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City looks to strategies to retain, recruit employees

City Council to oversees many changes
2020_07_24_LL_Longmont_council_chambers_work
Terrance Shroyer, with Warehouse by Design, installs new seats in Longmont City Council Chambers on July 1, 2020. Council chambers were recently remodeled and the work included changes to make the room more accessible to people with disabilities. (Photo by Julie Baxter)

 

The city of Longmont is studying ways to retain and attract employees in a time of unprecedented change in the workplace, city officials said Tuesday.

Many present and prospective city employees are seeking better pay but also flexible work hours to allow more time outside of work and employers are reacting to that trend, City Manager Harold Dominguez told the city council.

“We are seeing a tremendous amount of competition for our employees, a lot of people are recruiting from different organizations,'' said Dominguez, who has been city manager for 10 years.  “It’s the highest I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”

“Work-life balance and flexibility is one of the biggest issues we are facing,” he told the council. Dominguez spoke during a presentation from a city team called the Workforce of the Future which was called to analyze current trends related to recruitment, retention and employee motivation.

The workforce group presented its findings and recommendations to the city council to help the city respond to changes in the workforce, said Joanne Zeas, the city’s chief human resource officer.

Among the recommendations and possible actions the city could take include:

 

  • Conducting a compensation plan analysis
  • Train on flexible work hours with supervisors
  • Allow new employees to keep the vacation hours they have collected at their previous employer
  • Boost vacation time for employees who have clocked in 15 years with the city
  • Reexamine the city’s overall paid time off policy
  • Analyze on call/call back pay policy
  • Create a snow/emergency pay policy
  • Study workloads among staff members.

 

Dominguez told the council that one recent job applicant was offered more pay to work for the city but ultimately turned down the offer when the applicant’s former employer agreed to let the person work from home.

“It’s an issue of work-life balance,” Dominguez said. “It’s really what people are looking for in our recruitment process.”

The city’s workforce group found that most city employees have a strong sense of mission and enjoy good benefits, Zeas said. “In our current culture, people want to be here,” Zeas said.

However, the city is seeing increased turnover, with over 12% leaving their jobs in the past 12 months.

Typical turnover is about 8%, Zeas said. The city’s turnover is still less than the average in private industry which sits at19.5% and in  government at 7.9 % n the past five months. The city’s turnover has been 5.95% over that same five-month period, she said.

Longmont also has nearly 50% of its employees eligible to retire and turnover in key positions, Zeas said.

Several of the workforce recommendations will be presented to the city council over the next several months for approval. One may be to boost the city’s current market pay level of 101% to 102%, city officials said.


 

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