Meeting the Professional Development Needs of Employees

Posted on July 1, 2015

Observations from Under the Saguaro by Christian M. Williams @MyPublicTweeter

He’s back! Goodyear, AZ ‘s Christian Williams asks: How does your organization give employees new experiences or provide them with new learning opportunities?

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When positions need to get filled the first answer isn’t always starting with the standard recruitment process. A new vacancy or internal special project can provide a valuable growth and development opportunity for current employees. Even as it relates to special projects needing to be addressed Goodyear has provided internal opportunities. In Goodyear there are two types of temporary internal opportunities: a Special Assignment and a Temporary Assignment. A Special Assignment is when an employee will balance the majority of their current workload with a new temporary project and will be compensated for the additional work at 5% above their normal pay. A Temporary Assignment is when an employee is temporarily removed from their current position and assigned completely to another position.
8-Goodyear 3In 2014, the City of Goodyear needed to update our General Plan, a task that would go above and beyond any employee’s current workload. Instead of hiring a consulting firm the City realized this could be an excellent growth opportunity for a current employee and allow them to gain valuable knowledge about the City. A Special Assignment was established and an employee from the Development Services Department, who best fit the needs of the project, was given this project to manage. At the end of the project voters overwhelmingly ratified the General Plan during the November election cycle. This experience also helped her a year later when she applied for a Planning Manager position with the City.
FEB13_Radar_Escape_Goodyear_ArizonaWe used internal employee talent to help bridge the gap while recruiting for an Economic Development Director. In order to ensure employees were being supported and set up for success during the recruitment process the Intergovernmental Relations Manager and Assistant to the City Manager were given an opportunity to assist the department on Temporary Assignments. With the vacancy created in the City Manager’s Office another Temporary Assignment was created for more City employees to help fill the Assistant to the City Manager positon. This continued a “domino effect” and provided additional learning and professional growth opportunities for our employees.
The City is undertaking an extensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system implementation to convert our twenty year old system into a tier-one fully integrated enterprise system. In order to do so, many City employees are being removed from their daily duties to operate as Functional Area Leads (FAL) for the implementation phases. In efforts to reduce costs, the City Manager’s Office created unique solutions for the Human Resources Department due to limited financial resources available to backfill. I have been given a wonderful opportunity to learn more about HR and assist with their backfill needs, while a Business Partner in the Human Resources Department has been pulled to assist with the HR portion of the implementation. I now share my time and devote 50% of my week to HR assisting with their operations and Business Partner needs. The remaining 50% of my week is spent in the City Manager’s Office working on my normal projects and functions.
Welcome-To-Goodyear-Arizona-e1336453116312One of the tasks I worked on, while in HR, was the internal recruitment for a Special Census Project Manager to fill a Temporary Assignment here at the City. We interviewed four interested individuals from the City and as a result hired a Customer Service Representative from Finance to fill this much needed role as we conduct a mid-decade Census.
Temporary Assignments have led to City employees changing career paths. A former Executive Assistant in the City Manager’s Office was temporarily assigned to the Budget Office for six months as a Management Assistant. She assisted Finance because resources were strained in the division during the budget development season. She adjusted well and was able to bring a customer focused perspective, great work ethic, and creative problem solving skills to the group. At the end of the six month assignment a Budget Analyst position became vacant due to a retirement. She applied for the opening through a competitive process, however, the skills she acquired through her assignment made her the perfect candidate for the position. She is still in Finance as a Budget Analyst and leads projects such as the development of the budget book, position control, and benefits assignments.
ShowImageGoodyear recently conducted an employee survey and employees indicated a desire for more opportunities for professional development and special projects to broaden their current working environment. As you can see, keeping current employees in mind for special projects and temporary assignments can lead to a world of opportunities and a culture change.
What does your organization do to give employees beneficial new experiences or provide them with new learning opportunities?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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