerful education and training for employees and their roles can help staff’s confidence and in turn, improve their output for the organization.
One example comes to light for the city of Hollywood, FL, and administering training and education on the city’s CRM platform. The City of Hollywood partnered with Rock Solid to produce a beneficial solution for citizens and city staff alike, implementing the OneView CRM (constituent relationship manager) with Service Request Management and a custom mobile app. Part of the reason the solution has been so successful is Civic Affairs Administrator, Alison Saffold, works diligently with her team to identify best practices that maximize the solution’s capabilities. Alison implemented a OneView “tip of the week” to share best practices with city staff to get the most out of the product and enhance customer service.
When interviewed by the Rock Solid team, Saffold gave this piece of advice to her peers
“To government employees: stay on top of the platform, You can't just buy it and put it on the shelf. Come up with creative ways to reach out and engage with your team.”
So we’ve covered now investing in solutions that empower city staff and how to train and educate employees on using the most of their resources, now it’s time for everyone's favorite…rewards and recognition!
4. Offering Positive Rewards and Recognition
We know from research that recognizing employees excelling in their roles is an excellent way to improve organizational morale and incentivize employees to stick around. Strong employee recognition programs reduce turnover rates by 31%.
Ways local government organizations can offer positive rewards and recognition can come in various mediums like social media posts, newsletter employee spotlights, gift cards, etc. Everyone likes to feel appreciated- and the act of recognizing positive employee performance goes a long way in reducing turnover.
In general, this really matters like really matters for the future of local government retaining and recruiting quality staff while continuing to serve citizens in the community. As aforementioned, though The Great Resignation may have negative connotations- the situation was very heavily influenced by current events like the pandemic shifting work culture. In the end, employers must consider adapting to new circumstances and empower their city staff to continue on in the pursuit of serving citizens. In our full comprehensive report, we cover the other 8 trends to anticipate in the coming year to help guide change-makers in actionable points of citizen engagement along with actual use cases of your neighbor utilizing the trends to uplift and serve their communities.