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Thursday, February 5, 2015

SPD Welcomes Intern Kassi!

Hello, everyone! I’m Kassi Sparks and I am the new Spring 2015 intern, with the Indiana State Personnel Department. I am currently a senior at Indiana University in the beautiful city of Bloomington IN, and will be graduating in May 2015 with a degree in Psychology.  I am also minoring in Spanish and Human Resource Management, the latter of which motivated me to find the Human Resources internship with Indiana State Personnel Department (SPD). I am excited for this internship and feel it is the perfect fit to help me figure out where I belong within the Human Resource (HR) field.

As a second semester senior, I started applying for positions that would begin upon graduation, and was not having any success. That is when I decided a internship was the perfect gateway for me to really get hands on experience with HR before I started my professional career, would add valuable experience to my resume, and has the potential to turn into a full time opportunity.  I learned about SPD's internship simply from searching online, and felt their rotational program with Employee Relations, Benefits, Compensation, and working directly on projects with HR Directors was an amazing opportunity!

I am starting my third week with SPD, and I have hit the ground running. During my first week I shadowed compensation and benefits, and met all the division directors and agency head!  I am thrilled job shadowing has been built into my experience, so I can continue to discover what direction I would like to take my HR career, whether I move into a generalist role or specialize!  I have enjoyed learning more about each specialty as it has given me the opportunity to get a feel for what it might be like to have a career in each division. For the past two weeks I have been helping Talent Acquisition with a cost analysis for a 3rd party vendor they are considering utilizing, for employment verification in the future. This included performing research, setting up and participating in meetings, working directly with the Director of Talent Acquisition, and compiling my research into a document that will be presented to the agency head. It has been a valuable experience to see behind the scenes of processes, and has taught me how much work and communication is needed to ensure SPD is finding the right candidates for each position.

This week I headed to the Department of Education to begin working on a new project, giving me the opportunity to gain experience with writing/reviewing job descriptions, salary bands, organizational charts, and performing related research. While I am sad to leave my cubicle at SPD central office, I am excited to spend the next few weeks learning from the Human Resource Director at the Department of Education! Stay tuned in for updates on my continued adventures with SPD!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Intern Michella Visits DCS!

My last rotation had me bouncing all over the place! I began the rotation working with the Department of Child Services (DCS). I have come to discover that each department within Indiana State Government has a different feel and different dynamics. All are wonderful but all are different. I enjoyed my time getting to know the HR department at DCS and I only wish that I would have been able to spend more time with them. My time with them was short as I completed the project much faster than expected. My task was to create an automatically updated document that would keep track of all of their job openings. The goal was to enable SPD access to the list so they could include some of the openings in their weekly e-newsletter, Career INitiatives. Although this was a quick project, it was a lot of fun. I had no idea how resourceful the internet can be in helping promote your company in untraditional ways!

The lovely Recruitment Associates in Talent Acquisition showed me how to create automatic “recipes” through a site called, If This Then That. This website can do so many different things and I found it fascinating that something like this actually existed and how easy it was to use. I was also able to use this site to create automatic job posting updates for DCSjobs @DCSRecruiter on Twitter. Make sure you follow them!

It took a couple of days to see how the feeds would work so during my down time, I continued to work on my previous eScreen project with DWD as well as my culture climate survey with ISMHS.  Remember how many surveys I created? Whew! It was a lot of work. The climate survey for ISMHS had closed and I was able to process the results and make the information easy to read for the Leadership team at ISMHS. I also began to analyze the surveys and see if I could come up with any recommendations. This was a lot of fun and I am glad I was able to see the end results.

Next week I will be working with Shadi Lilly again to complete the ISMHS recommendations. Then I am off to the Department of Education where I will be working on job descriptions and salary band reviews. I cannot wait to put into practice some of the concepts I am being taught at Kelley. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Intern Michella Goes to DWD!

I have been crazy busy the last two weeks working with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD). During my time with DWD I had the opportunity to help them develop candidate skill surveys (eScreens) via SurveyMonkey for eight different positions at 28 different WorkOne locations. If I am doing my math correctly, that is 244 personalized eScreen surveys! It was crazy but very important for their improved turnover retention.  The eScreen surveys help them find stronger candidates, which in turn should drastically reduces turnover.

I began this project by evaluating the feedback of the sample surveys from the various office managers. I created a location specific spreadsheet and an overall feedback spreadsheet to help track the suggested changes. I then partnered with the DWD Recruitment Consultant to determine which feedback should be implemented into the surveys. Once we had a standard survey completed and ready to go, I then had to reach out to each manager and see if their location had specific information that might be different than the standard survey.  When I received their responses, I created links for site specific eScreens and an additional link so the manger could access the applicants’ answers. By the end of the two weeks, I had created 244 eScreens and 448 links! Whew!

I enjoyed my time in the HR office at DWD. The three amazing women who work in that office are an incredible team. They get along so well and genuinely enjoy working together. I also got to be a fly on the wall and witness so much of what they do on a day to day basis. My time with them was invaluable and I am so glad I was able to help them streamline their recruiting process.

