Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

IPMA Agency Award for Excellence Award Winning Program - Interview with the Winner: The City of Alexandria, Virginia

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

IPMA Agency Award for Excellence Award Winning Program - Interview with the Winner: The City of Alexandria, Virginia

Article excerpt

Editor's note: In an effort to provide more articles of a practical nature to our readers, Public Personnel Management recently interviewed this recipient of the 1995 IPMA Agency Award for Excellence. The complete answers to our questions regarding the programs and projects that earned the City of Alexandria, VA recognition from the Association are presented.

1. The Alexandria Sanitation Authority (VA) designed a comprehensive and inventive three phase (Personnel Analyst, Training/Safety Manager, Supervisor) new employee and new supervisor orientation program. What elements make it inventive? What are the major components of your orientation phases?

The Authority's orientation program is inventive in many ways. First, it is very comprehensive, covering the full gamut of employment issues (i.e. benefits, personnel policies and procedures, training opportunities and requirements, safety issues, history of the agency, team member and employee involvement concepts, duties and responsibilities, etc.). Second, its major components are individually orientated. Each new employee team member receives a thorough one-on-one orientation with the Senior Personnel Analyst on benefits; the Training/Safety Manager on Authority-wide personnel; training and safety policies and procedures and the Supervisor on specific section requirements and team involvement. Third, the orientation program is complimented by viable Authority publications (History of the Authority booklet, ASA Plant brochure, Summary of the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual, Safety Guidelines, etc.) which are given to the new employee. And, fourth, in relation to the new supervisor orientation program, every new supervisor team member is briefed by each member of the Authority's senior management team and provided with a binder containing the following unique Authority publications: A Guide for the New Supervisor, A Guidebook on How to be a Successful Supervisor, and How to be a Successful Supervisor memos and index, and a Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual.

2. You mentioned a viable job evaluation system based on "real need" input from line supervisors and managers. What steps does your job evaluation system take to provide such input?

Our job evaluation system is not very complex. It is simply based on constant and forthright face-to-face discussions with our employee team members on how they can better do their jobs to meet the real needs of the Authority's team. As a small independent agency, the Authority does not have to deal with large bureaucratic systems with layers of restrictive and hindering management oversight. Consequently, job duties, descriptions and classifications are both dynamic and currently relevant, and can be changed in a rapid and unconstrained manner to conform to the present and future needs, plans and goals of the Authority team.

3. Your agency set up an innovative computer interface with the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) to accomplish in-house screens of applicants in the VEC database. Through the use of a telecommunications software package and a pc (personal computer) equipped with a modem, the Authority's personnel office can now instantly access the VEC's online database of qualified applicants. Can you search for specific skills from this database? Do you access applicants' resumes or applications through this database?

The Authority and the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) have shared a positive working relationship for many years. Most of the Authority's entry-level positions have been filled by applicants referred by the VEC. The computer interface was a natural extension of that positive relationship.

Our interface with the VEC's on-line computer system allows us to do the following: enter job vacancies directly into their computer system, search and retrieve applicants for specific open positions, access a wide variety of labor market data, and review automated job listings. …

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