The purpose of this companion guide is to review the role of civil service agencies in the succession planning process. It is intended to be a companion to Our Workforce Matters, a publication written as a succession planning guide for state agencies but also relevant for use by municipal appointing authorities facing the same workforce issues.
As appointing authorities set out ambitious plans to improve services, they face enormous challenges recruiting and retaining staff to make it all happen. The workforce is aging. Retirements will increase over the next few years. Finding qualified candidates may be difficult in a wide range of occupations, including information technology, accounting/auditing, nursing, other health professions, teaching, and engineering, to name a few. Statewide and nationwide, the number of workers in the 25-44 year old range has declined.
These issues provide many challenges for civil service administrators. As an appointing authority faces these problems he/she may need to redesign programs, and, as a result, this will affect the staffing of agencies. Civil service administrators will need to be prepared to provide assistance in addressing the changing staffing needs of the agencies under their jurisdiction. The assistance may require modifying existing classification patterns, or it may require new and innovative approaches to recruiting qualified candidates. It will be important that civil service administrators be partners with appointing authorities in solving these difficult and complex problems.
It is important to remember that the role of civil service is to provide assistance and recommendations to help appointing authorities. It is also the role of civil service to provide classification assistance to facilitate changes in work that may result from succession planning. It is the responsibility of appointing authorities to determine the mission of their agencies, how many employees to hire, and the duties to be performed. It is the civil service agency's responsibility to classify those positions and facilitate the recruitment and selection of qualified candidates to perform the work. It will require close cooperation and constant communication between the appointing authorities and civil service to accomplish these tasks.
The ability to respond positively
to the human resource challenges over the next several years will be
an important and critical role of the civil service agency. Taking the
time to understand the succession planning process will go a long way
toward preparing you and your agency for that role.
As a civil service administrator,
you can help appointing authorities in their succession planning by
being well versed in the procedures and giving assistance throughout
the process. You should be familiar with the steps involved, and know
the areas to which you need to provide direct assistance and areas to
which you can provide guidance. Your advice should be flexible to the
particular needs of the department, agency or civil division you are
assisting. By walking appointing authorities through the process, you
It is important that the first step identify a manageable scope for the project. It should be something that can be accomplished within a reasonable period of time. The main task of civil service is to help the appointing authority identify something that is doable and will be successful. Try to guide the appointing authority so as to not get bogged down in the mechanics of the planning and to keep the scope in the range of an accomplishable task.
The scope could involve an:
The outcome of this step is for the appointing authority to have a clear idea of where the agency is headed and to understand the impact of external factors on planning the scope.
The questions the appointing authority should consider in understanding the context of the planning effort require thoughtful reflection on the direction the agency is taking, the changing culture of the agency's organization, and its strengths and weaknesses.
In this phase, civil service should act as a resource to provide information as needed on staffing. The civil service agency's role should be to provide as much assistance as necessary to give the appointing authority the human resource information necessary to focus on where the agency is headed. Civil service administrators can provide important information such as employment trends, classification implications, and recruitment issues. (Back to Contents)
In this step, the appointing authority needs to clearly identify the functions that are to be staffed within the chosen scope and context identified. The focus will be on the functions, not the people doing them. Since it is the appointing authority's prerogative to structure the duties and responsibilities of the positions, civil service's role in this step will be minimal. However, you will need to have a general knowledge of the appointing authority's decisions, as they may ultimately result in a reduction in force of some existing positions and/or position classification and recruitment needs for new ones.
In order to determine the desired future functions within their departments, appointing authorities will be taking into consideration the timing of the potential changes. Civil service administrators will need to be aware of the changes and the timing and have direct input so that the necessary actions can be accomplished in the required time frames. (Back to Contents)
Having identified the future functions that will need to be staffed, appointing authorities in this step will focus on the type and number of personnel that will be required to perform the functions. Their focus will be on:
As a civil service administrator you should be able to provide job analysis services to appointing authorities. The goal here is to work with the appointing authority to determine what KSAs will be necessary to satisfactorily perform the desired work.
Also, since it is your responsibility to classify new positions or reclassify existing ones, you should be in frequent contact with appointing authorities during this step. Your current classification plan will be a resource for determining which existing titles would be able to provide at least some of the required KSAs.
Listed in the guide Our Workforce Matters are typical questions that appointing authorities should be considering as part of this step. As a civil service administrator, your expertise can be very valuable in assisting the appointing authorities to identify the answers to these questions.
When an appointing authority finishes the analysis on the type and number of personnel that will be needed to perform the functions, you will likely find that some percentage of the future work will be performed using existing titles. Some modification in expectations and capabilities may be needed. The remaining percentage may require position classification work to determine appropriate titles and qualifications for the new capabilities. (Back to Contents)
This step in the planning process directs appointing authorities to profile their workforce and determine what the supply of available workers will be within their departments. At this point, determining the supply assumes no hiring to replace the employees who leave. The supply is internal only.
Appointing authorities will be determining which employees now work within their departments and calculating the attrition rate. Past attrition may not be an accurate predictor of future attrition; however, it is one variable appointing authorities will use to help determine the future supply of workers necessary to provide the needed KSAs for their agencies or programs.
Civil service's role at this point will be to provide appointing authorities with information to assist them in determining both their agencies' attrition rates and the internal supplies of employees. Such information may come from roster records, position control cards, and reports of past personnel transactions. There will need to be discussions on promotion fields and collateral lines for promotion. (Back to Contents)
In this step the civil service agency and the appointing authority will be comparing the expected staffing needs against the projected internal supply and focus on identifying if there are any gaps. The gaps will be in the following areas:
Whether there is a gap for each title and, if so, the extent of the gap needs to be identified. Civil service administrators can be of assistance helping the appointing authority quantify the gap to the extent possible.
The first part of this step involves identifying where candidates will come from for the titles or positions being considered. In the Demand step, titles to accomplish the new or modified functions are identified, but not where the qualified candidates would come from. In the Supply step, the workforce is characterized, but not evaluated, in terms of whether current employees will meet the supply needs of the agency for the titles in the new or revised functions. In the gap analysis, the issues regarding where to recruit to find the necessary employees are addressed.
The appointing authority
conducts a gap analysis by comparing the internal supply of employees
with the demand. At this point civil service administrators can provide
information regarding interdepartmental promotions, transfers, eligible
lists, examinations, Section 211 requests, and other means available
to help determine the supply of external employees. In addition, frank
discussions need to take place regarding what staff will no longer be
needed and the possible effect of preferred lists on the plan.
This step is a matter of prioritizing staffing gaps in terms of the biggest impact on the success of the agency, office, division, etc. It is a process that must include the direct input and agreement from the civil service agency. The questions that follow need meaningful communication between the appointing authority and the civil service agency if the recruitment of qualified employees is to be accomplished.
In this step, potential solutions are developed to meet the staffing needs on the priority list. Care should be taken to insure that the appointing authority knows which of the needs are his/her responsibility and which rest with the civil service agency. Civil service must be an active partner in the solutions if the plan is to succeed.
The solutions typically fall into the broad categories of:
The guide Our Workforce Matters discusses each of these categories in greater detail. It is important that the civil service agency and the appointing authority work together and that each agency's needs are expressed so there is no misunderstanding as to commitments and ability to deliver. (Back to Contents)
When the solution strategies have been identified, the next steps are:
While many of the issues indicated below are the responsibility of the appointing authority, civil service administrators should also consider each of the following in planning the solutions they are responsible to implement:
Consider the following in evaluating the planning effort and preparing for the next planning project. Most of these questions will become relevant only after you are fairly far along in implementing solutions.
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