Extreme HR Makeover

Background
A city located east of Cleveland, Ohio, is home to 20,000 residents. The City's 150 employees are led by an elected mayor and seven-person city council. The mayor recently created a Human Resources (HR) Director position to support the City's strategic goals; there had been no HR department prior.

Challenge
Because the City had never had an HR department, the new Director wanted to benchmark the City's HR programs and employee initiatives against other employers. It was also important for the HR Director to determine how employees felt about their work environment, pay, benefits, internal communications, and employee relations. Another priority was to standardize HR policies and procedures among the many distinct departments - such as fire, police, recreation, and administration. There were many tasks on the HR Director's list and determining a cohesive strategy with prioritized tasks was a very challenging undertaking.

The City needed input from subject matter experts in all HR disciplines - health and group benefits, HR technology, compensation and rewards, retirement, and communications. It was important to assemble a team that understood how the pieces all fit together so recommendations would be made within the "big picture." With that in mind, the City engaged Findley Davies to analyze the current state and develop recommendations for all aspects of HR.

Solution
Seizing the opportunity to start from scratch and have a little fun, Findley Davies and the City decided an "Extreme HR Makeover" was in order.

Findley Davies began the project by analyzing current HR policies and programs. Findley Davies' team reviewed plan documents, summary plan descriptions, benefit overviews, employee communications, and other materials. Once all the data had been collected, Findley Davies used national surveys and market knowledge to benchmark the City's current state against peers.

Findley Davies also developed and administered a confidential online survey to capture employee opinions about working for the City. About half of the employees participated. In addition, to gain insight from City leadership, Findley Davies interviewed each department head to understand the City's strengths and pinpoint areas for improvement regarding HR.

Results
After reviewing all aspects of HR, Findley Davies developed an "HR Blueprint" to help the HR Director manage and drive the changes necessary for the City. The "HR Blueprint" contained:

• Best practices for each area of HR;
• Benchmarks for medical, dental, vision, disability, and retirement programs;
• Employee survey and department head interview results;
• Recommendations for each area of HR - compensation, benefits, technology, employee relations, and communications;
• Guidance for creating and documenting standard policies and procedures; and
• A prioritized action plan.

The City is excited to work on the top priorities in the action plan and feels confident that they are building a strong foundation for the new HR department. The HR Director expressed his gratitude in a thank you note saying, "I really appreciate all you and your team did for the City. All the best!"

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