When I started my internship seven weeks ago I had no idea how many people I would meet and how much I would learn. It has been an amazing experience and I cannot wait to meet and work with the Department of Child Services for my next two weeks!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Michella works with Small Agency Field Ops

For the last two weeks I have been working with the Small Agency Field Operations division and an amazing HR Generalist/Director that supports seven small state agencies. It has been a whirlwind of meetings, navigating hallways, and walking downtown Indy as we moved around the PNC building to the IURC (Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission), OUCC (Office of Utility Consumer Counselor), Gaming divisions, ISMH (Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites), White River State Park, and the Indiana War Memorial Museum. There are so many different elevators and back hallways that take you to different parts of the PNC building and we never stayed in one spot too long. After two weeks I am still not sure if I could find my way on my own!

My biggest project was to help create a cultural climate survey for the Indiana State Museum. ISMHS has just recently restructured and wanted to know how their employees felt about the overall climate of their work environment. With the help of a focus group at ISMHS, I designed and implemented a survey via SurveyMonkey for their staff to take. Once the survey closes, the HR Director will analyze the results and develop an action plan to help strengthen any areas that need developed. I am thrilled that she has asked that I join her in reviewing the results and developing the plan. That means I will get to spend a day or two in November with her.
Another project I was involved in was updating the Indiana Fair Employment posters and OSHA 300 forms for the agencies she works with. There were some new updated guidelines for the posters so we had to make sure that the newest posters were displayed in a common area at the agencies.

Along with being in compliance with the Fair Employment posters and OSHA forms, I was able to update I-9 information to ensure that all agencies were in compliance. What I liked about this project is that I was able to use PeopleSoft to pull current employee information. Any time that I get to spend in PeopleSoft is valuable. Once I had current employee information, I verified that they had the proper forms, documentation, and e-verify on file. I also cleaned up existing forms and moved separated employees into the appropriate binder.

Although we were always on the move and never in the same office for more than a couple of hours, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the different sites. Being able to see “behind the scenes” at ISMHS, White River State Park, and the Indiana War Memorial Museum was amazing. I even had a personal tour of the Red, White, and Blue room at the Indiana War Memorial by the General himself! I had never been inside of the War Memorial Museum and was thrilled to learn that it is open to the public. If you haven’t had a chance to tour, you must take some time and visit.

For the next two weeks I will be working with the Department of Workforce Development. I am excited to learn more and meet new people!

Friday, October 24, 2014

SPD Welcomes Intern Michella!

Hello everyone! I’m Michella Jameson and I am the fall intern at the Indiana State Personnel Department. I am excited to share my experiences through this blog. I am not a traditional college student. In fact, I am a middle-aged college student! Going back to school has been an adventure and one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I spent many years moving from state to state, following my husband’s career. During those years of moving, I was raising four wonderful children. I was also working part-time at many different jobs in many different industries. When I decided to complete my degree, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to make a difference at the heart of the business world. So how do you bring heart to business? You earn a degree in HR! I am currently a senior at Kelley School of Business, Indianapolis where I will graduate in May, 2015 with a degree in Human Resources, Management, and International Studies.

I learned about this internship through a professor at school. She expressed what a great opportunity it was and I agreed. I was worried that an internship meant doing a lot of clerical or filing work, but this one promised real experience as you rotated through several different agencies throughout state government. I immediately applied and was called in for an interview. During the interview I met with Heather Whitaker, Chanel Gillies, and a summer intern. It was a great conversation that had me crossing my fingers hoping I would get the job. A couple of weeks later I was able to interview with the SPD Talent Acquisition Director, Nicole Russell. This interview was done over Skype, which was something different and new for me.

I am coming up on my third week with the SPD. During my first week I was been able to job shadow compensation, benefits, and employee relations. Each department within SPD is specialized and very different. I enjoyed learning more about each area as it gave me the opportunity to get a feel for what it might be like to have a career in that department. For the past two weeks I have been helping Talent Acquisition with some projects within PeopleSoft. I cannot express enough what a valuable opportunity it has been to spend some time getting to know this HRMS program. One of the projects I worked on was creating sourcing links for the Indiana Department of Correction webpage. These links will allow the DOC to post an immediate link of all location specific job openings to the State of Indiana job bank.

Next week I am headed to the Indiana State Museum where I will spend two weeks working on some new projects. I am sad to leave SPD’s Central Office, as they have all been so nice and welcoming. But I am excited to learn more and just maybe I will be able to have some fun at the museum! Check back in a couple of weeks for my continued adventures.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Karen Visits FSSA!

I’ve spent the last three weeks in FSSA, the Family and Social Services Administration. This agency is responsible for distributing funds to care providers for children, the aging, the disabled, and other vulnerable populations in Indiana.  Like, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Child Services, FSSA is a very large agency with many, many employees and widespread locations.

Much of the agency’s workforce is retiring in the next five to seven years, and some key positions will lose many employees all at once. To prevent a crisis, FSSA is recruiting a large volume of people to fill the positions that will become vacant in the near future. In addition to current positions becoming open due to retirement, many new positions have been created and approved, and these too must be filled.

