Strategic Human Resource Management in the Forensic Science Laboratory
Becker, Wendy S., Dale, W. Mark, Forensic Science Communications
Today's public forensic science laboratories should implement state-of-the-art human resource management methods. One reason is to improve the retention of laboratory personnel. High-staff turnover impedes reducing the backlog in DNA processing (Rondeaux 2003). To improve employee retention, laboratory managers can implement innovative human resource techniques, often without significant cost. This article discusses specific staffing challenges that can be addressed using practical human resource planning, recruiting, and retention strategies for forensic science personnel.
There is no doubt that the infrastructure of today's public laboratories should improve. Higher salaries for new and existing personnel, new and better facilities, and the increased use of technology should be implemented. However, these changes cost considerable taxpayer's dollars and take time and resources to put into practice. Although government leaders recognize the value of expanding forensic resources, additional funds are difficult to come by when national, state, and local budgets are already stretched.
Although more dollars are needed for additional resources, current technology in human resource management can be implemented today for practical improvements in public laboratories. Several strategies in human resource planning, recruiting, and retention are suggested. These strategies are based on responses from a national, web-based survey of forensic science laboratory directors (Becker et al. 2003). These human resource management practices can have a direct impact on selecting and retaining good employees.
The forensic science community often considers human resource planning a well-developed process constrained by budgetary considerations. However, two strategies could benefit management in the planning arena even more: developing estimates of staffing requirements and determining the value of forensic services.
Develop estimates of staff needed.
To optimize human resource planning, it is important to understand the labor market in the forensic science community. Forecasting involves reconciling the gap between today's labor supply and future labor demands. The demand for services includes …
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Publication information: Article title: Strategic Human Resource Management in the Forensic Science Laboratory. Contributors: Becker, Wendy S. - Author, Dale, W. Mark - Author. Journal title: Forensic Science Communications. Volume: 5. Issue: 4 Publication date: October 2003. Page number: Not available. © 2008 Federal Bureau of Investigation at www.fbi.gov. COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group.
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