National Career Development Month: Take Charge of Your Career

Have you thought about your career lately? Well, now is the time! November is National Career Development Month, so whether you’re currently working on your career goals or it’s been a while since you reviewed your resume, now is the perfect time to focus on your career path and aspirations.


Career development for people at all stages of their professional journeys is the purpose of National Career Development Month. It’s a reminder of the importance of taking charge of your own career and professional growth to increase your job satisfaction and fulfillment. Henrico County supports this mission through our HR Career Resources Program, where you can find tools, resources, and personalized guidance to help you along your career journey.


There are many ways to invest in your career development. If you need ideas or inspiration to get started, here are some examples:


  • Self-reflection: Set some time aside to reflect on your current job and what you want to achieve in your career. Some questions you might ask yourself include:
    • Am I happy with my current role?
    • Do I already have a career path in mind or am I struggling with direction?
    • What are my interests?
    • What kinds of tasks and projects do I love doing? How can I fit them into my career?


  • Career coaching and assessments: If you’re not sure which career is the best choice for you, there are assessments that can help you match your skills and interests with a variety of jobs. Many qualified career counselors or coaches can administer and interpret these assessments to help you discover your ideal job fit.


  • Researching different jobs and careers: Another way to find the job or field that interests you is to do some research to get a better understanding of the knowledge and skills that are needed. Reviewing job descriptions, classifications, or postings will provide specific information, and websites like O*Net OnLine allow you to research careers using criteria like interest, abilities, and work values.


  • Informational interviewing: One of the best ways to find out what an occupation is really like is to have a conversation with someone who does the job. This is known as an informational interview, and it’s a great opportunity to get a more realistic idea about the job or career and what key skills and abilities are needed. You can view our informational interviewing video to learn more about how to conduct one.


  • Creating a career plan: Once you have decided on the job or career you want to pursue, devise an action plan to identify your goals and outline steps to reach them. Include short and long-term goals, action items, deadlines, and support/resources (people, finances, organizations, etc.) in your plan. Check with your department to see if they have their own career development plans or equivalent resources for employees, or use the Individual Learning Plan created by the Human Resources Department.


Discuss your career plan with your supervisor. While they can help you chart a course toward your goals, it’s up to you to start the conversation and make things happen. 


  • Getting the skills/training/education you need: Identify the gaps between your current skills and those needed for the job you want. Then, determine what you need to do to acquire them. Can you learn these skills on the job? In a single class, such as Excel? Through more formal training and/or education? Through volunteer or other outside activities? OLTD offers a variety of learning opportunities and videos that can help you learn new skills. For leadership skill development, consider joining Leadership Henrico (LH)or the Emerging Leaders Certification Program (ELCP).


An excellent way to grow your skills on the job is to ask for stretch assignments. These are projects or tasks that are just beyond your current skill level or experience. If this isn’t an option, you may be able to do so in a volunteer position you hold in a civic organization in your community, giving you an opportunity to gain or practice key skills and helping organizations fill vital roles. For more ideas around on-the-job skill development, check out this Upskilling video.


If you need more formal training, like a certification or degree, check with your department to see if they offer specific classes or programs to help you fulfill this requirement. Henrico County also offers tuition reimbursement and education leave, so check with your department on what’s available to you. 


  • Building and keeping your network strong: Maintaining good relationships and building new ones is critical to career success. Your network should include contacts internal to your organization as well as outside it. Attend work and organization functions, OLTD classes or join programs such as LH or ELCP to build your internal network. Externally, reach out to former colleagues, join professional associations, and get active on professional online networks like LinkedIn.


  • Updating your resume and/or your LinkedIn profile: Don’t wait until you apply for a job to create or update your resume or LinkedIn profile. Update them regularly so they reflect your current role and accomplishments. If you need resume assistance, our HR Career Coaches can review your resume and provide recommendations. You can also get tips from our resume videos in the Career Development section of our HR YouTube page as well as find helpful articles and videos on our Career Development Resources page.


  • Brushing up on your interviewing skills: Many of us would agree that interviewing is stressful. Make sure you’re prepared to make a great impression on your interviewer by preparing and practicing ahead of time. That might mean preparing behavioral examples for potential interview questions, or practicing answering your prepared responses to interview questions with a friend, mentor, or career coach. Our Career Resources Program offers individualized interview preparation assistance as well as videos in the Career Development section of our HR YouTube page to help you prepare. You can also find helpful resources on our Career Development Resources page.

