Webinar – Discussion on Human Resources Management in the Public Sector

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Hello everyone. Welcome to our online Master of Public Administration webinar. Thank you for joining us today my name is Aili Bing I am an enrollment advisor with the Graduate College here at Ohio University and I am the point of contact and program expert for the Master in Public Administration as well as your host for today’s webinar. I’d like to point out a couple of things that you are going to be seeing on your screen. You will see on the left hand side if I’m not mistaken area where you can share via social media the link to the webinar when we are done. There is also a Q&A section there for you to type in any questions that you might have. We will have a Q&A section at the end closer to the end of today’s webinar and I promise I will try to get to everybody live if we have a lot of questions we will definitely make sure that one of us reaches out to you with answers to those questions even after the webinar. So let’s touch quickly on our agenda, you’ll see here we’ll have a quick program overview. I’m going to try to go through the next couple of slides as quickly as possible for a couple of reasons: a) I want you to be able to have some time with our guest Robin Carlin, but also to be able to give you back some time in your day. Everyone is very very busy I am so thankful for your attendance at today’s webinar we’ll try to give you a little bit of time back in your lunch hour. We’ll talk about Human Resources as I mentioned with Robin Carlin, our guest on what sets sets apart and then of course the Q&A session towards the end.

So here is a quick program overview so that you can see on our MPA there are 12 classes total, nine of which are in the core. You’ll see these listed here and then the other three are each in our specializations. We have at the moment two specializations: public leadership and management concentration; and the nonprofit management concentration. We are currently in process and aiming for a state and local government specialization to hopefully start in Fall 2019. More on that to come at a future date. So let’s talk quickly about public administration field. Here are a few examples of some of the roles that are available to you in public administration whether that’s federal government, state and local government, nonprofit even human resource manager asyou’ll see is one of those careers and fields in public administration and of course the reason for today’s webinar topic. So you can have an opportunity to speak to someone who is not only teaching in our MPA program but also a professional in the field. This is where when you hear us speak to the real world experience and this is what we are referring to. So diversity in the workplace is something that is very important. It’s really crucial to have diversity which increases problem-solving increases creativity, recruitment and retention as well as productivity overall and has many very important advantages. Something that you will be learning a lot in our human resources course. So without further ado, let’s get right to the reason you all have joined our webinar today, Robin Carlin would you mind quickly telling our attendees a little bit about yourself, share a little bit of your educational background and your professional experience?

ROBIN: Absolutely. Thank you Aili. So my background I’ve had of what I consider to be a anything but a normal career path but in public sector I’ve had a very rewarding career. I’ve served as a consultant, teacher, and a practitioner all surrounding the area of HR and labor relations. So I know the difficulty with putting together a plan, implementing the plan and then also trying to get buy-in from your employees. So I bring a well-rounded you know amount of diversity towards the human resource area. I served as the executive director, interim executive director at the Ohio Turnpike and spent 12 years there as well. I also served as the superintendent which is similar to an executive director for the Ohio Veterans Home and and I’ve been in private HR consulting practice as well serving as a global HR director. I’ve overseen 900 plus employees, so I know what happens when things don’t go well and how to actually motivate engage and retain employees. What works and then I also learned the hard way what doesn’t work. I’ve overseen a budget of 61 million to 300 million depending upon where I am so I know the challenges of motivating and rewarding employees when your budget is very tight. And I also serve as a chief negotiator while I was at the Ohio Turnpike. Negotiating labor agreements and i’m a frequent presenter at the state Employment Relations Board in Columbus, so hopefully you know I will be able to share some valuable experience that I’ve had. And one of the things that I like the most about teaching this class is how rewarding it is for me to learn from the students as well who are also in public and nonprofit management.

AILI: Very good, very impressive. Thank you so much for that Robin. Ladies and gentlemen this is exactly what we are referring to when we speak to you on when you’re calling originally and asking questions about our MPA and its value for you when we speak about having real-world professionals with real-world experience teaching you and helping you learn this is something that we’re really proud of and Robin is a shining example of that. So let’s jump into a few questions that we have for Robin and hopefully you all will learn a lot and please remember the Q&A section you can input your questions for our Q&A portion of the webinar a little bit later. So share with us, Robin why should students have a working knowledge of human resources.

