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Posts from the ‘Change Management’ Category

The Importance of FLSA Compliance

Today’s guest blogger is Don Pagel, Vice President, Public Sector Services at Kronos.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
― Henry Ford

Henry Ford changed the world when he created an entirely new process to manufacture cars. The assembly line created new efficiencies in all areas of manufacturing and ushered in one of the most dramatic economic booms in human history. The fear of the workers was that this increase in efficiency would reduce the need for labor. What actually happened was that efficiency made the dream of car ownership within the grasp of the common man and the increase of purchasing power also increased labor demand.
Change is most difficult before the benefits of change are realized.
Implementations of workforce management technologies can often be feared because of the change it creates in the everyday life of both the employee and the manager. The employee often fears that the requirements of “punching a clock” can restrict their freedom until they experience the value of visibility and the importance of fairness of adhering to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Managers fear being treated like a “timekeeper” until they realize the benefits of becoming true resource managers and the ease visibility gives them into controlling budgets and employee favoritism.
Fear of change can be overcome by increasing the across-the-board fairness that both a workforce management system can offer coupled with unifying policies to ensure both fairness as well as compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.
When implementing any new system, the temptation is to force the system to do “what you have always done”, thus eliminating the potential gains it can offer.

Public Sector Challenges with the FLSA
The Fair Labor Standards Act was signed by President Roosevelt in 1938 in response to ongoing employee abuses of the Great Depression. For decades after the passing of this important legislation, state and local governments were considered exempt from it. A number of important legal cases from the 1960’s through the 1980’s were brought before the US Supreme Court. Finally in 1985, Garcia vs. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority [1] settled the issue when the court made adjustments in FLSA for compensatory time and the unique needs of peace officers. These changes finally held most government agencies accountable to the amended act.
Many government agencies today still struggle with being compliant with the FLSA. The concept of “Exception Pay” or “Pay from Schedule” is still the common practice. Because of this, the Department of Labor (DOL) has stepped up audits of government agencies due to increased complaints from employees and unions alike.  The DOL has also created a tool for state and local government agencies to do a “self assessment”.
Implementing a workforce management system is a perfect opportunity for state and local governments to re-evaluate their policies and procedures to unify policy and ensure compliance with the FLSA. Missing this opportunity will only lead to increased struggles later to enact policies that protect both the employees and the employer. Using a best practice procedure of “Positive Pay” for all non-exempt employees ensures full compliance with the FLSA through accurate documentation of hours worked. This must also be backed up by policy in order to not only ensure fairness but also reduce challenges to civil service courts and union leadership.

[1] 469 U.S. 528 (1985)

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The Importance of Executive Leadership in Successful Projects – Part II

Part II of a two-part series on the role Executive Leaders play in successful projects. Written by Don Pagel, Vice President, Public Sector Services at Kronos.

Leadership requires knowledge, trust, influence, faith and vision.   In Part I, Knowledge and Trust are highlighted as two of the major factors that need to be considered with any project implementation.  Now, Don will dive into Influence, Faith, and Vision, also important aspects for leaders to follow.

Influence

Influence requires vision and is born of trust and personal reputation. In order for a project to be successful, a leader must address fear in the stakeholders. Often projects may dramatically change the level of control a particular stakeholder has in a process. Senior stakeholders must feel that the executive sponsor has trust and faith in the product and project. The level of trust a stakeholder has in the executive sponsor is directly proportional to the influence you have. Often, this influence is built over years of relationship building but can also be done in a shorter period of time if the leader shows a solid conviction to the vision balanced with thoughtfulness of addressing stakeholders’ objections. Selecting an executive sponsor that lacks influence among the senior stakeholders will cause lack of trust in the project that will manifest itself with internal power struggles and politics.

Faith

Faith is not the same thing as trust or belief. Faith is an action word that acts on trust and belief. A leader shows faith when they take risks. The leader also shows faith when a risky decision resulted in a negative outcome and the leader accepts responsibility for it but still shows trust and vision in both the product and the project by correcting the problem quickly.

In my early 20’s, I was a full-commissioned sales rep for and industrial supply firm. I had to develop strong relationships with my clients because I saw them every month and needed them to place an order from me each month. Often when troubles arose with an account, the weaker sales reps would shy away from the problem stupidly thinking that either the problem would magically go away or someone else would solve it for them. I couldn’t do that. I felt honor-bound to take care of their problem. What I later realized was that by addressing the problem head-on, the customer almost always placed an additional order from me! I always felt that my success in that company was due primarily to that one principle.

Having trust in your team and in the product will allow you to have faith that each bump in the road will be smoothed out and that you can feel confident in keeping the stakeholders apprised and yet comfortable. Lack of faith produces diversion and misdirection by stakeholders that ultimately leads to a less-efficient project with many delays.

Vision

Of all of the principles of leadership, vision is the most critical and yet is built on the backs of knowledge, trust, influence and faith. Vision is never equated with mediocrity nor is it risk-averse. Vision is what leads nations to justified and triumphant battles. Vision led man to the moon and back. Vision was at the beginning of every successful company that started in a garage. Vision is required for complex and far reaching projects. Lack of vision is like a ship that sails from port with no plan, no direction and ends up in trouble in open water.

