Reimagining Local Government: A Guide to Organizational Analysis
What services will local government organizations need (not just want) to provide in the future? An organizational analysis can drill down into the current services offered with the associated service delivery expectations organization-wide. Based on the direction of the local government regarding what services will continue to be offered and at what levels, a comprehensive analysis can be conducted, and an implementation plan can be developed. An organizational analysis will take into account the financial impacts of various scenarios and could provide different options for local governments to consider, including staffing levels and configurations.
Suggested Components of Organizational Analysis
1. Financial Projection Review – Revenue shortfalls and expense pressures, both short and long-term will have a significant impact on local government service delivery. Not all local governments have the resources to develop one-year and five-year financial models. Developing a baseline model to understand the financial pressures facing the community is a necessary first step when conducting an organizational analysis.
2. Service Delivery Expectations – Using surveys through a variety of forums, engage local government officials, staff, residents, and other stakeholders to determine the appetite for service delivery level changes. Well-constructed surveys can measure tolerance for changes in particular service areas, and can include such items as reducing services, combining services, redeploying personnel and/or assets, and reducing hours services are available to the public in person.
3. Succession Planning – By understanding upcoming staffing needs that will be created through attrition, local governments can consider alternative staffing models to fill those needs. Further, depending on the anticipated staffing needs regionally, two or more local governments can consider working together to fill positions and share in the costs to retain employees.
4. Mission Critical Positions – Determining the types of positions that should remain permanent local government employees is a consideration for the future. The use of alternative staffing models can be explored to determine the best combination that will take into account work expectations, from the perspectives of employers and employees, while ensuring efficiencies and savings for local governments. Examples include: Temporary or Interim Employees; Seasonal Employees; Outsourced Employees; Mentors; Job Share Employees; and Project Specific Employees.
5. Alternative Service Delivery – Some local governments have outsourced services, consolidated services with other entities and the like. Exploring alternatives to offering services, including the financial implications, may be beneficial. Examples include the previously mentioned in addition to regionalization, consolidation, insourcing and virtual service delivery.
6. Human Resources Best Practices – A comprehensive look human resources functions to adopt best practices can occur after service delivery expectations are established. The following areas can be explored:
- Staffing Analysis – A comparative analysis of staffing levels with other communities can be considered, including the number of staff and work performed.
- Remote Work – By allowing some employees to work remotely, all or some of the time, local governments can have a positive impact on the environment as fewer employees will be commuting to work on a daily basis. Further, office space can be reconfigured to allow for shared office spaces, potentially reducing the amount of space needed to perform work or to accommodate social distancing requirements. Finally, if local governments can reconfigure office space as a result of implementing remote work practices, space may become available to rent to other entities, such as other units of government or non-profits, which may in turn help with their bottom lines.
- On-site Work Environment and Staff Safety – It is likely there will need to be a reorganization of private workspaces and public areas in local government buildings. It is also likely that employees will require personal protective equipment as they start to engage with the public again. Transitioning back to work may be difficult for some employees due to their personal health situations and those who return to work will find different on-site work environments. Employers will have to take steps to protect employees and deal with issues as they relate to employee health. There may be costs associated with these changes.
- Updated Personnel Manuals and Job Descriptions – Bringing outdated manuals up to date and including new policies to address remote work and employee safety will be necessary. Polices include remote work requirements, flexible scheduling, job sharing, benefits and employee safety.
- Supervision – Training and tools for remote supervision, such as establishing work product expectations, performance appraisals, communication practices and expectations, will be necessary to ensure employee engagement and ongoing productivity.
7. Communications Plan – If service delivery changes are made, a plan to communicate those changes with the public will be necessary and expected. Developing a communications plan to share information, through a variety of forums, will help ensure the spirit of transparency and the acceptance of any service delivery changes.
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