Building Empathy To Address Critical Talent Gaps

organizational empathy

Talent challenges continue to be a priority for most agencies across the federal government. Frequent turnover, hard to fill roles, and shortages in mission-critical skill sets are all too common in most federal agencies.

There are countless strategies and approaches agency leaders can, and have, tried to address these complex challenges. But, building organizational empathy may be just the tool HR leaders need to make a near term impact.

Building organizational empathy is a strategic element for organizations trying to hire and retain top talent in an increasingly tight labor market. Research by the benefits technology firm, Business Solver in their State of Workplace Empathy report reveals that empathy is a key driver of retention, motivation, and productivity. More than 90% of employees surveyed indicated they were more likely to stay with an empathetic employer. In fact, respondents were even willing to trade off hours and pay in favor of increased empathy.

In an increasingly competitive talent environment, building a culture of empathy should be a key part of the people strategy in all organizations.

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Why I’m Taking a Day Off From Being Busy – And You Should Too

For the past 12 years since my family relocated to Northern Virginia, I’ve talked to my dad at least once a week on the phone. I’ve noticed over the past few weeks, though, that our conversations have evolved into a pretty familiar pattern. One that around various versions of one question: “What’s keeping you busy these days?” Of course, I’ve always got a list – starting new projects at work or at home, scrambling to get the next proposal in or find the next client, preparing for the sale of our house, or any other number of to-do’s whether large or small. Even my dad who’s been retired for the past five or so years also seems to always be busy. This phenomenon certainly isn’t unique to me and my dad.

The Culture of Being Busy
A few years ago the Atlantic published an article asserting that “Ugh, I’m so busy” has become the status symbol of our time. And in 2018, sociologist Anna Akbari’s Psychology Today article challenged readers to define their success not by their lack of time, but by the quality time they dedicated to the people and things that they loved. It seems our culture has come to embrace busyness over all else. The idea is that to be successful and happy we need to constantly have schedules filled to the brim. That being important means battling multiple conflicting priorities. Or that productivity means just having too much on our plate to possibly fit in one more thing.

And I think I’ve taken the bait, hook, line, and sinker. I pursue hobbies with such zeal that they look more like vocations. And I work so hard to provide my kids with opportunities, experiences, and activities that I stay busy keeping them busy. But at the end of the day, I don’t think I’m any more productive, significantly happier or more well off because of how busy I’ve become. Nor do I think any of the other folks I encounter who are constantly busy are any of these things either.

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Gotham Government Services Acquires Assets of Abrams Learning & Information Systems

 

Gotham Government Services LLC (GGS), a Virginia SDVOSB, will acquire all assets of Abrams Learning & Information Systems (ALIS).  GGS, under the leadership of Chris Cancialosi, will continue providing learning and performance improvement services to clients at the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), Army Futures Command (AFC), and other Federal clients.

ALIS was founded in 2004 by President and Chief Executive Officer General (Ret) John Abrams. The company provides government and business clients with solutions and services in workforce development, strategic planning, change management, program management, exercise support, and executive and management education.

GGS was created as a partnership between, gothamCulture, a New York based SDVOSB organizational culture firm, and a long-standing federally focused training company and will continue to serve all geographic markets and contracts that ALIS currently serves.

“We are honored to bring on the ALIS teams that are providing analysis support to AFC and training development support at VBA,” said Chris Cancialosi, Founder and Managing Partner of GGS and the company’s parent firm gothamCulture.  “As a former armor officer, the opportunity to honor the Abrams legacy is of great importance to me. As a veteran, continuing to support our former and current Warfighters is a deeply personal mission. And adding the ALIS team to gothamCulture’s core capabilities in organizational culture, leadership development, and people strategy offers these and other clients new avenues for supporting their mission objectives.”

“As the Founder and CEO of ALIS, my father’s focus was always on doing great work, making a difference, and taking care of our ALIS family,” said Elizabeth Abrams Bauernshub, Vice President of Abrams Learning & Information Systems, Inc.  “With our shared core values, Gotham Government Services is the right company to lead ALIS’s work into this next chapter, which brings growth and opportunity for both our clients and our employees.”


Gotham Government Services is a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia. We provide government and business clients with solutions and services in workforce development, strategic planning, change management, program management, exercise support, and executive and management education. As a recognized leader in our field, we have worked with clients in government, academia, and private organizations to address their critical needs and meet their goals for the future. For more information visit www.gothamgovernment.com.

