Author : Elinor H. Woodruff
Employee salaries and benefits comprise the vast majority of the County’s operating expenses. More importantly, the County is, in a very real sense, nothing more than its employees. Formerly called “Personnel,” the County’s Human Resources Department develops and administers programs designed to increase the county’s effectiveness as an employer — its hiring processes, pay, benefits, human resource policies and others — the whole spectrum of creating and managing the employer-employee relationship. The label of “human resources,” now the norm in the profession, designates a broader involvement and strategic role in the organization than “personnel,” which most people associated with just hiring.
- Manages job recruitment, selection and promotion of county employees;
- Develops and oversees employee benefits and wellness programs;
- Develops and promotes appropriate personnel policies and enforces those policies;
- Fosters a positive work environment and effective employee-employer relations;
- manages the county’s pay-for-performance system;
- Promotes employee career development and job training;
- provides a county government orientation for new employees;
- Provides guidance on disciplinary actions; and
- serves as primary contact for work-site injuries and accidents;
Some of the key or core functions the HR Department manages:
The Hiring Process: Everything from decisions about what qualifications are required to work for the County to the array of forms, interviews, tests, reference checks and other tools used in the hiring process.
Classification: Jobs titles, descriptions, pay ranges, qualifications, job performance standards and expectations and so forth. HR helps decide which classifications are needed, develops the description of the classification and ensures that individual positions are assigned to the correct classification.
Compensation: How much should the County compensate employees to remain competitive within the workforce? HR uses a blend of market surveys and job analysis techniques to develop the County’s salary schedules and systems.
Benefits: HR develops and manages the County’s fringe benefit programs — health insurance, dental insurance, disability insurance, vacation leave, sick leave, holiday leave and more.
Employee Relations: The County’s HR Director can assist/direct employees who feel they have a grievance.
Legal Compliance: HR staff is expected to be experts in a wide range of employment and labor laws: wage and hour laws, collective bargaining, equal opportunity, affirmative action, discrimination, sexual harassment, disabilities, medical claims, workers compensation benefits and many, many more. They work with the County Manager, Department Directors, County Attorney’s and County Employees to ensure the County’s decisions and actions are within established legal boundaries and represent the County in administrative claims and appeals.
Performance Management: HR develops policies and systems such as performance appraisals centered on the objective of skillfully evaluating and managing employee performance.