Taking charge of your career development has many benefits, including boosting your confidence, increasing your satisfaction with your career, and enhancing your value to an organization. Take advantage of National Career Development Month and the many resources Henrico has to offer to take your career to the next level.

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History in Focus

Note from the Editor:

This article references the “History in Focus” program hosted by the Department of Recreation and Parks in conjunction with two Human Resources Division: DEI and Organizational Learning and Talent Development (OLTD). The course catalog listed the following description: Each year, Henrico honors two very important dates in our nation’s history – Juneteenth and July 4th. Both represent America’s foundational values of freedom and equality. Do we celebrate our achievements or commemorate the beginning of an ongoing journey? Or can we do both? Knowing our history and the impact of events from the past is essential to understanding where we are today. As individuals with unique backgrounds, the more we acknowledge and embrace the diversity in our community, the more we progress as a society. Come join us for candid, interactive storytelling and discussion of this complex, trailblazing, and still relatively young country we all call home.


We were fortunate to host our first “History in Focus” program in March. It was quite the learning experience, and we, as facilitators, learned just as much from the attendees as we could provide them. The virtual program was very well attended and, from our perspective, a success! We were so pleased that the participants were eager for this information, and they brought up crucial points that we will incorporate into historical displays and programming moving forward. For some time now, our staff has wanted to share with co-workers and colleagues the rich insights that are found in our history, whether it is local, state, or national.

Since COVID, the extended work-from-home experience, and the period of social protest nationwide, the Division of Recreation and Parks history staff has searched for ways to use programming and dialog to help give our audiences perspective. When you can see from letters, photographs, and journals of 1918 just how deeply the Influenza Epidemic impacted Virginians, we as a community can take solace in the fact that “this too shall pass.” These words from a 13th-century Persian poet were used in a speech by President Abraham Lincoln at the close of the Civil War. History teaches us that the American journey has been and continues to be challenging and complex.

There are not always simple answers to issues we face as a society. For every story of our past that is recorded in history textbooks, there are multiple narratives that go largely unexplored and even less available to be taught in schools.

Our team believes that social and civic progress can be made through conversations about our total history, whether triumphant or tragic. Henrico County is full of stories about individuals, places, and events that have shaped our community’s growth and development and contributed to the history of the state and nation. Sharing the lesser-known stories about our collective heritage as Americans can teach us how others who don’t look like us have succeeded and endured. Our experiences shape us, and learning about the experience of others creates understanding and empathy. 

As public servants, we work daily to provide for the needs of our constituents whose life history and ancestry have shaped their worldviews. Regardless of the county division/department we represent, we must provide assistance without judgment. For those who look for historical equivalents in contemporary situations, we can see and take pride in our progress as a society. We can also see areas where we can do better. As students of history, we can also recognize essential elements of human nature that contribute to our survival. Adapting to the unexpected and the compassion to help those in need have been pervasive throughout history.

We look forward to the opportunity to participate in more classes to share the lessons of the past as we face the challenges of the future.

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Henrico’s New Capability Model: The Inclusion Capability

As a high-performing organization, Henrico County focuses on providing our employees with the resources and support needed to excel in our ever-changing work environment. The new Capability Model (shown below) is designed with this support in mind. You can learn more about the capabilities within it on Capability Model resource page.

To help you understand each of the seven individual capabilities within the model, the County Connection features a series of articles, each of which focuses on one of the capabilities. This article focuses on the capability of Inclusion. 


For an organization to thrive, all employees need to have a sense of belonging and feel valued for their individual contributions. As a result, these diverse and inclusive workforces are better at decision-making, innovation, and overall results. These results are due to elevated levels of engagement and motivation to produce high-quality work.  


Some may think of specific types of diversity such as race, ethnic background, gender, or sexual orientation. While these are certainly elements of diversity, there are many more to consider. A few examples include age, cultural background, religion, disability, language, education, personality type, and personal values. The Inclusion capability focuses on creating a sense of belonging for the entire diverse workforce. It is defined as “Acknowledging and showing appreciation for the individual differences, contributions, and talents of all team members, and strengthening employee confidence in their abilities.”


