Thursday, August 14, 2014

Karen works with the Department of Child Services!

My most recent rotation was at the Department of Children Services. The department is responsible for protecting children from abuse and neglect, and provides child support enforcement and adoption and foster care services for the state of Indiana. For the first week, I shadowed the Director of Human Resources here at DCS. Having just taken the position a few weeks before, she was still gathering information about the state of the department and trying to determine how things worked and she brought me in on several meetings.

She gave me access to the DCS intranet – a place where DCS employees can go to get information, forms, and links for the policies and best practices handed down by the agency. My first assignment was cataloguing and organizing the information from the site and sending this information to the HR Director. She wanted to know exactly what was already included on the site so she could get a better idea of what needed to be added. I went through each page on the site – though I focused primarily on the human resources section – and made note of everything I saw there.

My next assignment involved EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and SEAC (State Employee Appeals Commission) complaints filed in the agency. This information had been previously compiled in a word document, but it wasn’t easy to read and it was often hard to tell what information was missing. I created an Excel database that catalogued the complaints by employee name, date, type of complaint, and the status of the complaint.

At DCS, I learned first-hand about how the momentum of a large organization can sometimes make it challenging to keep track of many moving parts. This is an issue that everyone will have to contend with in their professional career, it was great to get first-hand experience with tactfully suggesting changes while being respectful of the realities of the organization. I appreciate learning these lessons early in my career.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sadie Visits the Indiana State Department of Health!

My time with the HR team embedded within the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has been a very hands-on, interactive experience. I have been able to shadow the two HR Generalists to see first-hand what their everyday duties entail. It has been incredibly educational to see some of the issues that they have to deal with from one week to the next.

The first HR Generalist I was able to shadow is classified as an HR Generalist 2. He is responsible for most of the behind-the-scenes PeopleSoft magic when hiring new employees, running background checks, terminating employees, and so on. While working with this Generalist, I was able to send out automated offer letters and then prepare these candidates for hire within PeopleSoft. He showed me how to do the first one, coached me through a second, and then the third I did on my own. I have been through PeopleSoft training on how to do these tasks, but it was so nice to be able to actually do the process myself. This particular Generalist is also responsible for new hire orientation. During the two weeks that I was there, ISDH had five new employees and I was able to sit in on orientation to watch the process. This was also another great hands-on experience for me.

The other HR Generalist at ISDH is classified as an HR Generalist 1 which is a more senior- level position. This Generalist has a whole other set of tasks to handle on a daily basis. While shadowing this particular Generalist, I got to listen to a number of employee relation issues. Not only was I able to listen to the kind of issues that happen in this agency, I was also able to see the steps that they take to resolve those issues. In the short time I was there, I got to see different pieces of performance management including a Work Improvement Plan, a written reprimand, and a suspension. The HRG1 took me through the steps on how to document a suspension and a written reprimand, and also told me about the significance of having one of these on your record especially when it comes to layoffs. I was also able to shadow her on meetings related to succession planning and development plans. Before she went over this, I didn’t know much about these topics, and now I feel like an expert with the wealth of knowledge that she provided me.

While at ISDH I was also responsible for a few projects that included obtaining the working titles of positions from job descriptions, creating an FML guide with tips for the hiring managers to follow when their employees need to take time off, and a termination filing project. It was nice having smaller projects to do that were combined with the job shadowing of the HR Generalists. I also went through a Selection and Interviewing training for hiring managers presented by the ISDH Recruitment Consultant. This training was super informative on the interview process and what types of questions to ask and not to ask. As an additional training  opportunity, I was able to speak with an ISDH Director to learn more about what process she goes through when hiring a new employee, and how she sorts out the candidates in order to make the right choice for each position. She was able to provide me with plenty of knowledge on what she looks for when hiring a new employee.

Now, I know you are all wondering who this week’s Intern Speaker Series guest speaker was, and it was none other than the Indiana State Police Superintendant Doug Carter! He was a great motivational speaker that urged us to get out in our communities and make them a better place. He told us to encourage kindness, because the little things that we do in life can change the world.

I will spend my next two weeks with the Small Agency Field Operations group! This should be fun!