When the City of Richfield conducted an employee engagement survey, two key findings emerged that caught the attention of human resources manager Krista Guzmán: People wanted more leadership opportunities and more opportunities to work together. In response, the City developed its Enriching Leadership Academy, which brings together a cohort of developing leaders for those already in leadership positions for both formal and informal learning opportunities.
“We wanted our employees to know that we were interested in investing in them,” says Guzmán. “And given the diverse lines of business in city government, people don’t get many opportunities to work together. This has been a big bonus of the program.”
The cohort meets monthly, tackling topics that are suggested by members, such as managing in a time of turmoil, leading a group of virtual employees, and promoting equitable conversations in the workplace. In informal sessions, participants share on topics ranging from stress management to book recommendations.
Guzmán says the success of the first cohort has quickly led to plans to launch the next group. Employees can nominate themselves or be nominated by their department head to make sure the Academy is inclusive, she says.
In addition to the Academy, the City has also formed a team focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. “The members are champions who are not necessarily in leadership positions but who have passion and expertise,” says Guzmán. The group is helping ensure safe spaces for difficult conversations on a range of topics and working with City leaders to develop and maintain equitable practices. The group plans to develop an equity toolkit that all City staff can use to make big decisions or when starting projects.