There are many ways for all employees in the workplace to help foster a sense of inclusion. Here are some examples:

  • Increase your self-awareness. Be mindful of how you express yourself with your colleagues. Ask yourself: How am I coming across to others at this moment? Do I appear open? Calm? Approachable? Am I intentional about getting to know my teammates?
  •  Welcome everyone’s input during meetings. Create an environment where employees feel empowered to share ideas without fear of rejection. Pay attention to whose voices you’re hearing and not hearing during meetings. Encourage, listen and be open to diverse views and opinions, and acknowledge them with respect. Send your agenda ahead of time to provide introverted employees time to contemplate the ideas they will share, and make time for them to connect offline with additional thoughts after the meeting.
  • When planning activities, consider your coworkers’ individual needs and circumstances. Are there elements of the activity or celebration that might make any of your colleagues uncomfortable? Your plans need to ensure everyone can attend and participate. 
  • Connect with others. It can be natural to gravitate toward people when we have things in common with them. Instead, challenge yourself to build connections with those who are different from you. A great way to do this is to attend one of Henrico County’s workshops on diversity and inclusion to engage in open dialogue. Share information about yourself and ask questions of others to learn more about them. 
  • Encourage involvement and participation. When leading others, involve employees in decisions and initiatives that impact their work. Ask for their opinions and input through informal discussions, meetings, focus groups, or surveys. Asking for the input of your diverse workforce leads to better decisions and more engaged employees.
  • Recognize and appreciate others. Acknowledge your team members individually for the unique value they bring to the workplace. Share with them how their specific contributions positively impact the workplace and the organization. 


Fostering inclusiveness maximizes the organization’s success and engagement of the employees by involving the diverse perspectives, ideas, knowledge, and approaches of every person. To find more examples of diversity and inclusion, view the “Psychological Safety: Fostering a Sense of Belonging” video and the “Voices of the Heart” video series on the HR YouTube page

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A Look Back at the First Year of Leadership Henrico

Leadership Henrico (LH), a brand-new leadership development program for Henrico County supervisors, launched last September and supervisors representing all levels of management and from a wide variety of departments jumped in to be part of it.

Throughout the year participants met with mentors, mentored others, attended leadership workshops, collaborated with one another, met to discuss their leadership challenges, and volunteered in the community.
This past May they celebrated completing Year 1 of the 4-year program. With honesty, humor, courage, and heart, they shared their successes, stories, and lessons learned. Here are just a few of their comments:

  • “I feel I’m learning so much. I love how we get together with other leaders. This is such a difference from other classes or leadership programs taken before.”
  • “I loved hearing different perspectives and how much we all connected: having long-lasting relationships with different people for life.”
  • “I am SO excited. I’ve had such a great experience and am looking forward to continuing next year.”
  • My mentor (a department head) was there for me, made time for me, even though she is very busy. We committed to keeping up our conversations in the future.”

Registration is now open for YOU to join the next class of LH!

The program is open to all supervisors of permanent full- or part-time employees, at all levels of the organization, including anyone who went through LDP. Check out LH Overview: What’s in It for YOU? for a brief overview of all 4 Years.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by! Registration occurs only once a year to ensure that a cohort of leaders can go through the program together. Attending the Kickoff is mandatory for joining LH.

Register NOW!

  • Leadership Henrico Year 1 Kickoff
  • September 14, 2022, 8:30-4:00, Henrico Training Center  
  • To register, log in to HRMS, go to Employee Direct Access > Learning, Learner Home > Browse Catalog > Human Resources > Specialized Training > Leadership Henrico Year 1 Kickoff 
  • Registration Deadline: August 10, 2022

If you have any questions, please contact Shari Bennett Speer (ben14/x7203), Kim Schenk (sch09/x7209), Nancy Outlaw (out/x7208), Rebecca Slough (slo/x7205), or Brett Hooks (Hoo011/x7210) in OLTD (Organizational Learning and Talent Development).

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Henrico’s New Capability Model: The Customer Engagement Capability

As we enter the new fiscal year, Henrico County has introduced a new Capability Model that replaces the County Competencies. This model is designed to help all employees focus on and develop the knowledge and skills to successfully lead and serve in a rapidly evolving workplace and community. View the model below or learn more about the seven capabilities on our resource page.

