Personnel Department Organizational Development Study
processing resource list, try to determine the appropriate level of technical and data processing resource allocation needed in MIS and Records, as well as in the other units.
Provide business process analysis training
Key members of staff should be provided with business analysis training to determine if such training will enhance daily operations and considerations for organizational restructuring.
This article reviews the City of Seattle Personnel Department' s comprehensive examination of the Department's mission, key programs, and its organizational structure. This review was undertaken in order to improve customer services and productivity, in the face of budget cuts and other reductions in resources.
As is the case with many municipalities, the City of Seattle's Personnel Department has come under increasing criticism in recent years. This criticism can be attributed to several factors--budget reductions have reduced the Department's capacity to adequately service customer needs, and appropriated funding levels no longer support outdated systems and procedures designed to deliver services. The Department had responded to these cuts by reducing services, in many cases far below customer expectations.
In addition, the business needs of the City's operating departments have changed, and the Personnel Department's policies, procedures, and programs have failed to keep up with these changes. Work assignments are no longer static and stable. Yet personnel policies, procedures, and "observed rituals" have remained as remnants of civil service principles designed for stable business environments from 100 years ago.
In the face of a changing workforce, the Personnel Department's strategic role in the City to help operating departments and employees rather than control is more important than ever before. While there are external factors, such as federal and state laws, requiring a certain level of control, it is perceived the City's personnel functions control beyond what is reasonable, given the business pressures operating departments face and what employees want.
Given these changes, the Personnel Director recently initiated a comprehensive examination of the Department's mission, key programs, and its organizational structure, in order to improve customer services and productivity.
Several study groups were formed around programs that had been identified by employees, unions, operating departments, and policy makers as those inhibiting customer service. These study areas included the Department's
* organizational structure,
* classification/compensation review system,
* employment system,
* information management, and
* employee wellness programs.
The study process was highly participatory, with study groups consisting of Personnel Department employees, and key user department management representatives. In addition, briefings, workshops, and presentations were conducted with Personnel Department employees, management and personnel staff from operating departments, Law Department, City Council, Office of Management and Budget, and union officials.
Each study area identified problems with the current system, and developed evaluation criteria and options, and made recommendations for consideration by the Personnel Director.
This article reviews the study group's actions and recommendations.
1. Organizational Structure
This section examines the structural impediments imbedded in the Personnel Department's organizational alignment, and outlines organizational options. In addition, other non-structural impediments to customer service are identified, and recommendations to remedy those impediments are identified.
A working committee representing both key user departments and internal Personnel Department staff was formed to identify problems with the Department's organizational structure, identify organizational models, and make recommendations. The committee included personnel from the Department of Administrative Services, the Department of Housing and Human Services, the Office of Management and Budget, the Personnel Department, and City Light, Seattle's largest utility.
Organizational problem statements originated from committee members, employees in the Department, committees working on improvements to the classification system, the employment process, information management, and wellness programs, and interviews with operating department heads and union officials.
The committee identified four primary problem areas: the lack of a clear set of values and principles; specialization of functions in the Department that inhibit customer service; communication and information is not adequate; and personnel policies, rules and procedures are rooted in history and have become more important than the desired outcomes of a rapidly changing work environment.
Lack of a clear set of values and principles
It is perceived that the Personnel Department lacks a clear set of values or principles that guide employees' day-to-day work. Structural changes in the Personnel Department need to be complemented by a change in the Department's mission statement, its philosophy, attitude and ethic in its employees. The values and principles underlying the Department's mission statement should be oriented towards timely customer service rather than on systems administration.
Specialization of functions in the Department inhibits customer service
Overspecialization restricts workload management and requires operating departments to seek assistance and coordinate between various divisions in the Department.
External customers perceive a need to strengthen coordination and communication between the following functional areas of the Personnel Department: classification/compensation-employment, affirmative action-enforcement, diversity-training-customer service, benefit administration and industrial insurance.
Internal customers perceive a need to strengthen coordination and communication between the following functional areas of the Personnel Department: labor relations-compensation, records-information systems, and fund management elements of industrial insurance-unemployment compensation-benefits.
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Communication and information is not adequate
Responsibilities are unclear making it difficult to know who to contact in the Department for assistance. While the Personnel Department has many good vehicles for communication with operating department staff (EEO officers forum, Affirmative Action Task Force, Labor Relations forum, Training Coordinators committee, Safety/Industrial Insurance committee, Citywide and personnel representative memorandums) these vehicles should be analyzed to identify gaps, and duplication, all to meet the Department's client information needs in a timely and efficient manner.
Operating department service expectations do not match with the Personnel Department's capacity to deliver the level of service, or type of services. Personnel Department work processes, time frames, and standards are not clearly communicated to operating departments. Operating department service demands often exceed the …
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Publication information: Article title: Personnel Department Organizational Development Study. Contributors: Not available. Journal title: Public Personnel Management. Volume: 22. Issue: 1 Publication date: Spring 1993. Page number: 7+. © 2009 International Personnel Management Association. COPYRIGHT 1993 Gale Group.
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