Women Leaders in Government: Why It Matters and How to Achieve It

Women leaders in Government are critical for helping agencies meet their full potential
Women leaders in Government are critical for helping agencies meet their full potential

According to a Pew Research Center survey on women and leadership, most Americans believe women possess the same key leadership traits as men such as intelligence and capacity for innovation. In fact, some people think women are superior to men in areas of compassion and organization.

Despite this, only 15.4% of chief administrative officers are women, according to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

If we want to increase the gender parity index and work towards a fair footing for women leaders in Government, then we need to do everything we can to make it more likely women will pursue managerial positions in their local state and county.

Before we can look at how to get more women in office, let’s look at why they’re so beneficial to have in there at all.

What are the Benefits of Women Leaders in Government?

According to a study conducted by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman for the Harvard Business Review, women outperformed men in 15 out of the 16 categories they studied.

This study surveyed 7,280 leaders across some of the most successful and progressive organizations in the world both public and private, government and commercial, domestic and international.

The data confirmed that women are certainly better than men in the categories they’re typically known to excel within, such as “building relationships” and “developing others.”

But surprisingly, women were also rated higher in stereotypically male dominated attributes, such as “taking initiative” and “driving for results.”

Here’s a list of the other categories women excelled in:

  • Practices Self-Development
  • Displays High Integrity and Honesty
  • Inspires and Motivates Others
  • Collaboration and Teamwork
  • Establishes Stretch Goals
  • Champions Change
  • Solves Problems and Analyzes Issues
  • Communicates Powerfully and Prolifically
  • Connects the Group to the Outside World
  • Innovates
  • Technical or Professional Expertise

The only category in which men scored marginally higher was “developed strategic perspective.”

This study clearly demonstrates that women are necessary and essential for a high-functioning Government agency.

Which leaves us with one question…

How Do You Get More Women Leaders in Government?

We’ve seen huge strides in getting women to run and be elected into top Governmental roles as shown in the unprecedented Decade of Women.

But how do we get women involved on the state and local level?

Here are 2 ways to make it happen:

Mentorship Programs

Without a doubt, a strong local Government mentorship program for women is one of the best ways to foster leadership traits and increase women leaders in Government.

Patricia Martel, the city manager of Daly City in California, told Governing Magazine that “One of the most critical things is having a role model…You can’t be who you can’t see.”

A great example of a strong mentoring program for women is the Women’s Leadership Mentoring Program (WLMP) in San Antonio, Texas.

It offers ambitious young women a year-long mentorship with a female city executive and is built upon strategic requirements, offerings, and expectations that enhance the mentoring relationship and leadership development for all participants.

The more cities offering these types of programs, the more we’ll see women leaders in Government.

Women Leadership Programs

Programs that teach young women the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be a strong manager are needed to increase the confidence of women who are interested in becoming a leader in Government.

Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men, according to the Atlantic in their article titled, “The Confidence Gap.”

Some organizations are taking a bold step to empower young women with valuable managerial skills, such as our New to Management training.

From what to expect, to directing others, difficult conversations, motivating a team, and effective interpersonal skills, our management training materials include video lessons, knowledge checks, and other course materials to help men and women alike improve their management and leadership skills.

This kind of focused, hands-on training will go a long way in developing the talent needed for future agency managers and leaders.

How Can You Become a Woman Leader in Government Today?

If you already work within a Government agency, you can be part of the growing movement for female leadership.

If you want to become the head of your agency, you’re going to need to dedicate yourself to lifelong learning and skill building.

This doesn’t mean you have to go back to school or spend enormous amounts of money on high-priced instructors.

All you need is the right training program to quickly foster the skills required to become a leader in your sector.

Want to know how?

Invest in your education through one of our Government eLearning courses.

ELearning Helps to Quickly Develop Women Leaders in Government

We have over 6,000 online Government training programs designed to help you sharpen your knowledge, learn new skills, and become a stronger leader. You can learn from any device, anywhere. From effective communication to project management, you can fast-track your ability to become the manager or the head of your agency.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by starting your free 10-day trial today!

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How the Low Cost of eLearning Can Save Your Agency in the Age of Trump

The low cost of elearning has helped organizations worldwide save money while learning faster
The low cost of eLearning has helped organizations worldwide save money while learning faster

After Trump initiated his hiring freeze on January 23rd, it was clear he was serious about trimming down agencies in Government.