To help you better understand each of the seven capabilities integral to the model, the County Connection will feature a series of articles, each focusing on a different capability. This article focuses on Customer Engagement.

Providing exceptional service and positive interactions is at the heart of Henrico County’s mission and is a significant component of The Henrico Way. The Customer Engagement capability complements these initiatives and is defined as “Cultivating positive relationships with internal and external customers by proactively seeking customized solutions to increase satisfaction and build rapport.”

Our County employees have consistently modeled the Customer Engagement capability. While it’s always been a priority, customer engagement took on new meaning and importance with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some examples of this exceptional customer engagement before and during COVID-19 include:

  • County Departments automated and converted processes to electronic for citizens to continue to do business during COVID-19.
  • The IT Department converted systems and increased bandwidth within weeks to accommodate remote work due to COVID-19 restrictions while communicating with and educating employees on best practices for working remotely.
  • The creation of a call center to support citizens during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Nourish Henrico program was created to support local restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic by purchasing meals for first responders and other eligible frontline employees.
  • James River Juvenile Detention employees created a food pantry to help coworkers who lost income during COVID-19.
  • A DPU employee assisted a customer at the landfill even though he arrived before the dump was open for business. 
  • A Police officer responded to a citizen whose car broke down, pushed the car to safety, and stayed with her until the vehicle was repaired.
  • A Social Services employee reached out to multiple contacts beyond traditional resources to help a citizen in crisis.
  • Library employees implemented virtual story times for children during COVID-19.
  • DPU employees repaired a broken water service line even though the damage was in the customer-maintained portion of the water line. 
  • The Advocate for the Aging coordinated the removal of a rotten tree from a citizen’s property, even though it was outside the scope of her duties.
  • An Animal Protection officer spent multiple hours searching for a lost dog and continuously communicating with the dog’s owners until it was found and returned.

These examples show how County employees anticipated customers’ needs, both external and internal, and worked creatively to meet them. They went above and beyond expectations through transparent communication, making decisions, and, at times, adapting processes and procedures to ensure the best outcomes for their customers. 

Excellent customer engagement boosts our citizens’ confidence in our county government, enhances productivity, improves processes, expands services, and significantly contributes to our being a high-performing organization. To find more examples of exceptional customer engagement, view our “Who We Are: Leadership Lessons from COVID 19” video series on our OLTD YouTube page and the County’s Henrico Way web page.

For more information on the Capabilities, visit our resource page.

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Henrico’s New Capability Model: The Courage Capability

In our ongoing commitment to meet our workforce’s and residents’ ever-changing needs, Henrico County has implemented a new Capability Model beginning in the Fiscal Year 2022-2023. This model replaces the previous County Competencies and focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to successfully lead and serve in a rapidly evolving workplace and community. 

The Capability Model is modeled around seven capabilities, with many former competencies woven into it. 

The four capabilities outside the circle – Courage, Customer Engagement, Communication, and Inclusion – are foundational to success and create opportunities to excel in the three capabilities within the circle—Leading Self, Leading Others, and Leading the Organization. The seven capabilities promote “Future Readiness,” as you see in the circle’s center.  

You may be wondering how each of these capabilities is defined and how they apply to your role. To help you better understand, the County Connection will feature a series of articles focusing on a different capability each month. 

We’ll start with the Courage Capability.

While some may think of courage as bravely fighting battles or standing up for a person or belief, the model refers to a slightly different definition. For county purposes, it is defined as a “Willingness to navigate uncomfortable situations, adhere to vision and values, take action and initiative on new ideas, and question assumptions and processes to improve outcomes.” 

So, what might the Courage capability look like in the workplace? Here’s one example: 

A team is responsible for presenting important information to all employees. One team member recognizes a segment of information that could be potentially interpreted as questionable or even offensive by certain audience members and realizes this could harm the County’s credibility. This employee shows courage by respectfully approaching the team leader, sharing the potential negative impact of the information, and suggesting an alternative approach. 

In turn, the team leader demonstrates courage by being open to the teammate’s feedback, challenging their own assumptions of how this information could be perceived, asking for input regarding alternative solutions, and actively making changes to the presentation based on their conversation with the teammate.

