In late 2016, Cal-ICMA announced the launch of a Talent Initiative to be undertaken by the Cal-ICMA Talent Development Team (formerly known as the Preparing the Next Generation Committee). The purpose of the Talent Initiative is to engage Chief Executives, HR Directors, and emerging leaders of cities, counties and special districts in a conversation about three questions:What are the kinds of talent challenges that confound cities, counties and special districts local governments in California?What obstacles hinder our efforts to address talent challenges?What are the best practices from public and private, culture-building strategies, and other resources so we can better attract, retain and grow talent?Talent Initiative activities include:A survey of City/County Managers, HR Directors and emerging leaders regarding talent development needs.Five to seven focus groups with senior management leaders across the state.A summary report, including recommendations on how professional organizations can help us address the workforce challenges.A website showcasing best practices and other resources.Use of resources as part of existing training programs and conferences.According to Dominic Lazzaretto, City Manager of Arcadia, California, and co-chair of the Talent Development Team, “As we deal with the big challenges, it is all about talent. We believe that the Talent Initiative will help local governments overcome major workforce challenges so that we can better recruit, retain and develop those who serve California communities.”Focus groups were conducted from January to April 2017, and a draft report will be completed this month. The Project Advisory Committee for the Talent Initiative includes 35 City/County/Special District Managers and emerging leaders from around the state. ResourcesTalent 2.0 ReportTalent 2.0: A Modern Approach to Attracting and Retaining Top Talent in Local GovernmentRead the Spring 2018 Report, produced by the Cal-ICMA Talent Initiative.Best Practices Compendium: Recruitment, Retention and Organizational CultureThe Cal-ICMA Talent Initiative gathered dozens of best practices from cities, counties, and special districts throughout the state. In 2018, leaders from the Contra Costa County Local Government Leadership Academy teamed up to produce a database of resources, sortable by topic (recruiting, retention/development, workplace culture, and engaging elected officials). Links to the initiatives and downloadable resources are available in this compendium.Talent Development Survey Results SummaryRead the summary of results from the 2016 survey of local government executives and leaders in California. Talent Initiative ResourcesLocal Government Innovation in the Face of the Pandemic WebinarWatch the free recording of this Cal-ICMA webinar "Local Government Innovation in the Face of the Pandemic – How Agile and Adaptable Leaders Get Results" (July 2020)Winning the Race for Talent: Winter 2018 PresentationDownload the presentation delivered at the League of California Cities’ City Managers’ Department Meeting in Newport Beach. (January 2018)Ten Ideas to Better Attract, Retain, and Grow TalentDownload a summary of ten ideas for leaders to start attracting, retaining and growing talent. (February 2018)Workforce of Tomorrow ReportDownload a December 2015 report from the Local Government Research Collaborative and the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE) on attracting and retaining talent.Stay Interview QuestionsLearn more about how to conduct a stay interview.ICMA Leading Edge Research Report on Recruitment and Retention of Underrepresented PopulationsA report by Kendra L. Smith, Ph.D., director of community engagement for the University of Houston - College of Medicine, offers new findings and recommendations that can help local leaders in building programs that go beyond compliance by creating hiring and retention processes that are robust and equitable, and secure the best candidates possible.“Transforming Talent Development: Six Ways to Get Started”, Public Management Magazine, April 2019.An article by Talent Initiative Co-Chairs, Nat Rojanasathira and Dominic Lazzaretto.Additional ResourcesICMA Coaching ProgramWith its roots in California, the ICMA Coaching Program has gone nationwide and continues to provide learning opportunities for local government professionals in all career stages.Credentialed Government Leader Program: Northern California (MMANC)Cal-ICMA has teamed up with the Municipal Management Association of Northern California (MMANC) and the Municipal Management Association of Southern California (MMASC) to provide a credentialing program to emerging leaders.Credentialed Government Leader Program: Southern California (MMASC)The Southern California-based program is structured in the same manner, providing a collaborative learning experience for local government professionals.Winning the War for Talent – The Role of Elected Officials, Western City, August 2018Download the August 2018 Western City article on the role of elected officials in talent recruitment and development.For more information about the Cal-ICMA Talent Initiative, contact:Rob Houston, City Manager, City of Fountain Valley, and Co-Chair of the Cal-ICMA’s Talent Development Team, at firstname.lastname@example.orgNancy Hetrick, Vice President, Management Partners, and Co-Chair of the Cal-ICMA’s Talent Development Team, at email@example.comFrank Benest, ICMA Liaison for Next Generation Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Encore Manager / Senior Manager Resources
About the Initiative
A whole generation of baby-boomer managers has or will soon “retire” from full-time local government management. Because this has been a “quiet crisis,” our professional associations have not responded with substantive support for senior managers who are obviously struggling with how to successfully transition to their next life phase and develop fulfilling “encore” chapters. In addition, our professional associations are at risk of soon losing over half of their members and their accumulated knowledge, expertise, and commitment to the profession and to our associations.