ROBIN: That’s a great question. I think its first important to understand that managers have employees for the full lifecycle from recruitment to selection, onboarding, engagement compensation retention, performance, discipline and separation and that’s a lot if you think about it. The HR department will see you, you know, a couple times whether it’s for the onboarding process the hiring process or maybe when you’re having trouble but it is the manager who is really the heart and soul of human resource activities.There’s a lot of labor laws, employment laws that managers need to know as well as best practices and sound advice and you’ll get that from this class. Knowing how to manage people is what I consider to be the single most critical aspect of the success of any organization and our managers taking this program you know will learn that and and why HR is valuable to them. You’ll learn how to find talent, recruit employees, conduct interviews including what questions you can and cannot ask and when you can ask candidates to submit to a physical examination and a drug test. Since you do need to be legally compliant. I always tell managers that onboarding is not the sole responsibility of HR. Managers are actually the most important part of the onboarding process. You need to be aware of of you know, are your new hires learning the right amounts? Are they struggling? Are they assimilating into your department? Are they sharing you know their knowledge? And are you doing everything you can so that they shine? If you think about it in today’s world because the the labor market is entirely different than when we may have entered the workforce. 20% of new hires will leave within the first 45 days. So it’s very critical that managers play a key role in the onboarding process and we cover that in this class. Ally handling difficult conversations and discipline is something that managers will deal with on a regular basis. You know the old rule is that 80% of your of your work will come from 20% of your employees, so it’s good to know how to handle those difficult conversations. We also work with our managers on getting the most out of their employees through the performance review process, so that it’s meaningful and then you know for the large percentage that are unionized especially in the public sector, we make sure that we cover the collective bargaining process and how a manager’s role is essential at the table and in the preparation process. And then lastly we make sure that we take a close look at diversity and inclusion. And you know the last couple years we’re hearing more and more about the importance of civility and professionalism and the managers impact on creating you know a non-discriminatory and appropriate workforce or workplace. So as you can see HR definitely impacts managers daily and we want to make sure that the managers going through the Ohio University MPA program are well equipped for the people challenges that they’re going to encounter.

AILI: Very good. Thank you so much. I agree and I think that most people listening to this webinar would also agree that as you mentioned civility is something that we are paying much more attention to rightfully so and as well as diversity and inclusion. So it’s something that as you say if you entered the workforce even you know five or ten years ago might have been slightly different and today’s workforce is going to expect that from managers. Even managers in a company with a very large HR department and a number of HR professionals. It’s still going to be something that the manager really needs to at least have a working knowledge of wouldn’t you agree?

ROBIN: Absolutely and I think that you know managers do work hand in hand with HR and you know from an HR perspective we want the managers to be compliant as well as engaging and motivating and creating an inclusive workplace. So absolutely you’re right.

AILI: Excellent. Thank you so much. Let’s talk about our next question. Developing talent for the future. Expound a bit on that and help our attendees understand the value of that.

ROBIN: Absolutely. I make sure that managers know that you should always be recruiting. Don’t wait until you have a vacancy to fill the position. You should be proactive in this process and look internally and externally. So who do you want on your team? Who can you work with to build a strong wealth performing team because you’ll be working hand-in-hand with HR and it’s important that you help identify the talent as well. So one of the things that we do in this class is we look at recruiting and identifying talent using social media for you know three major areas recruitment engagement and retention of employees. So right now research is telling us the 50% of candidates say they wouldn’t work for an employer with a bad reputation. 62% of candidates will be researching their employers on social media before applying. So when you think about these things, you realize that managers have to be looking at recruitment in a different way or developing talent in a different way. So how you recruit, how you engage. You need to be doing that utilizing technology and social media. So we cover that in this class. We also want to make sure that managers know their organization’s brand and you’ve got to be able to effectively answer, are you an employer of choice? You know you’ve got to really have a great answer for this and then you know why should a candidate work for you? Oftentimes they’re looking at the manager to help them with growth and help them with development and providing them with meaningful assignments. So you know, are you that manager there? Not only should you be looking externally for talent but do you have in talent internally to fill these vacancies and so one of the things that we cover is conducting a skills inventory. We also look at succession planning and then you know, we kind of laugh in this class because we talk about how you know identifying talent internally oftentimes similar to the NFL or NBA Draft or you’re trying to draft people for your team and make sure that you have a winning season. So we try to say always be recruiting. Always be looking internally, externally and then hopefully you’ll gain the knowledge and practical application in this class to to be able to develop the right talent that you need as a manager for your for your department.

