Putting the ‘resource’ in human resource management

Talent management is not something that most government employees think about on a daily basis. But during the last several months, the ranks of state and local government employees have given human resource managers a multitude of new challenges.

Furloughs and early retirement offers are shifting the demographics of the government workforce, opening lanes for younger employees to step in as older employees leave. The Recovery Act has increased the level of federal scrutiny on everything from transportation projects to schools – stressing outcomes based results and performance measurement.

Having streamlined employee appraisals and talent management strategies can go a long way towards improving operations and saving taxpayer dollars, says Donna Ronayne, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development at Halogen Software.

“Providing an appraisal is not a once-a-year thing, it’s a living document,” she told CivSource last week in an interview. Halogen provides web-based talent management solutions that automate and integrate performance planning, learning management, compensation management and succession planning for both public and private sector clients.

“From a solutions point of view, a talent management suite can help people evaluate employees, while helping align culture and goals of the organization. It should be able to provide accurate, fair and meaningful feedback.”

Halogen has over 1500 customers worldwide with over 100 state and local government customers, which presents its own set of unique challenges, Ms. Ronayne said.

“States have a diverse and complex environment – water treatment, schools, fire departments – and they have another layer of complexity [not seen as much in the private sector] in that they deal with policies and procedures developed through collective bargaining,” she said. “But the reason states like our product is because it’s so flexible.”

In Colorado, the Douglas Co. School District needed a new Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) to keep pace with its growing student population and its more than 70 schools. HR Director Brian Ewert was tasked with working with the employee unions, while finding a solution that would help standardize appraisals, eliminate the paperwork, and allow hosting the system on-site.

“We didn’t want the system to drive our process,” according to Ewert. “We wanted our process to be able to drive the system.”

After bypassing their current HRIS vendor, Oracle, and dismissing SuccessFactors, Douglas County is using Halogen to move beyond their original solution goals, Ewert said.

“I think we’ve done some things with Halogen that most organizations haven’t even considered – it can go above and beyond a review process. For example, we were easily able to build a mentor/protégé process for our new assistant principals and principals, and we have also created a payroll audit system to maintain the accuracy of our records.”

Beyond the information management and web-based appraisal platform, Halogen provides content and coaching tips and learning management. Ms. Ronayne said a specific offering for state and local governments is in the works, which will have a built-in competency library to rate employees on issues such as citizen focus, conflict resolution, ethics / integrity, program management, and safety among others.

“Our solution does not take a cookie cutter or canned approach, it allows customers to create performance and talent management just for the areas they need.”

To learn more about Halogen Software, click here.