National Association of Counties * Washington, D.C. Vol. 31, No. 13 * July 5, 1999
A Weapon of Mass Construction
HR Doctor columns in the past have highlighted the many liabilities faced by local governments and, indeed, all employers when proactive issues of human resource management are ignored.
When employers lack policy, training and follow-through actions in modern HR, the result can be low morale, high legal costs and liabilities, public service failures, loss of funds, as well as time and productivity, poor employee relations and much more. Poor HR management leads to a form of self-imposed decay, waste and in effect, organizational self-destruction.
It is also critically important for managers to understand that "proaction" in HR management also brings with it opportunities to build a better organization and more successful public service. HR can be a positive force in "mass construction" if certain basic principles are followed by organizational leaders:
Quite the contrary, HR in the 21st century has to be responsive, innovative and timely so that the fire chief will recognize that her own agencys success will not be achieved without involving Human Resources. The public works director, the county attorney, the human services director, and every other manager in the organization needs to know that HR is "on station" and ready to help them identify, stop and correct potential liabilities.
A reactive, understaffed and unaccountable HR office will not be able to perform this key part of its basic reason for existence.
County governments are complicated agencies, often with literally scores of services provided by its departments, divisions, offices, bureaus and sections. HR is one of the few agencies in a county that is in a position to observe and participate in over-arching organization-wide trends. The others, of course, include the budget office, the county attorneys office and the office of the county manager or county administrator. HRs perspective, knowledge of the law and practice in a fast-changing environment should make it a very valuable counselor, mentor and advisor to every agency in the government.
None of this will happen if the HR staff is not trained, motivated and challenged not to mention recognized. The kind of HR management described above turns HR into a potent force in the organization for positive change. In this case, HR itself should be thought of as an agencys "weapon" of mass construction.
Best wishes and dont hesitate to contact the HR Doctor with your
comments or questions as you enhance public service to the people of your
(If you have questions for the "HR Doctor," e-mail him
Rosenberg is the Human Resources director for Broward County,