AILI: Very valid points. Thank you so much. I think we forget those of us who have been employed or in in the business world or public sector for a long time the impact really that social media has had. There was a time when you know sending in a resume and attaching it to an email to apply for a position was considered cutting-edge and now people are applying for positions on LinkedIn. And so it behooves the manager to really be aware of that as well.

ROBIN: Absolutely. What’s interesting too is that you will see candidates and if you think about it you know I do it when I’m looking at places as well you know. If I want to take them on as a client you look at their social media thread and you find you try to look to see, are they engaging their employees? Are they spotlighting their employees who have you know recent certificates or they have done something engaging in the community you know. How is team building going on? What is the culture like? Is there is there a positive response from the employees? So you look at those types of things and that all goes towards the recruitment process.

AILI: Exactly and perception is everything. Isn’t it true social media is a valuable tool for employers and also for finding employees who are going to be motivated and who are going to care about the work that they do. Absolutely. So let’s talk about the course specifically why is this course valuable for a city manager and how would it help them retain their talent and obviously city manager is not the only position out there, but we’re just using that as an example.

ROBIN: Yeah absolutely. So when you think about it I always share with individuals that recruitment, retention, engagement. Those are not solely HR functions. It is the manager you know as I mentioned earlier when we started this session. The full lifecycle of employees depend upon the manager, so for a city manager, you know you really need to be looking at how do you engage well. How do you retain? How are you developing your culture? How are you motivating, rewarding, recognizing employees? How are you staying compliant with the various employment laws? You know, are you handling your labor relations in a proper manner? Do you know how to process grievances? If you know if that’s something that you know if you’re unionized workforce. We also share that you know are you doing everything you can to make sure that you keep your people and do you even know what motivates individuals and if you think about it the top three reasons that people leave you know and this is important when you’re trying to retain talent but the top three reasons: culture and work environment is number one. The relationship with a manager, so you know that’s important that you’re developing your skill sets internally and you’re working with your employees and then board and challenging work assignments. All three of these reasons really hinge upon the managers performance. So it’s absolutely important and valuable for a city manager or any manager or leader to understand the importance of retaining talent.. AILI: Very good point so everyone as I was pointing out to you earlier on in the coursework slides that we were referring to. You saw of course classes there that also refer to leadership and so that in combination with the HR class can really make you a more fully fleshed out leader and able to accomplish the things that are going to be good for your company as far as retention is concerned. So keep that in mind when you’re looking at the program and how the whole collection of twelve classes that we chose for the MPA really work together to make you a better leader with sufficient human resources smarts to be able to really be impactful to the people that you’re going to lead. So let’s talk about diversity and inclusion rules and compliance with regulations for example with the ADA the Americans with Disabilities Act.

ROBIN: So that’s a great area to discuss so one of my favorite quotes on diversity and inclusion I feel this really captures it because a lot of times I find students think that diversity and inclusion are the same thing and they’re not. So the quote that I share is “Diversity is being invited to the party, but inclusion is being asked to dance” and it’s a pretty powerful statement if you think about it. It’s not enough just to make sure that you you know have a good number of females or african-americans or disabled or military veterans. You really need to make sure that they are engaged and you are including them in the promotional process and training and development in mentoring and you know various areas so diversity is looking at who’s on your team. Who’s being recruited and who’s being promoted and then if we look at inclusion, it’s the types of behaviors that you have. So are you welcoming? Are you embracing diversity? Are you creating an environment where we all have an opportunity to interact with different people and then thrive and succeed. So that’s pretty key when it comes to diversity and inclusion and you know you think about it we have a tendency to identify and associate with people ourselves. Now you go to school with individuals similar to yourselves. You you go into a workplace you know and you sometimes forget that by having different points of view or different upbringing. You know diversity can really shake up our norms and our challenges. It can create new conversations and help us become more creative and productive especially as a team or as a workplace. So you mentioned ADA which is the Americans with Disabilities Act and that’s a great example because when it passed managers were fearful about how are you going to be able to include somebody disabled in the workplace. How you know how will they be able to do the work in the same manner and you know we saw some negative in the very beginning but what we’ve also seen is that by providing accommodations and being inclusive and welcoming to individuals with disabilities we’re also seeing new solutions and problems being solved in a different way and we’re seeing you know a positive impact on the workplace. So with this class we take a deep dive into taking a critical look at how managers can create a diverse and inclusive environment. We look at workplace culture. We look at training opportunities and what you can do as a manager leading by example. We look at recruitment, onboarding, mentoring and performance objectives because all of those play into creating a diverse and inclusive workplace and all of those items are very key for managers in their day to day style of management.