Consequently, the Cal-ICMA Board of Directors has authorized the development of a Senior Manager/Encore Manager Initiative and created a committee of active and retired managers to guide the effort. The purpose of the effort is three-fold:
Help senior managers overcome any sense of the “doldrums” as they complete their full-time careers and experience an energetic and fulfilling last few years
Assist senior managers think about, pursue and transition into their “encore” phase of meaningful and renewing experiences
Maintain a connection with the profession and their peers
The Cal-ICMA Committee on Senior Managers/Encore Managers is particularly interested in how next life phase managers can support active ICMA members and the profession through coaching, teaching, training, writing, managing special projects and other roles.
Summary of Focus Groups
To assess the needs of managers who have been considering retirement from full-time local government management, the Committee conducted four focus groups across California, held in Orange County, San Luis Obispo County, Sacramento County, and the Silicon Valley. Three key questions were posted to the participants in these groups:
What is my greatest hope/expectation of my next phase?
What is my greatest fear about my next life phase?
What are the big questions that I have regarding my “encore”?
A variety of hopes and dreams were articulated by the participants:
I hope to stay engaged and relevant yet have time to pursue other interests.
My hope is to craft a vibrant and fulfilling next life phase, including good work, service, love, family and leisure.
I want to explore my “undiscovered self”.
I desire to work on new projects, such as fixing up my house.
I want to give back to the profession, coach other city managers and assistants both the senior and next generation.
I would like a part-time gig.
I think I’d like to teach.
I want to find something completely new in my life which could be a new career, sports, travel, leisure activities, etc…
I hope for more control over my life.
I want to learn new things.
I’d like to explore new opportunities, new professional and personal contacts.
I hope to enjoy my new life as much as I have enjoyed my life as a city manager.
The fears expressed included:
Uncertainty, the “unknown”
Personal isolation, being forgotten, not being able to maintain connection with my colleagues
Losing a sense that I am contributing and adding value
Working too hard in my next phase and therefore not being able to explore other aspects of my self
Loss of organizational support
Boredom, too much time on my hands
Not having a plan
Lack of competence in other areas that I may pursue
The “moment of commitment” to something else previously unexplored
Loss of authority and influence
Lack of ability to “recalibrate” as I enter the last few years of my full-time local government career
Concern about the possible lack of intellectual stimulation and sense of personal identity loss after years of having been on the forefront of community issues
No longer contributing to the betterment of society
Not planning properly for my financial needs for the rest of my life
If I retire “badly,” problems could be created such as marital/family issues, alcoholism, depression, etc.
Family disruption as I retire
Inability to separate my self from my identity as a city manager
Problems coping with physical, mental and emotional stress as I transition
A number of related questions were raised by participants:
When do I know it is time to retire? What are the “signs”?
How have others transitioned successfully into their next phase?
Is it possible to “recalibrate” and modify my organizational role, work intensity, and possibly my schedule as I enter my last few years of full-time management?
How do I go about starting a new business?
What are the pros and cons of different business models?
How do I explore university teaching?
What is the range of different journeys after transitioning?
How much planning and preparing for my next phase should I do?
If reflection is a key to crafting a meaningful next phase, how do I do that?
The Cal-ICMA Committee on Senior Managers/Encore Managers has worked with several partners to advance the initiatives. These initial efforts include:
Cal-ICMA website. ICMA has helped Cal-ICMA enhance its web site to include information, resources and services related to the Encore Initiative (click on the "Resources" tab at top right of this webpage).
Encore Resources List. The Committee has identified a variety of books, articles, and websites to help local government managers make the transition into their next life phase. (Click on the "Resources" tab).
Workshops. Cal-ICMA has begun to conduct an annual "Encore Opportunities" workshop in conjunction with the annual League of California Cities City Managers Department Conference. The 2015 workshop was co-sponsored by the California City Management Foundation.
Peer Coaching. “Encore managers” have been recruited to serve as one-to-one peer coaches for active managers considering their next life phase. Profiles of the peer coaches appear under the "Resources" tab.
"Different Journeys." A number of managers who have selected different encore journeys have written vignettes about their experiences and provided lessons or tips (see the "Resources" section).
Email Notice and Distribution List. The Committee has established an email list in order to notify interested manages (both active and retired managers) of upcoming events or other activities. To join the list, email: Kevin O’Rourke at email@example.com.
"How-To" Papers. The Committee has released three "how-to" papers about encore opportunites (see "Resources" section). The three papers include:
Tips for States to Start Encore Programs
So, You Want To Be an Interim Manager?
So, You Want To Be a Consultant?
So, You Want To Be a University Professor?
So You Want To Be a Non-Profit Executive?
When do I know it's time to leave?
For further information on the Initiative, contact one of the following members of the Cal-ICMA Senior Manager/Encore Manager Committee:
Kevin O’Rourke at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Garvey at email@example.com
Frank Benest at firstname.lastname@example.org
Encore Manager / Senior Manager Resources
ICMA West Coast Regional Director
Steve Rogers, Town Manager, Town of Yountville, California
ICMA West Coast Regional Vice Presidents
Ed Shikada, City Manager, City of Palo Alto, California
Maria Hurtado, Assistant City Manager, City of Hayward
ICMA Headquarters Staff
Robert C. Donnan, Program Manager, ICMA / 202-962-3536