My main project during this rotation was to source for one particular position at dozens of schools and job sites. Thirty Disability Claims Adjudicator positions are open, and they need to be filled as quickly as possible. Because of this, I posted jobs as school and job boards based in other states as well as Indiana, and opened the position up for all majors and areas of study to get the maximum number of applicants. My other project during this rotation was updating employee information in PeopleSoft, which helped me get more familiar with the program and its capabilities.

The main lesson I learned at this agency was how important it is to be aware of who is in your workforce and when and how they might leave. If you don’t stay on top of this as an HR professional, you could end up with a large number of vacancies in key business areas, and your business will almost certainly be negatively affected.  It was also interesting to learn how difficult it truly is to get a qualified pool of applicants to apply for one open position, let alone 30. To get 30 qualified applicants, we’d probably need a few hundred general applications! This taught me that there’s much more to hiring than simply going through applications and choosing the right candidate – getting a pool of good applicants is a challenge all in itself.

Sadie works with Small Field Ops and AGO!

The past three weeks I have spent my time with the Small Agency Field Operations division. As I’m sure you can guess this division is responsible for many small agencies with the State of Indiana ranging from one single employee to about 300 employees per agency.  I had the pleasure of working with the HR Generalists for the Department of Education and the Adjutant Generals Office. Both of these were very different experiences, but both extremely educational.

The HR generalist for the Department of Education (DOE) just recently promoted into this position from another HR Generalist position within the State Personnel Department. In her new role, she is also responsible for a few other agencies but DOE is her biggest. While she was getting settled in and getting familiar with her new agencies, I helped her with numerous things to get started. The first thing I did was update all of her offer letters so that they would be specific to DOE. Then I put together a letter for her to send out to supervisors when they have a new employee starting with them. The letter included information such as a start date, starting salary, where the employee will be their first two days on the job, what equipment they will be receiving, and what badge access they will have. This, to me, was a great letter for the supervisors to have so that they are not in the dark about what is happening with their new employee.

The big project that we tackled was the DOE OnBoarding packet. When an employee starts, they have a full day of OnBoarding with the state. In addition, they also have OnBoarding their second day for DOE specific information. There was information in the packet that had not been revised in quite some time, so we went through all of the documents and updated them. There were policies that had changed, new employees that needed to be added to the contact list, and information that didn’t need to be in there at all. This was a great way for me to learn about reading and updating policies, as well as knowing more about DOE’s OnBoarding process.

I learned so much about day to day activities that happen in HR, as well as how to deal with employee relations matters. I had some experience with employee relations when I was with the Department of Health, but it was nice to see how different people handle different situations. It really gives you an idea of the steps that you need to take for discipline, and how to gauge if the discipline fits the situation. Everything I learned will be nice to take with me in my future with HR.

After I was done with DOE, I spent a week at Camp Atterbury working with the Adjutant Generals Office (AGO). I met with the AGO’s HR Generalist to discuss what I would be doing during this rotation. She told me that I would be job shadowing the gun range target technicians so that I could fill out a Job Analysis Questionnaire (JAQ) for them in order to get their job reclassified. The JAQ consists of questions such as what duties you perform, what responsibilities you have, and what kind of working conditions you have to endure. They are looking to get this position reclassified because there is so much technology and new work that has been assigned to this position over the past ten plus years since it was last reclassified.

I had a wonderful experience while working with the target tech crew. Their job has so many aspects to it that I don’t know how they manage to get everything done. They maintain thousands of electronic remote targets on 62 gun ranges. These ranges vary in size from less than an acre to 3 miles long. Not only do they have to make sure all of the targets and all electrical work is running properly, they also have to mow and upkeep the ground maintenance for all 62 ranges and the roads and trails that lead to the ranges. The sheer volume of maintenance that they have to do is astounding, but they manage to keep everything in perfect working condition so that military units, law enforcement, and civilians can get all of the proper training they need for real life combat or hostile situations.

The target tech’s main goal is safety. They are responsible for the safety of themselves and their coworkers while they are working on the ranges. They also supervise a crew of offenders from the Edinburgh Correctional Facility whose safety they are responsible. They have to ensure the offenders are using equipment properly as well as wearing the correct protective gear while they are running the equipment. Their job also requires them to run scenarios through a software program to ensure that everyone is getting the proper training they need on the ranges. Without the proper training, the military units or law enforcement teams could be put into real life situations that they may not know how to handle. These workers are dedicated to the safety of others and will do whatever is required of them if it means saving a life.

Aside from all of the insects and rodents I encountered, I had a fantastic experience at Camp Atterbury. I saw a total of 13 deer, 4 of which were babies, learned a vast amount about the military and how they train, and met some really wonderful people. I also want to say that I got to drive an old Army fire tank. The target techs use it if they have a brush fire or need to put a fire out on one of the ranges. That tank was huge and driving it was probably one of the coolest things that I have ever done. I had a great week full of excitement that I will never forget.

My internship is winding down and I will be spending my last week back with the Talent Acquisition Division!