The County’s NaCo Award Winning Employee Academy connects employees with one another and gives them rare insight into the behind-the-scenes operations of myriad county departments. Each session includes tours of three different sites, meeting for two hours every other week. In keeping with the County Manager’s vision of “leadership at all levels” of the organization, tours are conducted by employees in diverse roles within each department. Cohort groups of up to 15 employees tour the three sites together, giving them time to learn about the divisions and also to get to know one another and enlarge their professional networks.
Twenty-one different sites have been included in seven academy sessions so far, with more planned for the future. Just a few departments/divisions that have participated are the Libbie Mill Library Media Center, Water Reclamation Facility, Police 911, Three Lakes Nature Center the Public Works sign shop, and James River Juvenile Detention Center. Another new session is being offered for the FY19/20 training year which will include Community Corrections, Advocate for the Aging and Information Technology.
Participant response has been overwhelmingly positive. With the program going into its fifth year, it’s reputation is spreading and demand is high. The impact on participants has been profound. In post-session surveys, they have revealed that they now understand not only how other departments work, but how their own department fits into the county as a whole. They have also created robust professional networks and have increased their own engagement – and excitement – as Henrico County employees. Some direct quotes from participants include:
- Learning about the different departments helps me understand what happens to make the county great.
- I learned how departments work together to help Henrico County citizens and I’m better able to refer my clients to resources in other County agencies. It also gave me a greater appreciation of the work, stresses, and pride that other county employees encounter.
- I loved learning about the different aspects of a division (there were many, many things that I didn’t know). We may have an idea about what a department does, but truly seeing the departments and getting an explanation helps it all make sense. It shows how the county is integrated into one entity to help serve the customers of Henrico.
- Networking with different people throughout the county was tremendously beneficial.
- I have learned so much more about other departments, how they do things, the scope of what they do, and the collaboration that’s going on between different departments.
For more information about the Employee Academy and other classes being offered for FY19/20, check out the training calendar of classes at https://employees.henrico.us/pdfs/oltd/classroom/oltd_calendar.pdf