Failed projects are often due to a lack of knowledge, trust, influence and vision. These are the essence of organizational change management. There is more to it than this, but these principles are the guiding force that leads a project to a successful conclusion.

The Importance of Executive Leadership in Successful Projects – Part I

Today’s guest blogger is Don Pagel, Vice President, Public Sector Services at Kronos.  As the former Deputy Director in the Office of the Mayor for the City of Houston, Don has a lot of experience with project management particularly around large technology deployments like ERP’s.  In this two-part series, Don will share his wisdom and insight on Executive Leaders and their role in successful projects.  Projects live and die by the success of both project management and organizational change management.   The more complex the project is; the more people it touches; the more change it creates in the daily activities of those people, the more critical it is to plan, execute, control and lead. My father once taught me that you “manage” things, but you “lead” people. I raised three boys and thus spent a great deal of time in Boy Scouts. At one particular troop meeting, a patrol was on stage performing a silly skit to keep the scouts entertained. As the skit is progressing, an assistant scoutmaster keeps walking across the stage in front of the skit dragging a rope. Finally, after the third time, the other assistant scoutmaster helping the boys with their skit, turned and loudly called to the other, “Fred, why on earth do you keep dragging that rope around?”. Fred responds, “Have you ever tried to push a rope?” The implication of that simple statement was astounding to me. Project management is all about managing cost, time and scope….things. Organizational change management is about leading people through the change caused by the implementation of the project. Leadership requires knowledge, trust, influence, faith and vision. People do not like to be pushed and generally respond like the assistant scoutmaster’s rope. But given the right leader who has vision, people will follow willingly. Leadership does not require position or title just as position and title do not guarantee followers. The most important leader in a project is the executive sponsor. This is the person who both sees the value of the project and has the fiscal responsibility for its charter as well as its success. That said, every team member has the responsibility to help lead through the change that a project creates and help support the executive sponsor.

Knowledge

Knowledge requires effort and involvement. It is not necessary that the executive sponsor understand the details of the product being implemented but should invest the time and effort into understanding the product well enough to ask appropriate questions to make effective decisions. Additionally, the proper level of understanding can lead to trust in the product that allows the development of a vision. Lack of knowledge, or lack of involvement will lead to poorly executed projects.

Trust

Leadership requires trust. Trust in the product and more importantly, trust in the team you have assembled to implement the product. The team needs to feel that trust as well. Mistakes will be made and you want your team to stretch and be personally empowered, so they need to feel that “you’ve got their back”. Trust in both the product and team also enables the executive sponsor to exude faith and vision to external stakeholders. Lack of trust will cause fear, uncertainty and project stagnation because no one will feel comfortable to make a decision. In Part II, Don will explore other important leadership traits such as influence, faith, and vision…

Give change a chance

Today’s guest blogger, Linda Misegadis, brings us some thoughtful insight on the concept of change.  Linda is a Public Sector Industry Consultant at Kronos and a  PROSCI Certified Change Manager.  As the former Director of Citywide Payroll and Administration Services at the City & County of Denver, Linda has first-hand experience on how the right kind of change can lead to powerful results. 

A couple of weeks ago our youngest son called us and told us that he needed to talk to his dad and me.  He is in his second year of college, majoring in business and our immediate thought was that he wanted to drop out of school.  While we had no real reason to suspect this, it is where our thoughts went.

For an entire week my husband and I speculated on what we thought he needed to tell us that he couldn’t just say over the phone.  We have always had a very open relationship with him, so we were a bit confused by this change.

Finally the long awaited day arrived when we were to find out what it was that he needed to talk to us about.  We arrived home and there he was; at the kitchen table (that he had cleared which he never does), with his laptop and a power point presentation (which he had never done before) and glasses of water for the three of us.  As you can imagine, this caught us a bit off guard.  After all, this is not how we have always done things in our home.  So, my husband and I sat down and braced ourselves for the news, prepared to talk through whatever it might be.  What transpired was our son thinking through what he wanted to discuss with us, what he  was hoping to achieve, putting a plan together and trying a new way of having that conversation.  He knew that if he did it the same way he always had that he might not get the answer he was hoping to receive.  He walked through his power point and asked us to hold our feedback until he had completed the entire presentation.  Because of this change or different approach his dad and I had an opportunity to change the way we communicate with him.

I share this story because my job is to help people in government, to change the way they do things.  I challenge them to look at things differently and realize that just because it has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean that it is the right way.

It is easy to tell people that they should change, but change is very personal, even in our jobs.  It took our son changing the way he communicates with us to get a different response.  If he would have done what he has always done he would have got what he has always gotten.  If we would not have been open to the change, the conversation might have gone much different.

What I have learned in both my personal and business life, is that the only constant is change.  While it is not always easy to do, it is required for us to grow personally and professionally.  So I challenge each of you to look at each day with a fresh perspective and open your mind to doing things different.  Sometimes it will make things better, sometimes it might not change anything and sometimes it might not work, but you won’t know until you try.

The end of the story is that our son didn’t want to quit college, just change schools and majors.  He is an aspiring musician and producer and wants to go somewhere that can help him achieve his goals.  He will be moving to Arizona next Fall.  This will be another big change for his Dad and me, but we are ready to embrace this new path and he has our full support.