March 2018,  OneVoice CSDA Newsletter

Keeping Pace with a Rapidly Changing World

By Leonard Villagomez and Mike Moreno

The world is changing at a rapid pace. Organizations must adapt to remain relevant and child support programs are no exception. Arguably one of the most effective federal programs of all time, child support faces new challenges—arising from dramatic changes in society—that may threaten its future success.[1] 

Child support agencies are experiencing rapid change due to decreasing volume and increasing complexity of caseloads. They are facing an accelerated shortage of new talent as Boomers retire in droves and are concerned about the effectiveness of knowledge transfer from retiring workers. Further, agencies are experiencing financial pressure to shrink their organization and find efficiencies, as they struggle to keep up with the pace of technological advances. On January 26th during a free NCSEA Web-Talk[2], the newly appointed federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) Commissioner Scott Lekan, echoed these challenges and his commitment to helping child support programs succeed through improved and efficient technology, collaboration, and financial performance.

What is the cause of this change and what can child support programs do to continually evolve?

Like many other public-sector organizations, disruption is being fueled by evolving customer and workforce demands, the need to boost employee engagement, and the ubiquitous nature of digital technology. Changing customer demands over the past 15 years, for example, is resulting in some child support agencies across the country moving away from an enforcement focused service delivery model, to one that focuses on supporting families through holistic approaches, in which enforcement is just one of many services provided.

Evolving Workforce Demands

The future of work is no longer just about filling today’s open needs; it’s also about re-evaluating the work and the workforce of tomorrow. Organizations should take a proactive stance in understanding how work will be done in the future and how that shift impacts how the workforce should look, be organized, and how to maximize the impact of those workforce segments. In this highly competitive environment where the talent war is real, organizations may need to find ways to adapt and shift to a more flexible workplace. The ability to offer employees personalized work arrangements, flexible schedules, and the option to perform work remotely are examples of the talent demands that child support agencies are faced with to remain competitive.

Boosting Workforce Engagement

Twenty-five percent (25%) of graduating college students rank government as one of the top three industries where they want to work, yet a much smaller percentage actually decide to launch a career in the public sector.[3] And while attracting new talent remains a challenge, retaining an agency’s current workforce and keeping them engaged and motivated can be equally daunting. Given that replacing an employee costs an agency an average of $150,000 in addition to the salary of the new hire, improving the employee experience and retaining staff is increasingly top of mind for many child support directors.[4]

The employee experience has shown itself to be at the core of how organizations find the talent they need to not only survive but thrive in today’s world of disruption. Leading organizations should expand their view of what makes an organization irresistible to employees. In order to do so, organizations are optimizing the physical workspace, enabling the digital workplace, transforming the organization structure, and addressing future talent needs.[5] For example, after completing a culture survey in Virginia, the child support program implemented alternative work schedules, offered telecommuting options, and moved two of its offices into modernized locations with open spaces that enhanced the overall work environment.[6]

Another growing trend is the leveraging of personality quizzes that are expressly designed to provide insights about individuals and teams based on observable business traits and preferences. For example, Business Chemistry® draws upon the latest analytics technologies to reveal four scientifically based patterns of behavior that organizations can leverage to improve employee performance and engagement.[7]

Closing the Digital and Technology Gap

Digital is disrupting both our personal and business lives – radically changing the workplace, how work is done, and creating a substantial technology gap between the organization and its talent. Talk to just about anyone in the child support program supervising new hires and you’ll hear a familiar narrative that goes something like this: After a month or so on the job, the new hire winds up in the supervisor’s office. Having been trained on the agency’s legacy system, the new hire decries this antiquated technology, which they must rely on to do their work. The new hire then explains why the job represents a retrograde career move, and that what they really need is a job with transferable skills to pad their resume. As additional new hires enter the workforce, further pressure is placed on organizations to close the technology and knowledge gap.

The Pennsylvania Bureau of Child Support Enforcement has taken steps to close the technology gap with its youngest workers by implementing analytic and metric driven dashboards. When a caseworker can see, for example, that collections for a particular case went up after the caseworker initiated a notice of noncompliance, that employee understands how his or her work affects collection results and the overall status of the case. It’s a little like a doctor seeing his patient’s blood pressure stabilize after administering medication. Giving caseworkers a view of the direct connection between their actions and performance metrics can reinforce a sense of purpose and connectedness to the job.[8]

Due to rapidly advancing technology and connectivity around the clock, the separation between work and our personal lives is disappearing. This is resulting in the need for organizations to reexamine what they expect of organizational leaders. The digital organization is about organizing, operating and behaving in a way that is more closely aligned with what employees’ experience in their personal lives. Gone are the days of command and control leadership. As detailed in the following figure, developing leaders who know how to act, think and react differently are critical aspects of the organizations digital transformation.[9] 

Leadership capabilities needed to succeed in a digital world

The Future Is Now.

Throughout its history, the child support program has adapted successfully to changing circumstances. To sustain this success, and to improve itself in the future, the program should continue to evolve, embracing new technologies and new approaches to service, and improving workforce engagement. The welfare of millions of children depends on the ability of child support agencies to deliver effective services.

LEONARD VILLAGOMEZ is the Advisory Services leader and MIKE MORENO is the Human Capital leader, both with Deloitte’s national child support practice.


About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. In the United States, Deloitte refers to one or more of the US member firms of DTTL, their related entities that operate using the “Deloitte” name in the United States and their respective affiliates. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting. Please see www.deloitte.com/about to learn more about our global network of member firms.


This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.

[1] Next Gen Child Support: Improving outcomes for families

https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/public-sector/solutions/child-support-services.html

[2] Scott Lekan, Shaping the Future of Child Support: Conversation with the Commissioner http://www.ncsea.org/new/conversation-with-the-commissioner/

[3] Max Meyers, Hannah Roth, Eric Niu, and David A. Dye, Employees as customers: Reimagining the employee experience in government, Deloitte University Press, May 31, 2016, http://dupress.com/articles/treatingemployees-as-customers-in-government/.

[4] NSCEA Leadership Symposium 2016, “What’s in it for me? Strategies for employee engagement in social services agencies,” August 3, 2016.

[5] 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends: Rewriting the rules for the digital age

https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/human-capital/articles/introduction-human-capital-trends.html

[6] Child Support Program Management: What’s New in Virginia” NCCSD Presentation by IV-D Director Craig Bershem, June 30, 2014

[7] https://businesschemistry.deloitte.com/Login/Index?ReturnUrl=%2f#/

[8] Next Gen Child Support: Improving outcomes for families

https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/public-sector/solutions/child-support-services.html

[9] 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends: Rewriting the rules for the digital age

https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/human-capital/articles/introduction-human-capital-trends.html