What We Do
With a budget of $4.2 million and 27 full-time-equivalent staff members, the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Human Resources manages the hiring, administration and training of County personnel. County government is only as good as its employees, so the Human Resources Department develops and administers programs designed to increase the County’s effectiveness as an employer, from its hiring process, employee professional development and training, risk management, labor relations and more.
The department serves 2,871 employees, which equates to approximately 2,500 full-time-equivalent staff, and works with all other departments to help effectively manage the employer-employee relationship.
What We Did in 2014
Enhancing the Employer-Employee Relationship
The County of San Luis Obispo is the second largest employer in San Luis Obispo County with 2,871 individual employees. The Department of Human Resources (HR) manages all personnel matters that pertains to the cycle of employment for all County employees.
Last year, HR began making significant changes to streamline the recruitment and selection process, reduced the number of injuries at work, and increased employee and organizational development activities.
Modernizing Employee Recruitment
HR began modernizing the County’s new employee recruitment and selection process in 2014, which enables the County to better use best practices in selecting and hiring the workforce of the future.
The County began receiving a dramatic increase in the number of applicants and new hires in the past two years, even as the County faced increased competition for the most qualified and talented candidates. The number of applicants nearly doubled and the number of recruitments increased by 32 percent. Meanwhile, 25 percent of the County’s workforce changed since 2008, and 47 percent of the County’s employees are eligible to retire in the next five years.
In order to address the influx of recruitments and applicants expected in the coming years, the County’s Human Resources Department selected a new recruitment and application tool called NEOGOV. The new system is expected to increase HR’s responsiveness to applicants in a competitive job market, modernize the selection and applicant scoring to identify the best candidates, and gain additional efficiencies by implementing and measuring key performance indicators within the process.
HR went live with NEOGOV in November 2014 and new features will continue to roll out into 2015.
Reducing County Employee Injuries
HR helped both save the County money and reduce County employee injuries by continuing its Loss Prevention Initiative (LPI), which began in 2010.
The department shifted existing resources from reaction to prevention, freeing $360,000 to operate a nimble, effective injury prevention program. It hired a full-time professional program manager and applied the remaining budget to ergonomic evaluations and equipment, wellness, emergency response tools, and certain loss-trend targeted special projects. The LPI proactively intervened in situations where the risk of employee injury was foreseeable.
Through LPI, the HR department successfully reduced the number of Workers’ Compensation claims by roughly 10 percent. The injury rate has been reduced from 4.4 to 3.8 per 100 employees, one of the lowest rates among California counties. HR staff performs ergonomic evaluations on an average of 300 workstations per year. As a result, claims for ergonomic injuries have been reduced by 31 percent while claims for repetitive motion injuries have been reduced by 25 percent over the past five fiscal years.
HR has also hit a record low in the cost of ergonomic evaluations and modifications by centralizing the Ergonomics Program for the County – costs per station have declined from $1,500 to $338. Total Workers’ Compensation program liabilities have also declined by $1 million, or 10.2 percent, since the year before the program began.
These improvements were realized in an already high-performing program.
Learning and Development
Meanwhile in August 2014, HR launched the County’s Learning & Development Center, formerly known as Employee University, to support continuous learning and deliver training and development opportunities to County employees.
The department saw a significant increase in employee and organizational development activities due to the creation of the County’s new Learning and Development Center (LDC), which identified employee training needs in areas such as succession planning, professional coaching, communications, customer service work/life balance, and computer technology.
The LDC offers standalone classes with topics such as decision-making, emotional intelligence, performance coaching, conflict management, and resilience, as well as three academies every fall and spring for the next three years: The Management Academy, The Supervisory Academy, and the Supervisors Transition and Readiness Training (START) Academy. Each academy accommodates 30 participants and occurs over a few days each month in a three- to four-month period.