State’s HR structure is ‘outdated and cumbersome,’ says report

A REPORT COMMISSIONED BY Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee in June called parts of Rhode Island's human resources and personnel structure "outdated and cumbersome," adding that current policies "place a great burden on the agencies’ ability to recruit, retain, motivate and reward the kind of workforce needed to achieve their missions."
Posted 1/28/13

PROVIDENCE – The Segal Co., a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm hired by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee in June, released its report recommending an overhaul of the state’s human resources and personnel structure.

Segal, which was awarded a $195,000 contract in June, said that the state’s current human resources structures, policies and processes “place a great burden on the agencies’ ability to recruit, retain, motivate and reward the kind of workforce needed to achieve their missions.”

The report made specific mention of the poor structure, organization and staffing of the state’s human resources division, the “outdated and cumbersome” paper-based recruitment and application procedures, and flawed compensation structures.

According to the Segal report, the state’s compensation structures and pay delivery policies are “non-competitive, highly rigid, and insufficient to attract and retain skilled employees.”

“The report confirms much of what we already know – our personnel system has considerable room for improvement,” Chafee said in prepared remarks.

Segal broke the report’s recommendations up into five categories: human resources division organization and structure, recruitment and hiring practice, classification structure, total compensation structures and policies, and paid leave and benefits.

Recommendations in the report included the implementation of an online application system, the need to evaluate and streamline job classification structure, as well as to consolidate pay schedules.

The report also recommended implementing performance-based pay programs with non-union workers that would allow managers the flexibility and funding to recognize their employees’ achievement and accomplishments.

“The administration agrees with many of the findings and recommendations in the report, and we are ready to make some of the improvements now,” Richard Licht, R.I. director of administration, said in prepared remarks. “We are already moving forward with a revamped personnel request process to save time in the hiring process, and we are drafting a Request for Proposals to begin addressing our classification system.”

According to a release, Chafee’s budget includes $1 million over two years to fund a comprehensive classification study. The budget also includes the executive director of human resources position, which was recommended in the report.

“The executive director will play an integral part in developing and implementing the personnel reform package,” said Licht in a statement.

The Segal Group study was the result of months of stakeholder interviews, independent research and work with an advisory committee, said a release from Chafee’s office.

To see the full report, click HERE.

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