On April 12th, Mick Mulvaney sent out a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies requiring them to reduce their workforce and maximize employee productivity.

By now, you’re probably trying to figure out how to create a competent and cost-effective plan to meet the memorandum’s stringent requirements.

If you’ve performed any type of succession planning, you know that you need to train your existing employees to handle the tasks of your retirement-aged staff.

Unfortunately, you might not have enough money to pay for instructor-led training (ILT), or, at the very least, you’re going to need to supplement ILT with something more cost-effective.

Well, an alternative to ILT does exist that allows you to save time and money, and allows your participants to learn faster.

It’s called eLearning, and it’s a booming industry.

According to Global Market Insights, the eLearning market size was valued at $165 billion in 2015 and is likely to grow at 5% from 2016 to 2023, topping $240 billion.

The public and private sector have been quick to adopt eLearning for a variety of reasons that can benefit your agency.

First up in benefits: how much money you can be saving by switching from ILT to eLearning.

The (Low) Cost of eLearning

Caterpillar University (CU) created a helpful model for calculating the total cost of eLearning as compared to ILT and their results demonstrate why eLearning is the preferred training and development vehicle for agencies with heavy budget cuts.

CU found that the cost of eLearning was almost always much less than ILT, regardless of the participant size.

For example, if you were training a group of 100 people for just 1 hour, eLearning was over 40% less expensive than ILT ($9,500 vs. $17, 062).

When they modeled much larger group sizes and longer programs, the cost of eLearning is even more pronounced with savings as high as 78%.

If you need to train your employees without overspending, eLearning is your best option.

But the financial cost of eLearning isn’t the only benefit…

The Educational Cost of elearning

ILT is definitely the preferred form of learning when you have to train your employees in advanced skills and complex subjects.

But not all skills and subjects require in-depth, long-form training sessions.

For simple topics, broad concepts, and straightforward skills, eLearning can provide all the content required to train your employees quickly and efficiently.

If you have created individual development plan goals for your employees, eLearning can accelerate their professional development by allowing them to learn at their own pace without the pressure of group training sessions.

Ultimately, the cost of eLearning is not only measured in dollars, but in the value it provides to your employees.

The Benefits of an eLearning Program

Flexible Training Design

When operating on tight budget constraints, you need to be able to deliver the education your employees require at the cost your budget demands.

ELearning programs can be deployed as prepackaged courses–ready to teach a specific subject–or you can design a course yourself using an eLearning format, which will make course creation much easier.

Multi-Device Learning

Today’s learner needs to access knowledge wherever they are, on any device. Not only on computers at work or at home, but on tablets while commuting, or on their phones at lunch.

The cost of eLearning is dramatically reduced because of the increasingly low-cost of high-quality technology which makes it easier to deploy learning programs and train employees.

Microlearning

Instead of slogging through hours or days worth of training, microlearning delivers the most important information in bite-sized lessons for a more effective and more enjoyable learning experience.

In fact, one study found that microlearning resulted in 20% higher information retention than long-form learning.

Is the Cost of eLearning Worth It?

To answer that question, consider what eLearning provides:

  • Faster training for employees
  • Lower cost than ILT
  • Easier to deploy on any device, anywhere

That certainly makes it seem worth it to us.

If it seems worth it to you, then it’s time to find a proven eLearning company who specializes in Government training and development.

And guess what?

You just found one.

Let’s Jump Start Your eLearning Program Today

We have over 6,000 online training programs designed specifically for Government agencies and employees to refine their skills, upgrade their knowledge, and perform their jobs better. You get 24/7 access to all of our courses and they can be viewed on all devices. Best of all, we understand that budgets are decreasing, which is why every Government agency we’ve worked with has benefited immensely from our affordable eLearning programs.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

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5 Individual Development Plan Goals for Improved Employee Success

Individual development plan goals will improve your employee's productivity and strengthen your organization
Individual development plan goals will improve your employee’s productivity and strengthen your organization

Many Government agencies don’t have individual development plan goals for each of their employees, which is a shame because an IDP is one of the most effective ways to retain employees and motivate them to give their best efforts.

In fact, according to research firm Edenred, 68% of workers say training and development are the most important workplace policy.

This means that the majority of employees are craving dedicated, meaningful, and effective individual development in order to succeed within your organization.

