Whether you are in Victoria, or interstate, the Victorian lockdown crisis is something that we are all familiar with at this point.
I wanted to avoid engaging an emotional “op-ed narrative” for this piece.
The various news networks, and political commentators across the nation have that covered!
But whether you are supportive of or opposed to the current approach to pandemic management in Victoria, I do not think that anyone can ignore the crippling gravity of Victorians’ plight in these difficult times.
The Premier’s address on Sunday confirmed further restrictions in varying degrees across Metropolitan Melbourne and the state of Victoria at large and Victorians came face to face with a devastating reality: We may be in lockdown in one form or another for the rest of the year.
To say it has had a polarising effect so far, is to put it mildly.
As many of us know already, a significant component of my role here at Global Vision, is to act as a trusted liaison to all our council partners across the country. I have spent many an afternoon with many of you discussing organisational struggles, your short-term concerns, and your long-term plans, even your personal experiences as we have navigated these confusing times together.
My role affords me a unique opportunity to keep my finger on the pulse of the sector at large. The opportunity to comprehend the emotional and procedural struggles of Learning and Development leaders at the helm of Australian local government. Through good times, and bad.
And a consequence of this experience is being able to pick up great examples from time to time on how a lot of L&D leaders in Local Government are adding value to their Councils during times of crises.
I wanted to share some lessons I have learnt this year, from these unwitting (and sometimes unappreciated) heroes.
Compassion: We are still dealing with staff performance issues, and with colleagues breaking down over a zoom calls. We still struggle to upload learning records manually into HRISes because there is no budget allocated for an integrated LMS. We confront any number of things as HR professionals every day, and the one commonality among all great HR professionals who continue to add value to their teams day in and day out, is compassion.
I have heard some heart-warming stories from passionate professionals about how a bit of compassion during times of crises have elevated staff morale and productivity as we all deal with this new normal. They were not seeking recognition. They genuinely cared, despite their own struggles.
Innovation: I was deeply impressed by the level of initiative HR professionals in Local Government have shown in recent times in terms of coming up with innovative new ways of doing things when conventional methods were no longer an option. A great example would be one of our council partners coming up with a very creative new way of getting their outdoor and mobile workers online. (More on that, in our “LG Online outdoors” national campaign). Some of the best and brightest, have used this opportunity to truly look outside the box and come up with unique ways to deliver education and training over these past few months.
In James Surowiecki’s 2004 book “The Wisdom of Crowds” he cautions about situations when the crowd makes poor decisions, arguing that their reasoning or cooperation failed as members were overly conscious of others’ opinions.
In my experience, working with Local Government these past few months, I have felt inspired by how many HR professionals moved away from the crowd mentality, and have taken bold, innovative steps without any fear of appearing unconventional and championed creative new campaigns.
Foresight: I have had many HR professionals reach out to me wanting to brainstorm ideas on collaborative learning. Ideas that will assist in keeping a significantly inactive workforce motivated and engaged using eLearning strategies (especially in Victoria) during these past few months.
Inertia can be a debilitating force which can leave people stripped of momentum, self-confidence, and passion.
I applaud the HR leaders out there in Local Government who have had the foresight to commit to pre-preemptive strategies to assist in keeping inactive workers engaged and warm so that when time comes for them to resume a BAU phase, they won’t skip a beat transitioning back into their roles.
In the end, when it’s all said and done, we will eventually return to some form of “Normal”.
The journey from March to September may have been wrought with disruption and heartaches, and it may be some time longer before we all come out of this and fully recover, but we should be proud of ourselves and how we have banded together and taken care of each other.
And look on the bright side: It’s Spring! (Crept out of nowhere!)
I hope you will all take time out of your schedules to take in some sun (albeit, during allotted exercise times!) and create some precious memories with your loved ones.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support, partnership, and counsel.
I am always a phone call away if you ever need to reach out.