Division of Human Resources – Division, Facility and School HR Offices
Now that you have been introduced to the core functions and responsibilities of the central HR office, it is time to overview the division and facility human resources offices.
The field HR offices often comprise both human resources specialists and generalists. The use of specialists or generalists depends on the number of HR staff employed in the particular division or facility HR office. The number of HR staff is often determined by the total number of employees in a division or facility.
Examples of specialists include an Employee Relations Specialist or a Classification Analyst. Examples of generalists include Salary Administration-Recruitment Associate or Benefits-Worker’s Compensation Associate. It is common for a human resources generalist to have two or more assigned areas of responsibility (i.e., salary administration, benefits and workers compensation).
The role of the field HR offices is to implement federal, state, department as well as local human resources policies and procedures that are specific to local program operations. This is done through ongoing planning, consultation, technical assistance, training and problem solving with managers and employees.
As you gain experience and familiarity with the state human resources system, you will gain an understanding of where to go for assistance. Throughout the DHHS-HR central and field office human resource organization, there are many experts to assist you with questions about your work.
As a matter of protocol, your first point of contact is with your human resources manager or experienced coworker. They will ensure you get the resources or answers you need.
Once you learn your job and demonstrate the ability to work independently, central office specialists can provide you with technical assistance although your manager is the first place you should go for answers. Central office specialists normally address intricate policy and procedural inquiries, provide best practice information, respond to personnel actions where department approval and/or a historical perspective is required and review sensitive situations.
In the normal course of your daily work, your field HR peers in other offices are excellent resources. Often, your officemates and field office peers are the best resource on how work is managed, applied and processed within a division or facility.
Once you become fully independent and competent in your role, your job may require daily contact with agencies outside of human resources. Examples may include the communication and/or transaction of employee information with the state retirement system, state health plan, employment security or workers compensation vendor. Your human resources manager may ask you to research sensitive, complex or unprecedented transactions. This may require that you refer such issues to a central office specialist.
Like most human resources offices, there are considerable written references, policies, and manuals used daily to perform daily tasks. Your primary work references are:
- State Personnel Policies
- DHHS Human Resources Policies
- BEACON Processes
- Local policies that your division or facility may have issued
Applying personnel policies and procedures can be complicated, especially when the state, DHHS, divisions, facilities or schools may have policies that are unique to their particular needs. Below is an example of the state’s compensatory leave policy that demonstrates how a state policy can be applied differently by DHHS-HR and a DHHS facility:
- The state’s compensatory leave policy requires agencies to be consistent in how overtime hours are either accrued or paid. There is no earning cap of compensatory hours accrued.
- DHHS developed a compensatory leave policy that complies with the state’s policy. The DHHS policy requires divisions to cap the compensatory hours earned at 80. DHHS allows facility employees to accrue more than 80 hours since facilities are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- A DHHS facility implements a compensatory leave policy that meets its business need and limits compensatory hours at 80 even though this is not required by department or state policy.
Therefore, when applying a policy, such as the compensatory leave policy used in the example above, a rule of thumb is to first apply the local policy as it should comply with DHHS and OSP policies. If there is no local policy, then apply the DHHS policy and then the OSP policy, as applicable. In case there is no clear policy or procedure, contact your human resources manager for direction. As a matter of protocol, central DHHS-HR is the primary contact and liaison with the Office of State Personnel regarding policy questions and interpretation to policy. Also as a matter of protocol, if there is a policy conflict, State Personnel policies take precedent over DHHS, DHHS-HR and facility or division policies.