Fiscal Survey of States – Fall 2021

Source: National Association of State Budget Officers, Fall 2021

From the overview:
With data gathered from all 50 state budget offices, this semi-annual report provides a narrative analysis of the fiscal condition of the states and data summaries of state general fund revenues, expenditures, and balances. The spring edition details governors’ proposed budgets; the fall edition details enacted budgets.

State general fund spending is projected to grow 9.3 percent in fiscal 2022 compared to fiscal 2021 levels, according to states’ enacted budgets. This spending increase is driven by improving revenue outlooks for states as well as a host of one-time factors.

Other key highlights from the report:

  • General fund spending grew 4.3 percent in fiscal 2021 to total $931.7 billion, above originally enacted levels but still slightly below governors’ proposed budget levels pre-COVID-19.
    47 states reported fiscal 2021 general fund revenue collections came in above original budget projections.
  • Fiscal 2021 general fund revenue grew 14.5 percent over fiscal 2020 levels, with this increase partially driven by the impact of the tax deadline shift, inclusion of federal funds, borrowing, and other revenue sources in a few states, and a lower baseline in fiscal 2020.
  • In the aggregate, combined fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2021 general fund revenues came in 2.2 percent above pre-COVID-19 projections.
  • Fiscal 2022 enacted budgets are based on general fund revenues that are 2.6 percent below preliminary actual levels for fiscal 2021; revenue forecasts used to build enacted budgets were mostly developed earlier in calendar year 2021, before the most recent uptick in collections.
  • 32 states (out of 42 states able to report early in the fiscal year) indicated that fiscal 2022 collections were coming in ahead of budget forecasts, while 10 states said they were on target.
  • States adopted a mix of increases and decreases in taxes and fees, resulting in a projected net revenue change in fiscal 2022 of -$2.9 billion – including $1.7 billion in general fund revenue reductions (representing less than 0.2 percent of total general fund revenues forecasted in enacted budgets for fiscal 2022).
  • Rainy day fund balances reached a new record level of nearly $113 billion in fiscal 2021 due mainly to stronger than anticipated revenue growth, with 35 states reporting increases. The median balance as a share of general fund spending is 9.4 percent.
  • Total balances increased in fiscal 2021, nearly doubling from fiscal 2020 levels, and 46 states reported total year-end balances greater than 10 percent as a share of general fund spending.

With So Many People Quitting, Don’t Overlook Those Who Stay

Source: Debbie Cohen and Kate Roeske-Zummer, Harvard Business Review, October 01, 2021
(subscription required)

The marketplace for talent has shifted. You need to think of your employees like customers and put thoughtful attention into retaining them. This is the first step to slow attrition and regain your growth curve. And this does not happen when they feel ignored in the fever to hire new people or underappreciated for the effort they make to keep business moving forward. They need to be seen for who they are and what they are contributing, and leadership needs to ensure this is happening. The authors offer four steps for leaders to take.
Here are four steps leaders can take now to best navigate the Great Resignation:

  1. Be aware of your impact.
    As leaders, people are watching you all the time whether you realize it or not. So, pause and consider how you are showing up in both your words and your actions….
  2. Focus on potential and possibility.
    …This is a time to be grounded in pragmatism blended with possibility, gratitude, and recognition of what your people, old and new, are going through….
  3. Make it okay to leave.
    Speaking about communication, let’s look at one other area where you may be creating an unintended impact — how you and others in the organization treat people when they leave….
  4. Give your employees the respect and attention they deserve.
    … You cannot take your people for granted and expect them to stay — healthy relationships do not work that way. Here are three steps:
  • Re-recruit them.
  • Reward them.
  • Engage them.

DEI Gets Real

Source: Dagny Dukach, Harvard Business Review, January–February 2022
(subscription required)

It’s easy to view the corporate world’s growing emphasis on DEI—diversity, equity, and inclusion—with cynicism. Too often attempts to address discrimination seem to be more about optics than about real change, with business leaders’ being quick to issue statements of support but sluggish when it comes to taking meaningful action. And if you’ve ever rolled your eyes at a buzzword-laden corporate diversity training, you’re not alone.

But in the wake of movements such as Me Too and Black Lives Matter, there’s cause for optimism. It’s increasingly clear that many people—perhaps even the vast majority—are genuinely disturbed by inequities and are motivated to address them.

What will it take to transform those good intentions into actual shifts in the distribution of power? Four new books shed light on the challenges that women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups face at work and what employees, managers, and organizations can do to make DEI a reality.

Cognitive Dissonance: A Barrier to Effective Management

Source: Robert P. Holley, Journal of Library Administration, Volume 61, Issue 7, 2021
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Cognitive dissonance is often a barrier to effective management because it can lead library managers to accept a distorted view of “reality” and thus make less effective decisions. This trait is embedded in our genetic heritage from its success in pre-historic times but often causes problems in modern society even if it remains valuable in some situations. Irrational optimism, a common form of cognitive dissonance, invites managers to take greater risks than justified by the facts but can be positive as long as the negative consequences are not high. Similarly, in today’s era of rapid change, a false view of current realities may cause managers to cling to prior successes. Snap judgments are inevitable, but cognitive dissonance often causes managers to avoid changing their minds based on new information. The best antidotes to the negative effects of cognitive dissonance are being open to alternative possibilities, being willing to admit being wrong, seeking out valid research, monitoring the environment for results, and having trusted advisors.