AILI: Very good point. Thank you. I also feel like it’s important for managers to really understand on that diversity as you mentioned it’s not just about male or female or straight or LGBTQ or national origin or language differences. It is also our abilities for that matter. It is also about diversity of thought as well right and being open to different ways to approach a problem and resolve it and this is why I feel that the the teamwork as a manager who is not typically working in HR understanding HR and rules and regulations and the benefits of diversity and inclusion can be then a better leader and create stronger teams while managing to stay within the rules and the regulations that they have to stay in. Don’t you agree with that?

ROBIN: Absolutely and it sounds like you’ve taken my class already.

AILI: Very good. Thank you so much. So let’s talk about this knowledge helping our MPA students in the real world and how it pertains specifically to talent acquisition and management.

ROBIN: So in this class we begin the the first session on covering the 27 key employment and labor laws that you have to you know identify with or or utilize in the management of employees. We cover the Fair Labor Standards Act which one of the things we talk about is today’s discussion or at least you know the last two years worth of discussion on what’s a good standard to be set for overtime accrual and it’s a very hot topic right now with the Department of Labor. We look at Family and Medical Leave Act and how managers can better address leave requests and also stay compliant with individuals who are requesting time off. We take a look at the ADA and how to respond to requests for accommodations. We thoroughly cover non-discrimination and anti harassment concerns including the Civil Rights Act the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act is getting a lot of buzz on both the federal and the state level. We look at age discrimination and Employment Act which is interesting because nearly 50% of the public sector workforce is over the age of 40. We look at the uniformed services employment reemployment Rights Act which protects military veterans and how to handle individuals who are called up as well as coming back in and that’s important to managers because it’s going to result in a vacancy and and then you also want to make sure that transition is appropriate. We look at the manager’s responsibilities under the public employment risk reduction act. If you’re a public manager and the Occupational Safety and Health Act or OSHA. If you’re a nonprofit manager will cover Labor Relations by learning about the National Labor Relations Act which is the private sector version and Ohio’s collective bargaining law which is for public sector managers and one of the things that I find that students do enjoy is that I am well versed in the nuances and differences of public sector, private sector and nonprofit. So I can bridge that gap and make sure that everybody is learning what’s applicable to them as we focus on each of the walls. The real world focus in this class is that we make sure that we address technology because that’s very current and how that impacts the HR side of management. And what I mean by that is you know what a managers need to know about artificial intelligence because that’s being used more and more for screening candidates. We look at how we can utilize virtual reality and the use of employee training and that’s fascinating with how it’s almost limitless in helping employees be able to see things that they wouldn’t normally get to experience. We look at how we’re starting to see robots serving on workplace teams and how is that going to affect the dynamics of the workplace. Autonomous vehicles are now starting to become you know conversation and a reality. So how would we handle that as part of our fleet and then what happens if someone’s involved in an accident you know. How do you go about the disciplinary process. We look at facial recognition and how that may impact transgendered employees and then also we look at religious and privacy objections that might actually come out under technological advances and how that impacts managers who are required to address those types of HR issues. We also give real-world examples to employer branding and how managers can attract engage and retain you know as far as real-world application goes. We make sure that you walk away knowing how you can improve your workplace when it comes to diversity and inclusion so we don’t just cover the academic side but we truly take a critical look at your management style and how you can make a meaningful impact in the workplace and then the last two modules that we cover focus on developing our managers to lead from a strategic big-picture perspective. So we want to make sure that you know not only are you capturing all that you can from the human resource side from talent acquisition the recruitment and selection process but engaging your employees retaining your employees but we also want to make sure that you are growing as well as a manager because you know that’s a key component of HR as well. AILI: Very good. Thank you so much if feels like this a class that when I have said to nonprofit managers who are choosing on specialization to also take I was totally ready to recommend that because there is such a wide variety of information being shared and especially true for nonprofit managers who end up wearing a lot of hats. I myself have been a nonprofit previously and you end up wearing you know we used to tease each other about being our job description program director / chief bottle-washer. So this class can be really really important for them as well and I am going to make sure everybody else shares that that they have the encouragement non profit manager specialization individuals to also take your class. I think it’s very, very valuable. Thank you so much for that. I see that we have a couple of questions or two so I’m going to run through these next couple of slides quickly, so we can try to give you as much time back in your lunch hour everyone. So let’s talk about what sets us apart so as you’ve heard we have a very focused curriculum. That’s going to be something that is really valuable for you. There is no campus residency or capstone. The classes are all taught asynchronously and deadlines driven so that’s going to mean it’s going to help you focus when you need to focus and do the work so long as you are turning in your assignments prior to their given deadline date and time. You’ll have a strong support system throughout the entire program we are also one of the only the only public service school in the U.S. that partners with a College of Business on a center for Entrepreneurship something that Voinnovich is very proud of and we are a very well recognized program. We’ve earned the number 12 spot in on the 2019 rankings of best online colleges offering MPA programs. So something that we are really proud of there.

