Dee Jones: City of Americus’ HR Year End Review
Published 2:30 pm Saturday, December 8, 2018
A year of fine-tuning processes and re-direction of the City of Americus’ Human Resources (HR) Department has resulted in continued program improvements and a highly competitive benefits program.
With an immense list of challenges, the HR Department at the direction of the Mayor and Council Members, took inventory of the City’s needs and services that directly impacted employees and adversely affected morale. Consequently, goals and objectives were established to help meet those needs. Employees and customers alike are now granted direct access to information and services through an employee intranet service and advertising through social media sources, bringing along a new wave of progressive initiatives that have proven to be mutually beneficial to the City as well as employees.
In the first quarter of 2018, strategic promotional assessments in the City’s Fire and Emergency Services and Police departments, resulted in a boost of morale for long-term personnel who were promoted to key positions. Furthermore, aggressive recruitment strategies for all departments were implemented to increase visibility of position advertisements thus generating a talented and more qualified applicant pool.
Further advancements were made to the City’s pay structure after an in-depth analysis and market comparison of all positions. Mayor and Council adopted a new pay structure and approved across the board, equity and pay adjustments, which in some cases resulted in 17 – 20 percent increases to employees’ compensation. This improvement has also positioned the City to be more competitive in both public and private job markets when recruiting new talent.
The City is now positioned to capitalize on the progress made through the incorporation of a full-service health and wellness program and is now proving to be a successful investment. The HR Department, along with Corporate Health Partners, doubled down on educating employees with early prevention and proactive care methods for many common illnesses and the tobacco free campus policy. The hands-on approach has resulted in the decrease of employee insurance claims, which has ultimately led to the City’s ability to offer a marketable benefits program with a 50-75 percent reduction in employee premiums for 2019.
The City will culminate 2018 by recognizing and celebrating employees who have excelled in the arenas of dedicated years of service, maintaining a safe driving record and notable perfect attendance by continuing the newly established tradition of highlighting the accomplishments seen throughout the year at the Employee Appreciation and Christmas Banquet.
As we move forward into next year, all employees look forward to receiving cost of living (COLA) increases and the City will offer 50 percent employer-paid pension programs dedicated to Police and Fire departments. The City’s retirement pension plan will be reviewed to identify richer and more appealing enhancements valuable to employees entering retirement.
The City’s HR Department goal for 2019 is to continue the path of progressive initiatives and identify ways to leave a more thorough imprint on the lives of employees and customers. You may track us online at www.americusga.gov.
Dee Jones is director of the Human Resources Department, City of Americus.