Managing Military Millennials

Managing Military Millennials

Let’s face it: Millennials and Generation Z are taking over. They account for more of the talent pool every year and, as every organization should know, they are motivated differently than previous generations.

Unfortunately, many senior leaders in the business world don’t understand what younger team members value and how to get the most out of their younger professionals. This causes high turnover rates, more expensive employee retention efforts and less pro-organizational behavior. Some perceive the frequent job switching of Millennials and Gen-Zs as irrational or impulsive, but many times they simply lack leaders who can adequately motivate and challenge them.

Ironically, one of the world’s most rigidly bureaucratic organizations – the United States Military – discovered effective ways to motivate Gen Z. The US military is at the forefront of understanding younger generations because it hires, onboards and trains more than 150,000 young people from all over the country every year. Their leadership has helped maintain an unparalleled force of readiness and provides several lessons for civilian leaders of every organization.

Military leaders seek to understand their people, learn what they value and use their talents to accomplish missions. After briefly considering what makes Gen Z different, we’ll explore organizational and individual approaches the military uses to effectively motivate Gen Z and provide a few concrete examples that business leaders can emulate. Read More…

Focusing On Customer Experience Is No Longer Optional

Customer Experience

Ready or not, the customer experience (CX) game is on. No matter what size or industry you may play in, you are now competing based on the experience you provide to your customers. Government agencies, this applies to you as well. So, if you’re not thinking that customer experience is something that you need to be concerning yourself with, you may be digging your organization into a hole that you may not be able to climb out of.

Why has CX become such a fundamental component of brand success?

While certain brands that have understood the power of the customer experience for many years and have continued to refine their CX delivery in new and profitable ways, the notion that all organizations need to consider the experience that they provide to their customers as a competitive driver has really only become something of note over the last decade. One primary reason for this is due to the great leaps and continuous improvements that these CX leaders make to their customer experiences which continue to raise customer expectations.

Brands like Amazon, Apple, and even Uber Eats have provided customers with the ability to engage in experiences that are designed around their specific needs and wants- and they like it. As expectations around experiences evolve those brands that are unable to deliver will undoubtedly lose the affection of their customers. This reality creates the need for organizations in all sectors and industries and of all sizes to ask themselves what they are doing to both understand what their customers want and need and what steps are they taking to be able to evolve their experiences to deliver on those expectations. Read More…

How Government Leaders Can Stay Ahead of Security Threats

government leaders security threats

Since 9-11, there have been 156 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, according to data from newamerica.org. And though our country is safer today due to enhanced security measures, new threats arise every day.

Rapidly evolving technology only underscores this critical need to stay ahead of the curve. Gartner estimates cyber security spending will top $113 billion by 2020, and that number will continue to climb.

But, ‘staying ahead of the curve’ is a big challenge when dealing with safety and security in an unpredictable environment. And few people understand this better than Mike O’Neil, a 22- year veteran of the New York City Police Department and the first Commanding Officer of the NYPD Counterterrorism Division.

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8 Foundational Leadership Lessons From an Air Force Veteran Turned CEO

air force leadership lessons

There are very few leadership transitions like being a newly commissioned officer in the military.

Typically, on graduation day from a military academy, ROTC program or Officer Candidate School program, young men and women in their twenties pin on second lieutenant bars and immediately find themselves in charge of huge teams and millions of dollars of equipment in one of the harshest working environments imaginable.

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5 Ways To Make Infrastructure Planning More Manageable

5 Ways To Make Infrastructure Planning More Manageable

It’s no secret that infrastructure in the United States is in disrepair. One recent study found about 60,000 U.S. bridges are structurally deficient, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It seems like everywhere we look, things are falling down around us.

These issues will only become more pressing as populations grow. According to UNICEF, about 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050. That urban growth means our need for dependable, efficient infrastructure is also on the rise.

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5 Steps to Successfully Implement Organizational Change

5 steps to successfully implement organizational change

The Government Accountability Office recently reported that the pilot program for the DATA Act, passed in 2014 to increase savings and transparency in federal spending, is still not up and running.

The pilot program had not yet specified a methodology or data to be collected, and its outcomes are unlikely to be scalable. To avoid missteps like these, federal agencies need a change management strategy that involves gathering evidence, meticulously outlining goals, and testing iteratively.

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