Unfortunately, it’s becoming harder to hire the right people to fill vacant positions, which should make you put employee retention and development at the top of your priority list.

RandstadUSA conducted a study on workplace trends and found that 75% of companies agree it takes more time this year than last year to find the right talent to fill positions. Today, the average time to hire a non-executive candidate is more than two months.

If you already have the right people in your organization, your job now is to give them the tools they need to consistently improve their skills and grow their knowledge.

This is where an IDP comes into play.

To help you give your employees everything they need to succeed, we’re going to define an IDP and then layout the 5 most important individual development plan goals your employees should be focused on.

What Is an Individual Development Plan?

Simply put, an individual development plan is a formal agreement between the employer and the employee regarding how the employee will grow within your organization, and what goals they will accomplish over a set period of time.

Once set, individual development plan goals can be used by managers to measure the performance of every employee. Since all employees come with different skills and knowledge, it’s important to analyze their productive output on an individual basis.

Clear, tangible goals allow you to assess where your employees are in their current abilities and then use this assessment to keep them accountable for their professional development.

Ultimately, an individual development plan is used to draw out leadership capabilities from within all of your employees—creating a strong, competent, and highly motivated workforce.

What Are the 5 Most Important Individual Development Plan Goals?

Create an Individual Development Plan for Yourself and Your Organization’s Objectives

You should begin your individual development plan by identifying the objectives of your organization, and the skill sets you require in your employees to accomplish those objectives.

This provides a clear picture of the needs of your organization, which will make it easier to identify the employees who are ready and willing to meet those needs.

Also, if you’re going to help your employees write an IDP, you should first write one for yourself.

And, make sure you actually sit down with each of your employees to help them develop their IDP—don’t just give them a sheet to fill out on their own.

Write down a Big Reason Why an IDP Is Being Created

An IDP is useless without a compelling reason for creating it.

Each of your employees should know exactly why you’re creating an IDP together, and what they think it will help them achieve.

Common reasons would be:

  • They’re currently struggling and want to improve in their job
  • They want to move up in your organization and prepare themselves for the new role
  • They’re comfortable in their position but feel like they could be doing even better

Nailing down a reason for the IDP will help you and your employees stay focused on the core objective as you work through the rest of these steps.

Make a List of Core Strengths and Weaknesses

This exercise is what helps you and your employees evaluate where they’re at currently in their development, what roles and responsibilities they are best suited to pursue within your organization, and what requires the most attention right away.

They should work to master their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses.

Identify What Needs to Be Learned and What Skills Need to Be Developed

There are 3 main categories you should focus on:

  • Skills
  • Knowledge
  • Attributes

If they’re moving to a new position, what skills do they need to learn? What knowledge do they need to possess?

If they’re trying to improve in their current role, what skills are lacking? What are their knowledge gaps?

In regards to their attributes, what personality traits should be developed? What type of leadership characteristics should they embody?

Overall, identify specifically what is required to learn, know, and possess to reach their individual development plan goals.

Identify the Actions Required to Achieve the Learning Objectives

This is where the rubber meets the road with IDP’s. Here’s a list of what you need to do to make their IDP actionable:

  • Identify the 1, 2, and 3-year goals of your employees
  • Create milestones for them to hit in their developmental journey
  • Create specific dates for every milestone and goal so you both know when they’re supposed to achieve their objectives
  • And finally, identify how they’re going to actually develop their abilities:
  • Take on a challenging new assignment
  • Receive coaching or mentoring
  • Take an online course

How Do You Implement Individual Development Plan Goals?

Sign the IDP with your employee to make it a formal contract binding both of you to the goals set forth. Allow your employees to take on new challenges like you identified. Plan to meet with them regularly to discuss their progress. And make sure they’re checking off the items on their list as they go.

After a period of time implementing the plan, have a meeting with each of your employees to discuss their successes and failures, and ways to adjust their plan for accelerated performance. Be an open confidant for their continued success.

Also, make sure that you, too, are always developing and improving upon your processes, and learning how to facilitate a better IDP.

Ready to Take Your Individual Development Plan Goals to the Next Level?

Our online courses can give your employees the technical, job oriented skills they desire, along with the interpersonal, leadership skills they require to reach their goals and serve your organization. Plus, we have multiple resources to help you create the best IDP possible for the best results.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

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How to Use Microlearning to Increase Productivity in Your Agency

Microlearning offers quick, easy to understand lessons for maximum comprehension
Microlearning offers quick, easy to understand lessons for maximum comprehension

Microlearning has been revolutionizing employee training and development in the corporate world, but is it applicable to Government agencies?

