CITYWIDE: PERSONNEL-RELATED PRACTICES
The City’s personnel-related practices (hiring, promotion, job reclassifications, etc.) represent a major impediment to efficient and effective management.Recommended Action:
Institute workforce planning initiatives and create “critical” hiring lists for job classifications that experience high levels of personnel turnover or regular departmental demand. Additionally, strong consideration should be given to conducting a comprehensive review of the Personnel Department.
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The FY99 report of the City’s Millennium Group does a very credible job of encapsulating the sentiments of the City personnel that have participated in the Management and Efficiency Review effort:
The mission and goals of the City personnel system were found to be consistent with the dominant intent of the City Charter, which is to assure fairness in hiring and promotions, and guard against political or other undue influence. It is important to note, however, that the Charter also includes an objective to ‘promote the efficient delivery of services to the public.’ The personnel department was found to place far more emphasis on the fairness and integrity of the process than it does on meeting the needs of the agencies it serves. On an individual basis, personnel staff members often try to be responsive to customer needs, but there is very little policy emphasis on supporting the ongoing work of City agencies, helping to carry out citywide objectives, or facilitating citywide change.
Source: FY99 Millennium Group Report, relying on information from the Internal Personnel Management Association and the Society for Human Resources Management.
While the project teams cannot offer an informed assessment of the City’s Personnel Department, their interactions with the five studied departments left the distinct impression that steps could be taken’short of a comprehensive overhaul of Personnel Department’to partially alleviate departments’ personnel-related problems. These steps include instituting workforce planning and prioritizing requests to the Personnel Department.
There exist no constraints that prohibit City departments from making workforce planning a management priority. Rather than perpetually bemoaning the perceived shortcomings of the Personnel Department, department manager should make efforts to project future workforce needs by evaluating existing employees’ length of service tenure to anticipate retirements and reviewing and monitoring information related to turnover rates for specific job classifications where high degrees of turnover have been historically observed.
To the extent possible, departments must begin to anticipate and forecast personnel needs rather than continuing the request-driven practices that result in hiring and promotion delays. Additionally, this type of planning should enable departments to identify the job classifications where need is most critical. By focusing on the truly critical needs, departments should be more capable of articulating their most pressing hiring problems to the Personnel Department.