Henrico County’s general government departments and Henrico County Public Schools earned a combined 3 Achievement Awards from the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) which recognizes excellence in local government programs for 2014.
Henrico’s award-winning programs are listed below:
The ESL (English as a Second Language) Conversation Café is a English language conversation program offered by Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) in which non-native-English-speaking adults can practice speaking English, meet new people, and participate in an American experience.
Henrico County launched the precedent-setting meals tax referendum public information campaign, “It’s Your Decision,” to inform residents and voters about the county’s proposal for a 4 percent charge on prepared meals and beverages.
The campaign explained Henrico’s reasoning for seeking a new revenue source, highlighted the county’s history of sound fiscal management and financial stewardship, detailed how potential new revenues would be used and demonstrated the significance of the decision facing voters. The campaign invested voters with a personal stake in the referendum’s outcome, linking their vote to maintaining the quality services — notably the county’s premier school system — they expected as county residents.
“It’s Your Decision” employed an array of communication tools to deliver that information, such as a website, social media, television programming, direct-mail brochures and news releases. It also featured an extensive public outreach effort that engaged citizens directly through more than 100 meetings.
The referendum appeared on the county ballot as part of the statewide general election on Nov. 5, 2013. Voters approved the measure, making Henrico the first Virginia county with a population greater than 200,000 to authorize a meals tax by referendum.
The world of training is changing. Traditional learning conventions are increasingly under pressure. Learners want answers “just in time,” and are accustomed to searching online for information quickly and inexpensively. In contrast, it is costly and time consuming to design classroom training. Additionally, traditional training is frequently “content” driven rather than culture-focused – a concern at the brink of 2012, when Henrico County was experiencing a massive culture shift due to an unprecedented number of long-term, high-level employees retiring, including our County Manager of 20 years.
To meet these challenges, County staff developed an agile, responsive initiative which involved far less development time and created an interactive forum for participants to exchange organizational wisdom. By incorporating panels of experts in our classes, facilitating leadership discussion cohorts, and sponsoring classes and town halls led by our own upper managers, we reached a new audience of learners while sparking powerful conversations about our organizational culture. Over 600 employees participated, and surveys indicated that 81% improved in the competency of Understanding the Business of Henrico County. Most importantly, this initiative is learner-focused, easily adaptable to future organizational learning needs, and key to engaging the workforce in conversations about our culture as we navigate change.