By Dan Gephart, March 16, 2021

A few years back, I read that a Topps 1973 Mike Schmidt rookie baseball card in mint condition could fetch $10,000. Like me, my Schmidt rookie card didn’t quite make it out of childhood in mint condition. Still, I optimistically took the corner-frayed, slightly torn, decidedly non-glossy card to a sports memorabilia collector. When the collector told me the card was in fair condition, I took that as promising. Then he explained that “fair” is the lowest grade he gives to baseball cards, and, by the way, my card barely qualified for that grade. Forget $10,000. I’d be lucky if my card could cover a large cold brew and a scone at Starbucks.

Starting this year, I could purchase a pack of the NBA’s new Top Shots, where a $15 investment could land me a Lebron James card, currently valued at $208,000. These cards are guaranteed to always be in mint condition because they will never be physically touched by human hands. These investments won’t be devalued by card flipping or bike spoke-propelling.

You see, the NBA Tops Shots are crypto-collectibles purchased as a non-fungible token (NFT) created through blockchain technology.

If you’re as confused as I am by what the heck that last sentence means, then you better buckle up. If sports cards can make that kind of sudden leap in technology, imagine what’s in store for the workplace. Numerous workplace experts have already wondered about that. They predict numerous dramatic changes in the workplace in the future.

But not all change will be technology-fueled. Job market changes could lead to major reorganizations, experts predict. Some change could result from the very real potential of future health crises. Look at how the workplace changed during the current pandemic.

Years of telework initiatives, COOP plans, and Snowmaggedons failed to move the needle on remote work. But when the virus hit pandemic levels last year, most Federal employees immediately started working from home. Work travel, except when absolutely essential, screeched to a halt. Crowded meeting rooms were replaced by Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Webex.

And, as the FELTG Nation knows very well, change could be driven by law and policy. It’s happening now, as agencies adjust to the Biden Administration’s reversal of the previous administration’s federal workplace initiatives. As FELTG President Deb Hopkins said, the whiplash is real.

To protect your organization against constant whiplash, workplace experts say that you need employees with creativity and critical thinking skills, and a continuous learning environment. If you take care of hiring the right employees, we’ll be here to provide the continuous learning. In the next couple of months, we are offering several training events to help manage change, both current and future.

Honoring Diversity: Eliminating Microaggressions and Bias in the Federal Workplace on Wednesday, April 7. Talk about a sharp shift. Just a few months ago, diversity training was frowned upon. However, the new administration has made it clear that training on diversity and inclusion is a key piece in advancing racial equity and strengthening workplace protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In this two-hour virtual training, FELTG Instructor Meghan Droste, attorney at law, will explain what microaggressions look like in their various forms — microinsults, microassaults, and microinvalidations.She will share an implicit bias test, explain its impact, and provide examples. She will also review EEO law so you can determine when bias or microaggression rises to the level of discrimination.

Biden Executive Orders, OPM Guidance and an Update on the Status of Civil Service on Thursday, April 8. FELTG was the first out of the gate with comprehensive training events on the new president’s Executive Orders impacting the Federal workplace. If you attended any of those training events, then you have a huge step up on your peers. FELTG President Deborah Hopkins and Instructor Ann Boehm will dive into the language of recent OPM guidance, and interpret what it means for your day-to-day operations. They will also share all of the latest information on Federal employment law-related news.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting a New Board on Tuesday, April 27. This 75-minute session kicks off the FELTG Forum 2021: Emerging Issues in Federal Employment Law. We have a glimmer of hope that a new Board could soon be in place at the MSPB, and that’s the kind of dramatic change that we all would applaud. What does this mean for federal HR professionals? What does this mean for all those agencies and employees whose cases have been piling up unread at the board? FELTG President Deborah Hopkins will give an overview of what we can expect in the upcoming months from a new MSPB, and where the board will stand on critical issues like performance and conduct accountability.

Legal Update: Recent Developments in Federal Employment Law, Part I (MSPB, EEOC, Federal Circuit) on Thursday, April 29 and Legal Update: Recent Developments in Federal Employment Law, Part II (FLRA, FSIP) on Friday April 30. These two sessions are also part of the FELTG Forum 2021: Emerging Issues in Federal Employment Law and will be presented by FELTG Instructors Ann Boehm and Joseph Schimansky.

Not a One-Way Street: How OIGs and Agencies Can Successfully Work Together on Thursday, June 24. Navigating all of this change requires leadership and coordination. And there is a resource right at your agency that can help with both. Scott Boehm brings his 32 years of leadership experience and nearly 20 years of experience in Offices of Inspectors General to this hourlong webinar. If you work in your agency’s OIG, you will learn what you can do to foster this coordination. And if you’re an attorney, HR professional, EEO specialist or supervisor, you’ll learn how the tap your OIG’s knowledge and resources.

Visit the FELTG website for information on these and other training events. And if you’d like to bring these trainings to your agency virtually, contact me. Unlike my Mike Schmidt rookie card, FELTG training will retain its value. Gephart@FELTG.com

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