The Developing Evolution of Human Resources in Government

Human Resources (HR) in government has always been complex. From very specific hiring criteria to security clearances to battling the stereotypes of government work, it's never been a task for the faint of heart. Then came a global pandemic. HR departments had to quickly pivot to serve a remote workforce and find ways to continue filling positions critical to the government response to COVID-19.

To meet the needs of a remote workforce, HR needed a clear understanding of every job function within the organization to help guide employees on how to adapt their processes to complete that work remotely. It also meant ensuring that employees had the technology they needed to complete their work at home. As new laptops and software were issued, HR and IT had to work together to distribute and track the flow of new technology. As if serving existing employees was not enough, agencies also had to continue recruiting and hiring.

It has not all been easy or smooth, but a Monster.com survey found that 100% of agencies reported they implemented new remote hiring processes. This included virtual onboarding, virtual interviews, electronic signatures, and virtual oath of office.

Beyond the immediate needs of transforming office workers into remote workers, government HR professionals have several other overarching challenges to contend with. Continue reading

Mixing Virtual and Real-World Experiences at Events

We've talked about the impact Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are having in government work, but the technologies also stand to make a huge difference in the events world. This opens up new possibilities for learning and interaction. Currently, VR is being introduced into events as entertainment -- an add-on experience to networking and gala dinners. AI is being used behind the scenes to expedite event logistics. Soon, both technologies will make their way further into events and change how attendees interact with the event and each other.

  • International Collaboration - Google is testing a new speech-to-speech translation technology, Translatotron, which would enable real-time translation at events. Through headsets, attendees would hear a close approximation of the speaker's voice in their selected language in near real-time. The AI translation can run as long as people are willing to talk and listen. Events could use this two-way communication technology for general session Q&A as well as one-on-one networking.
  • Accessibility - AI and VR are reimagining sign language interpretation. HoloHear uses Microsoft HoloLens goggles to show a signing virtual reality figure. This augmented reality helps the deaf maintain focus on the speaker, on-stage visuals, and the translator.
  • Training - While face-to-face interaction will continue to be a huge part of events and training, VR-led training is being introduced to tackle a number of more "challenging interpersonal scenarios" where in-person training might be uncomfortable.
  • More realistic experience - An event is a great place to get hands-on with a product, but it may not be the best place to truly experience a product. This article illustrates how using VR can put people in the ideal atmosphere. For example, the reaction someone may have to drinking an expensive champagne may be different if they are looking around a noisy tradeshow floor versus being immersed in a VR experience at a five-star restaurant. Building the right atmosphere for the initial product experience may lead to a better reception and reaction.

We'd love to hear from you! What are some applications of VR and AI you've seen at events? Share your thoughts in the comments. Visit GovEvents for more government events worldwide.

Meeting the Needs of the Federal Workforce

The U.S. Federal government is the single largest employer in the country (even just counting civilian employees, not military). With the size and scope of work involved in running our government programs, this community of over two million people is incredibly diverse, but there are some commonalities in terms of workforce challenges and concerns.

  • Automation - There is a real fear as digital initiatives become routine and administrative tasks are automated, machines will take over the work of humans. However, workforce and technology leaders have said over and over this is simply not the reality. Yes, certain tasks that people used to do will be handled by machines, but that shift frees up those same people to do other, more valuable work. The government is committed to "reskilling" the workforce to be able to rise to these new, more innately human tasks and, in turn, expect to see increased job satisfaction as people move from rote, mundane tasks, to activity that has a closer connection to the mission of the organization they work for.
  • Relocation - The military has grown accustomed to the BRAC process as bases are closed or their use changes to better support the realities of global defense. However, relocation is now a reality for the civilian workforce. With telework and remote workforces now better enabled, it is not as critical that all workers are located in Washington, DC. The government, including the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior, has been looking for ways to consolidate operations in areas that are more central to the constituents they serve and are in areas of the country with lower real estate prices and cost of living.
  • Stability - Once thought to be the most stable of jobs, recent spending impasses and resulting government shutdowns have left one in four government workers worried about the impact a shutdown would have on their life.

Continue reading

Putting the F-U-N back in Learning Fundamentals

We all know we should seek out training and growth opportunities and most of us truly want to grow and learn. However, the process of finding and participating in professional development can feel onerous and boring. Fortunately, this does not need to be the case. A simple shift in thinking can "spark joy" in the professional development process.

Find the Easy Button - Of course we're biased, but we like to think GovEvents is an easy button for finding training. We created this site to be a central hub for finding events applicable to growing careers and organizations in the government market. Use our search engine to narrow down your search by topic, location, continuing education credits, and more. Beyond us, reach out to your HR department. Those teams put in a lot of work developing in-house training and career development opportunities. Bottom line - tap into the research others have already done to find your perfect training match. Continue reading

Virtual Reality Prepares Federal Employees for Workforce Realities

With a focus on automation and digitization in government, there is a perceived fear that, just like the science fiction films and books warned, robots will take over our jobs (and potentially later, the world). The reality is that while some manual jobs will be "taken over" by machines, there is still a huge need for people to train and double check those technologies. In automating rote functions, we are letting machines do what they do best - quickly capture and compute data -- and freeing humans to do what they do best - make sense of the machine's outputs.

Government agencies are committed to training employees to reskill them into higher value jobs that allow them to not only keep their job, but elevate their skills and place in the organization. It is not surprising that technology will also play a big role in that training.

Virtual Reality (VR) training is not new to government. The Defense Department has been using it for years to create a realistic environment for training soldiers on expensive combat equipment and preparing them for new terrains and environments. Civilian agencies have begun using VR and Augmented Reality (AR) to better connect with citizens, making interacting with government services feel like playing a video game. Taking the lessons learned from Fortune 500 companies, the government can now extend their use of VR to general workforce training. Continue reading