With increasing budget cuts, Government agencies have to maximize their returns on every dollar they spend.

Long-form training–where participants sit in a conference room for hours, learn from a hefty manual, and then take a test–can be costly and time-consuming.

Microlearning, on the other hand, can be consumed virtually anywhere, is delivered quickly, and the results are impressive.

A study from the Dresden University of Technology in Germany found that microlearning resulted in 20% higher information retention than long-form learning.

This means less time, money, and resources spent on retraining employees in your agency.

But, microlearning may not be the end all be all of learning and development that some companies would like you to believe.

To help you understand the proper role of microlearning in your agency, we’ll define microlearning, compare it to long-form learning, and discuss some of its benefits and drawbacks.

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is characterized by short, focused modules that help the learner understand one topic or idea at a time.

Modules are usually 3-5 minutes long (or shorter), and they incorporate video, audio, and written material for a full-sensory learning experience.

Microlearning can be deployed on any device which makes it ideal for busy learners and educators who want to be able to quickly learn and apply what they’ve learned immediately.

What’s the Difference Between Microlearning and Long-Form Learning

Traditional learning typically involves an instructor who decides how participants will be learning (text vs. audio vs. video vs. a mixture of all 3).

Participants usually go through the training only once, and training lasts for a few hours or a few days.

Microlearning, on the other hand, guarantees a variety of learning tools will be available to participants so that they can “drive” their own learning experience, and use only the tools that help them individually learn better.

Microlearning modules allow participants to learn at their own pace, and to break information into manageable chunks that are easier to remember long-term.

Traditional, long-form learning is very formal in its tone and setting–you arrive at one location, go through the whole training in the same place and in the same way, and then test your knowledge.

Microlearning is flexible enough to allow you to learn formally–like in a conference room with an instructor–or informally, like while riding the bus or on your lunch break.

Microlearning modules are designed to be consumed whenever you need to learn or relearn a topic or idea.

What are the Benefits of Microlearning?

Spaced Repetition

The most commonly cited benefit to Microlearning is how helpful it is in counteracting the famous “forgetting curve”, which hypothesizes that you will lose most of your acquired knowledge if you don’t attempt to retain it.

Because Microlearning modules are so short, they’re easy to consume again and again over time to solidify the knowledge in your memory.

Wide-Range of Applications

Microlearning modules can be used for teaching one-off ideas, for quick reference, or as part of a series of other microlearning programs.

Effective Outcomes

Microlearning will help you remember more of any given subject–especially if it’s complicated–because it breaks information down into bite-sized pieces that center around one big idea, allowing you to focus without distraction, and put your newfound knowledge into practice immediately.

Learner-Centered

Every individual has different capacities and preferences for learning.

Microlearning gives you the flexibility to design lesson plans and training sessions that will maximize the educational experience for each individual employee.

Plus, since some employees don’t have the time nor the interest in sitting through a long-form training session–especially if it’s filled with ancillary or discretionary content– you can deliver the essentials of the session in a compartmentalized, easy-to-consume format.

What are the Drawbacks of Microlearning?

Can’t Create Experts

If you really want to master a subject and become an expert, you’ll have to dive much deeper into your subject matter for much longer.

Concepts, definitions, and explanations can all be understood with microlearning, but complex topics, advanced skills, and in-depth knowledge require long-form learning.

More Planning Ahead of Time

If you’re tasked with creating a microlearning program, you’re going to have to wade through all the material you want to teach, identify the most essential parts of the course, and then break those down into easy to consume modules.

A microlearning program may not provide a complete picture of the subject matter because it usually covers only one aspect of a topic or idea.

Also, if the program creator misses a crucial bit of information when developing the course, they could make the learning experience feel disjointed or fragmented.

How Should Microlearning be Used?

Microlearning is best used as part of a hybrid learning program that also includes long-form learning and hands-on training. It is an ideal performance support tool, since it can be delivered anywhere, on any device, at the exact time an employee needs to learn or relearn a subject.

It’s not useful for complex topics, but it can be used as a spaced repetition tool that reinforces complex ideas by delivering a shortened version of them over time.

It’s also ideal for busy employees who travel often and only need to keep up-to-date with the latest training and development requirements.

