Developing an Opportunity for Public Employees to Fulfill Personal Career Objectives While Sustaining a Defined Level of Service

By Susan Turrieta, PE

No doubt, keeping employees with valuable knowledge and expertise and applying this knowledge and expertise appropriately, is essential to successfully operate as a competitive business. But how does a the public sector ensure that employees feel challenged, remain focused on production, and take ownership and accountability for job assignments? A clear progression path for employees is an effective tool for employee satisfaction, productivity and development.

Throughout the U.S., a large number of public entities are striving to operate as a competitive business and in doing so are looking for ways to keep their employees satisfied and adequately trained in their position. Unfortunately, staff in many organizations are not mentored or encouraged to grow or develop their skills. Developing a framework for career progression and aligning department staff with defined level of service requirements for each division is one way to prevent this from happening.

The first step in the development of the progression path framework is to determine and clearly define the level of service the entity desires to maintain both internally and externally. The level of service analysis will include identifying customer types and expectations, positions necessary to meet those expectations, and policies that may influence the specific service category. Once the level of service for various departments has been identified, job positions will be developed and or modified to deliver that level of service.

Next, a functional organization matrix or model, is developed that defines the roles in the department, the purpose, goals, and quality guidelines of each position, and the minimum training needs to fill the position. This information may be used to update job descriptions and document the various progression paths available to employees. It will also help ensure that all core duties and responsibilities are clearly identified and adequate resources and skill requirements are met.

With the matrix in place, the next step is to develop key performance indicators to measure the success of each position. The key performance indicators are tailored to meet the level of service goals identified for each position. These key performance indicators should be developed to measure the success of the employees as they perform their work.

The progression path established through these steps will show employees the various career paths they can take within the organization. There may be a single path or a mixed path such as administration to technical to management that an employee can follow.

First and foremost the employer of choice wants its employees to feel that their career with them is one of opportunity, growth, and personal/professional development. With this in place, by default, an employer of choice is committed to meeting or exceeding the expectations of their customers.

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