In this example, both employees are stepping outside their comfort zones with the shared goal of success. The employee with the concern did not simply present the issue – they also proactively came up with a suggested solution. The team leader remained open, curious, and engaged in healthy dialogue with the teammate to explore solutions that would benefit the organization. 

You can find more examples of the Courage capability on our resource page.

Courage in the workplace fosters employee engagement, decision-making, problem-solving, and innovation. As the County transforms to meet current and future demands, courageous employees play a crucial role in our success.

For more information on the Capabilities, visit our resource page.

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New Ways to Learn and Lead: OLTD’s Leadership Programs and Learning Opportunities

As we emerge from the COVID crisis this summer, most of us are enjoying the beginnings of getting back to “normal.” Our social routines and work, turned upside down by COVID, may be beginning to normalize. Plus, as our kids return to the classroom this fall, we may be craving our own opportunities for learning and growth. Look no further than Organizational Learning and Talent Development (OLTD) for help!

OLTD is excited to be once again offering in-person learning in fiscal year (FY) 21/22, and in a variety of formats. We also have two leadership programs, including the brand-new Leadership Henrico (LH) program for supervisors, and the Emerging Leaders Certification Program (ELCP), specifically for non-supervisors.

Discover more about our leadership programs and learning opportunities here:

Leadership Henrico:

Registration is now open for our brand new Leadership Henrico (LH) program kicking off on September 29th! Designed for supervisors and replacing the Leadership Development Program (LDP), LH is a contemporary, agile new program open to all supervisors of permanent full- or part-time employees, at all levels of the organization, including anyone who participated in LDP.

There are four “Years,” or levels, in the program, and they include elements like:  

  • Networking: creating continuity of connection throughout the program 
  • Mentoringconversations that will change and adapt with your needs each Year  
  • Guidanceon how to support and grow your employees  
  • Collaborationwith other leaders from all backgrounds and positions 
  • Minimal paperwork: the focus is on experiences, conversation, learning, and giving back  

Check out LH Overview: What’s In It for YOU? for more information.

To register, log in to HRMS, go to Employee Direct Access > Learning, Learner Home > Browse Catalog > Human Resources > Specialized Training > Leadership Henrico Kickoff  

Registration Deadline: August 27, 2021.

Emerging Leaders Certification Program (ELCP):

Designed specifically for non-supervisors, the Emerging Leaders Certification Program (ELCP) provides the framework, tools, and experiences to strengthen leadership skills, self-awareness, and initiative and support leadership in any role. 

The four levels of the program focus on different leadership themes and feature:

  • Instructor-led leadership learning opportunities and experiences
  • Projects targeting different leadership themes
  • Discussion groups focusing on leadership topics
  • Individual and collaborative group reflections on learning and accomplishments

Please see our ELCP Program Overview for details. Application deadline: November 30, 2021

Training Classes: 

OLTD’s 2021-2022 Training Catalog is full of workshops that will be held in-person and also “live online,” so you can take advantage of either learning remotely or conversation and connection in a physical classroom setting.

Just a few of our new classes in FY 21/22 include:

  • Rediscovering Your Mojo: Life Post-Pandemic
  • Candid Conversations on Inclusion and Belonging
  • Immunity to Change: Overcoming Hidden Barriers
  • Communicating with Diplomacy and Professionalism
  • Think Again: Keeping Your Mind Flexible for Effective Leadership
  • Mindful Living: Building Resilience and Wellbeing

For a full listing of classes, check out our 2021-2022 Training Calendar and register in HRMS


When you need knowledge immediately, our just-in-time videos provide quick tips to help you gain the wisdom you need in real-time to succeed. You can access information on topics regarding Leadership/Professional Development, Management, Diversity and Inclusion, Wellness, and Working from Home—just to name a few—anywhere, anytime.

Learning Hub:

If you’re looking for additional resources beyond training classes and programs to add to your knowledge base, our Learning Hub is here to help! It’s your one-stop-shop for information on our leadership programs and learning opportunities. You’ll find resources for OLTD’s training workshops and leadership programs, along with helpful articles and videos to help you increase your expertise in a variety of areas.

OLTD is here for you to help you grow, develop, and succeed, whatever your role. Take advantage of the many opportunities we offer to gain knowledge, learn new skills, and grow and develop as a leader.

If you have questions about any of the above resources, contact OLTD at 501-7201 or [email protected].

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