Employee Votes are in!

“Innovation” is the number one keyword Henrico County employees used to describe the culture of their workplace according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch (RTD) Top Workplaces survey. Two thousand six hundred (2,600) employees responded to earn us one of five spots in the mega company category. Yvette George, Director of Human Resources, originally wanted Henrico County to participate in the survey so that County Management could get a pulse on what employees were thinking and feeling after an eventful 2020. “I truly expected more strongly disagree responses. It was such a surprise and positively rewarding that we won in our first year participating.”

According to employees, direction, value, and execution are Henrico County’s strongest attributes. When asked what their level of agreement was to the statement: “I believe Henrico County is going in the right direction.” 91% responded that they, on some level, agree with the statement. To the statement “Henrico County operates by strong values.” 99% of respondents said they agreed. Likewise, 99% of the employees who responded agreed that “At Henrico County, we do things efficiently and well.” Still in her first year with Henrico County, Yvette said she is proud to work with such wonderful, dedicated, and motivated employees. She is excited to see where and how we can grow.

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Employee Focus Groups: Reflections on Well-Being & Inclusion

As part of the County’s ongoing commitment to providing an inclusive workplace for all, we hosted seven virtual well-being focus groups in March 2021 to provide an opportunity for open dialogue, to strengthen connections across the county, assess employee needs, and offer support and partnership. With the establishment of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Specialist role, we also welcomed conversations on how the county is growing as an organization and solicited feedback to achieve an inclusive workforce.  Fifty-three employees from across the organization attended the sessions where they openly expressed thoughts in a safe environment and offered supportive conversations with peers on the global pandemic, mental health, wellness, and inclusion topics.  Employees also shared recommendations to guide the county forward in county-wide DEI efforts.

The key findings from the focus groups were centered around two major themes: COVID-19 and DEI.   Participants reported experiencing challenges with mental health and wellness due to the global pandemic, and challenges in moving forward through the pandemic. The County’s virtual Employee Town Hall meeting on May 13, addressed several of these concerns to help employees understand how the County is responding to their needs in these areas. Leaders at all levels were also encouraged to have conversations about their well-being and concerns related to the global pandemic.

Participants also openly expressed their thoughts and feelings on current events, race, equity, and inclusion. The major themes centered around national politics and civil unrest associated with violence towards people of color and marginalized communities; the desire for employees to have open dialogue with colleagues on topics of race and inclusion in the workplace; a need for psychological safety to be able to speak up and openly express their thoughts and ideas on any topic; a need for inclusive skillsets and behaviors across the organization.

We met with County leadership to share a high-level overview of the groups, including the following recommendations for the next steps:

  1. Establish a DEI organizational strategy.
  2. Continue professional development for all staff to focus on equity, skill-building, and development around inclusion.
  3. Engage the organization at all levels on DEI, mental health, and wellness topics.
  4. Potentially add additional check-in sessions with employees to assess well-being and needs.

As we look ahead, we will continue to create opportunities to have open conversations and invite diverse voices and perspectives to help the county be strategic and intentional about countywide DEI efforts and goals. If you have questions or feedback regarding DEI and the County, please contact our DEI Specialist, Shanone Sport at [email protected].

*Note: As of December 2023, if you have questions or feedback regarding DEI and the County, please contact the DEI team at [email protected]

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Every Day is a “SUN” Day – as Long as You Remember the Sunscreen

The unofficial start of summer has arrived and while the sun is shining bright and our thoughts are on spending fun-filled days poolside or at the beach, it is a golden time to focus on Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Awareness.

Most of us love to soak in those warm summer rays of sunshine, so we MUST remember to protect our skin and eyes from the damaging effects of the sun. The sun emits radiation known as UV light. Two types of UV light are proven to contribute to the risk of skin damage. Ultraviolet A (UV-A) is associated with skin aging and Ultraviolet B (UV-B) is associated with skin burning.  By learning the risks associated with too much sun exposure and acting on the right precautions to protect you and your family from UV rays, everyone can enjoy the sun and outdoors safely.

Unprotected sun exposure can damage your eyes resulting in vision problems, cause premature aging of the skin, and result in skin cancer. Fortunately, there are simple actions you can practice to minimize the negative risks associated with sun over-exposure:

Cover-Up: Wearing a hat with a wide-brim and other shade-protective clothing can shield your skin from harmful UV ray exposure. Proper clothing may include long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses.

 

Stay in the Shade: The sun’s glare is most intense at midday. Staying in the shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. will further protect your skin. It is important to note that the sun can still damage your skin on overcast days and/ or in the winter so be sure to stay protected throughout the year.

 

Choose the Right Sunscreen: The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen that shields against both UV-A and UV-B rays, has a sun protection factor (SPF) 15 for occasional exposure or SPF 30+ for extended outdoor activities, and is water-resistant.

 

Use the Right Amount of Sunscreen: When out in the sun apply at least one ounce (about a palmful) of sunscreen every 2 hours. Apply more often if you are sweating or swimming; even if the sunscreen is waterproof.

Additional Sunscreen Tips:

  • Not all sunscreens have the same ingredients. Try a brand that is PABA Free if you are sensitive to the chemical Para-aminobenzoic Acid.
  • Be aware of the expiration date – over time sunscreens may lose their effectiveness.
  • Price does not indicate the quality – the more expensive brand is not necessarily better at protecting the skin.
  • Shake well before use – this will help to mix the ingredients.
  • Apply sunscreen to ALL parts of your skin that will be exposed to the sun – this includes the ears, feet, and toes.
  • Apply sunscreen about 20-30 minutes before going out in the sun – this allows for your skin to absorb the sunscreen.

Remember – No sunscreen offers 100% protection. Use sunscreen on every day that ends with a “Y”, and practice sun safety this summer.

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