COVID-19 transitioned life for everyone, with many organizations promoting changes they’ve made in the interest of public safety.
HR Director Stacey Black said the internal changes initiated through COVID-19 are not always visible.
“Our department’s efforts have been two-fold so that we’re protecting the public, but also protecting our greatest asset, our employees,” she said. “We’ve implemented social distancing guidance, provided PPE and enabled employees to work from home so that our team can be at their best in serving the Southlake community.”
For City of Southlake Talent Acquisition Partner Rebecca Hart, work pivoted briefly in March 2020 from recruiting candidates and hiring to COVID-19 expert.
“Taking COVID-19 calls parallels what I do in recruiting beautifully,” she said. “I’m talking with employees, listening, empathizing and documenting. I’ve really enjoyed the transition.”
Now that recruiting has picked back up, Hart finds herself still discussing COVID-19 through the lens of how the City is addressing the pandemic for candidates and employees. Recruiting and hiring has turned virtual with video interviews by optimizing technology the City already utilized. Hiring managers have entrusted her to narrow down candidates through phone and virtual interviews to limit in-person interactions.
Hart compared working for the City of Southlake to being on the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. Employees don’t want to lag behind, they want to step their game up to Michael Jordan’s level.
Ever since her first day on the job, Hart feels a sense of pride working for the City and like she has always been part of the team.
“We’re a team of high-quality employees. Everyone wants to rise to the occasion and be the best they can possibly be,” she said. “It’s inspiring.”
One of the things the City excels at, according to Hart, is playing to each employee’s strengths and putting them in positions for success. That’s where her coworker Dylan Welch has truly shined.
Welch has taken on the project of going digital with HR forms.
“Working with paper forms, we’re printing, signing and scanning into the system with each and every form,” he said. “My goal is to create evergreen forms so that employees can easily access the information they need and turn them in without extra, unnecessary steps.”
During open enrollment each year, Welch estimated it takes the team six hours to stuff envelopes with 13,000 sheets of paper with benefits information, in addition to the countless hours spent preparing and printing the information and the data entry once the forms are submitted. His goal for this year is to eliminate paper open enrollment forms for 2020, along with all of the time associated with paper, saving weeks spent on this project alone.
Form creation entails more than just scanning previous paper forms. Digital forms are created from scratch, analyzing the necessary information for the form and redesigning when needed. Welch also has the tedious task of pre-populating regularly used information like an employee’s name, and then tests the form so any issues can be fixed.
“What’s been great about this project and working at Southlake is that there’s very little direction, and that’s by design,” Welch said. “I have the freedom to create something great for our employees and have been entrusted to do my job to the best of my ability. It’s empowering to take on an enormous project like this and really own it.”
The City of Southlake prides itself on the attitude and behavior of its employees to make The Southlake Way a mindset, culture and service strategy.
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