Women in the Workplace 2021

Source: McKinsey, September 27, 2021

A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, women in corporate America are even more burned out than they were last year—and increasingly more so than men. Despite this, women leaders are stepping up to support employee well-being and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, but that work is not getting recognized. That’s according to the latest Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey, in partnership with LeanIn.Org.

This is the seventh year of Women in the Workplace, the largest study of women in corporate America. This effort, conducted by McKinsey in partnership with LeanIn.Org, analyzes the representation of women in corporate America, provides an overview of HR policies and programs—including HR leaders’ sentiment on the most effective diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices—and explores the intersectional experiences of different groups of women at work. The data set this year reflects contributions from 423 participating organizations employing 12 million people and more than 65,000 people surveyed on their workplace experiences; in-depth interviews were also conducted with women of diverse identities, including women of color, LGBTQ+ women, and women with disabilities.

A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, women have made important gains in representation, and especially in senior leadership. But the pandemic continues to take a toll. Women are now significantly more burned out—and increasingly more so than men.

Despite this added stress and exhaustion, women are rising to the moment as stronger leaders and taking on the extra work that comes with this: compared with men at the same level, women are doing more to support their teams and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. They are also more likely to be allies to women of color. Yet this critical work is going unrecognized and unrewarded by most companies, and that has concerning implications. Companies risk losing the very leaders they need right now, and it’s hard to imagine organizations navigating the pandemic and building inclusive workplaces if this work isn’t truly prioritized.

Mapping Exclusion in the Organization

Source: Inga Carboni, Andrew Parker, and Nan S. Langowitz, MIT Sloan Management Review, November 23, 2021
(subscription required)

…One of the biggest barriers to women’s success is their exclusion from informal professional networks. To identify the challenges and solutions involved in developing gender-inclusive networks, we studied the organizational networks of dozens of companies, surveyed thousands of employees, and interviewed senior executives responsible for implementing their organization’s gender-related diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. (See “The Research.”) Our research made clear that who you know is as important — often more so — than what you know when it comes to rising through the ranks.

Networks are how people learn the unwritten rules of success, hear about job and promotion opportunities before they are posted, and — most critically — build a level of interpersonal trust and rapport with their contacts that translates into a willingness to pick up the phone and vouch for someone’s capabilities. According to one study, nearly 40% of the gender pay gap can be explained by the informal relationships that men have with their male managers…..

Tackling the Allyship Gap at Work

Source: Katie Mehnert, MIT Sloan Management Review, November 3, 2021

To be an effective ally, educate yourself, take guidance, and don’t give up when pressure mounts.

In recent years, calls have increased for people to be better allies to coworkers who are members of marginalized groups. Millions of people believe they have heeded those calls. In a LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey survey conducted in June 2020 — as protests over police killings of unarmed Black people were sweeping across the country — more than 80% of White people said they see themselves as allies to people of other races and ethnicities.

But people who are supposed to be on the receiving end of such support often see things differently. Of Black women respondents to the survey, only 45% said they have strong allies at work, and only 26% said they believe Black women have strong allies at work in general.

Well-Being, EDIB, and the Promise of Leadership Development

Source: Kristin Vogel & Sue Erickson, Journal of Library Administration, Volume 61, Issue 7, 2021
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Morale research over the past several years documents a crisis in the library profession and a 2021 report by Ithaka S + R reveals a confidence deficit in library administrators around work toward equity, diversity, inclusivity and belonging. The connections between belonging, resilience, and morale are strong and immediate action is required to address the crisis. This article posits that a strategic approach to leadership development, with a focus on coaching, is key to bridging the gap. Authentic and adaptive leadership models as supportive strategies are explored and a coaching approach to management is presented to launch readers into their next action.

Contributions to Low Morale, Part 1: Review of Existing Literature on Librarian and Library Staff Morale

Source: Emily C. Weyant, Journal of Library Administration, Volume 61, Issue 7, 2021
(subscription required)

Significant research has been done on morale within libraries, focusing on librarians as teachers, administrators, staff, and faculty members. This review is the first in a series of two with the intention to provide perspective on contributors to low morale in librarians and library staff. The second part of this review will be forthcoming and will discuss ways to improve morale in these populations.

…While some supervisors harbor biases that negatively impact employees, others lack awareness of library practices. When librarians are supervised by managers without library experience, librarian/library staff morale may suffer as their purpose and positions may not be understood or appreciated by their supervisors…. Societal understanding of and attitude toward those with disabilities can also impact morale within libraries for relevant employees. Oud notes a general lack of understanding of disabilities in the workplace. She states that disabilities are frequently viewed as an individual’s problem that should be addressed only on an individual level. Therefore, organizations may not fully examine their processes, assumptions, and way of making decisions as they relate to all employees, including ones with disabilities. ….