So let’s address quickly those those questions and then we will talk a little bit more about deadlines and additional information and contact info. So one of the first questions that I thought popped in I found very interesting and Robin it’s for you and it’s regarding the age discrimination and Employment Act and the question says it seems interviewers interviewers excuse me are asking older candidates more often than ever before how they are keeping up with technology. Now that seems to me to be one of those questions that probably run that walk right up to that line of being not right to ask. Expound on that a little bit more for us as far as the age discrimination and Employment Act is concerned.

ROBIN: That is a really great question, so let’s see under ADA you do have to be careful that you aren’t trying to single out or make it look like it’s an age based question. Like you know you look older are you keeping up? What I usually try to do is have the interviewing manager tie all their questions to job-related criteria, so if you are required to maybe do pivot tables in Excel then absolutely ask about that but be pointed and make sure you can tie it back to a duty that’s being performed. It is a very touchy and it would be walking on that fine line and you don’t want to come across as if you are you know having that innuendo of you look older or you are older and we want to make sure that you are keeping up with technology. I do encourage managers to ask the question how do you stay current in your field. So that’s a neat that’s a better way of staying broad so if you’re interviewing somebody who’s in Social Work, somebody who’s in finance, somebody who’s in HR or you know somebody who is working in your your services your street and service department you want to ask them how are they staying current in their field because that’s something you would ask of anybody because you want somebody who’s a continuous learner but when you do tie it to technology it does have that that makes you pause moment of is that age related that they’re asking or is that a legitimate question. So if it is a legitimate question tie it back to a job duty or a qualification that you need for that position.

AILI: Very good. Thank you so much. So a couple of other questions that I see here have to do with a little bit more detailed information about Summer semester deadlines and Fall semester deadlines. So let me quickly answer those for you Summer semester classes will start on May 13th. Application deadline will be the first week of April. However the priority deadline is March the 29th. I will tell you the following the faster you get started on your application and submit it, the faster you can get your decision back from the admissions committee and then get everything in line so you can get started with your classes and be ready to go on May 13th. The same will also apply then for Fall semester. Fall semester classes will start late August. The application deadlines for that will be the beginning of July. I always recommend much earlier for Fall semester. As you all know Fall semester is what we traditionally know as the start of school throughout our years here in the U.S. and so for us that is that what that means is that there are going to be a larger number of applicants at any given time during the recruitment cycle for Fall semester. So the faster you start your application and the faster you submit it, the quicker you’ll get an answer applies even more strongly to Fall semester. If you have any additional more in-depth questions about needing the application link reach out to your advisor or to the general information lines and links that you’re going to see here very very shortly and make sure that you get answers to those questions.

How long does it take to get an application reviewed and get a decision?Very good generally speaking a about two weeks total or ten working days once the application is complete. Now the application being complete means that all of your transcripts from all institutions attended are in. Your statement of purpose is there. Your updated resume is there. Your three letters of recommendation has been received and any additional documents that you are wanting to be a part of your application are there in their entirety. Then the committee and the program director will review and generally speaking your enrollment advisor will be the one that reaches out to you with that decision about ten days. So we’re going to leave all other questions to be answered later on please input your question it’ll be a part of the recording that is sent to me, so that we can respond to those. So I can give you back a little bit more time in your day. Here are the reminders about the deadlines and the phone number to reach out to us. Thank you so much Robin for joining us today it was very, very informational. We appreciate it very much. Thank you enjoy the rest of your day everyone and the rest of your lunch hour. Thank you