At the end of the day, you need to decide what’s best for each individual employee based on their current level of skill and knowledge in order to provide them with the learning that suits them best.

Need a Microlearning Program For Your Agency?

We have over 6,000 online training programs designed specifically for Government agencies and employees to refine their skills, upgrade their knowledge, and perform their jobs better. You get 24/7 access to all of our courses and they can be viewed on all devices. Every Government agency we’ve worked with has benefited from our elearning courses.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

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Government Succession Planning: 5 Easy Steps for Great Results

Government succession planning is critical to maintaining a high-functioning organization.
Government succession planning is critical to maintaining a high-functioning organization.

Succession planning is critical to maintaining a high-functioning organization. Do you feel like your Government succession planning efforts are falling short of your expectations, and you’re failing to effectively backfill talent to take over for your retirement-aged staff?

You’re not alone.

Back in 2009, The International Public Management Association for Human Resources conducted a survey on workforce and succession planning and found that only 25% of respondents reported having a formal succession plan in place. Those that didn’t have a plan at all said they were too preoccupied with short-term activities and suffered from insufficient staff due to the great recession.

According to a more recent survey conducted by Cornerstone, Creating the Next Generation of Federal Human Capital: The 2014 State of Human Capital Management Report, 76% of federal agency human capital executives believe their management programs have fallen short of their goals, and 63% believe that their succession planning efforts are not successful.

Even with their programs failing, only 38% of survey respondents cited backfilling talent as a top 3 priority in 2014.

What’s The Big Problem With This Lack of Government Succession Planning?

According to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, nearly 600,000 employees (31%) Government-wide will be eligible to retire by this year, 2017.

This massive turnover could cause a serious loss of leadership and institutional knowledge you’re going to need to operate effectively into the future.

Developing a pipeline of motivated individuals who could fulfill the gaps in your agency is a critical step for sustained and unimpeded service levels in Government.

To help you identify potential candidates with the critical skills needed to lead your agency effectively, here are the top 5 steps you can take to execute a successful Government succession planning strategy.

1. Identify the Key Positions Within Your Organization You Can’t Function Without

An appropriate first step would be to create an oversight committee that can develop a competent plan and resolve any issues related to Government succession planning. The people most qualified for this job would be senior and mid-level managers who already oversee the critical business operations in your agency.

The foremost goal of this committee would be to identify key leadership positions along with positions that are critical for accomplishing your major objectives within your organization.

2. Identify The Base Competencies That are Required for Each Position

After you identify your mission-critical positions, you should identify the base competencies your future staff needs to master in order to successfully perform in those positions.

An easy way to do this is to deliver a survey to managers to measure these competencies so you can devise a plan for developing them in your backfilled talent.

Also, you can measure your “benchmark strength” to see where your staff rank in terms of the competencies you are looking for.

3. Identify Your Backfilling Talent

Now that you know what positions will need to be filled the soonest, and you know what competencies those positions require, you can begin scouting for potential talent to groom for those positions.

Most skills can be easily developed, so you should focus on candidates that possess “raw talent”—self-determination, high motivation, and dedication to your organization. These are the individuals who will be the most eager to learn, and the easiest to teach.

Managers should work to instill a “talent-seeking culture” within your organization to continuously identify and develop an internal selection of promotable individuals.

4. Develop a Mentorship Program Between Your Backfilled Talent and Senior Managers

A strong mentoring program will allow senior managers and executives to impart their valuable knowledge about their job requirements, employee management styles, and professional development strategies.

This will help your chosen candidates realize their full potential through regular feedback, cross-training, and proactive coaching in order to mold them into high-performing employees who are ready to take over their mentor’s position.

5. Deploy Education and Training Programs to Backfilled Talent

In addition to mentorship and coaching, your selected talent will need ongoing education to fully prepare them for their potential new roles within your agency.

With constrained budgets and limited staff, It’s not always possible to deliver this training on-site.

Online learning tools for Government training can provide your employees with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively perform in their current position while preparing them for the challenges of their future roles.

Ready to Make Government Succession Planning Cost-Effective and Easy?

Sign up for our course “Initiating Succession Planning” to help you build your talent pool, motivate your employees, and fortify your agency against the loss of vital employees. Plus, you’ll gain access to thousands of other courses you can use to refine your succession planning and to help your employees reach their full potential and thrive within your organization.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

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