Monday, December 12, 2016

Living the Dream in SPD - by Ashley Spears

Tuesday, 10/25/16:
This past week, I had the opportunity to experience many different aspects of Human Resources. I first began my week by attending one-on-one meetings with SPD agency leadership and job shadowing the Employee Relations team. Matt Brown, Employee Relations counsel, began our one-on-one session by introducing the background of Employee Relations, the team players in Employee Relations, and discussing the Family Medical Leave Act. He then introduced his coworkers, Alan Ferguson and Taylor Pennell, who went into more detail about Family Medical Leave. After hearing their presentation, I developed a deeper understanding of the rules, regulations, and process of requesting time off.

The next group of Employee Relations personnel I shadowed were Drew Hewitt and Sean Brown. They spoke with me about civil service complaints. A few weeks prior, I gained knowledge of civil service complaints by interning at Department of Child Services and taking part in an employee relations project. Because of that, I was familiar with a few components of the civil service complaint process but was not familiar with the history of classified/unclassified workers. Drew and Sean caught me up on the differences between classified versus unclassified workers.

I then met with Lavenia Haskett, who was an amazing presenter!! Lavenia first began her presentation by giving me a paper clip and asking me the question, “What could you do with this paper clip?” I answered her question in practical purposes but would never guess what one guy named Kyle MacDonald came up with. Lavenia showed me his video called, “What if you could trade a paperclip for a house?” which showed how one guy traded up one red paperclip to a house. She used this video as an illustration of how accommodations for disabilities are handled. Just like the guy in the video, accommodations are often times trial and error. Her presentation was extremely helpful in understanding the process and what is acceptable for accommodations.

The next presenters were Anthony Gibson and Terri Miller. I really found their work to be intriguing in how they take measures to make sure the government is not underutilizing affected classes or discriminating. After their conversation, I met again with Matt Brown joined by Betsy Huffman to discuss the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), State Employees’ Appeals Commission (SEAC) and unemployment. I then met with Jordan Bolden who spoke about investigations regarding alleged misconduct in the workplace. Having an investigative mindset, I really enjoyed speaking with Jordan. Last but not least, I spoke with Employee Relations Director Bruce Baxter. Bruce cleared the air on questions I had related to employee relations and job opportunities in human resources. It was inspiring to hear his story on how he got to be where he is today.
Thursday, 10/27/16,
Today I traveled to Indiana School of the Blind and Visually Impaired to job shadow Heather Whitaker. Over at ISBVI, I was able to live the life of a Human Resources generalist in the education field. It was such a beautiful campus with the leaves turning colors and being on the Monon trail. I enjoyed my time there and seeing what life portrays as a generalist.

Friday, 10/28/16:
Interviews!! My boss, Adam Beasley, and I conducted interviews for our spring internship. I sat in on the interviews and was able to ask interviewees questions. After our interviews we discussed our ideas on the candidates. I am really starting to enjoy recruiting!!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Living the Dream in SPD - By Ashley Spears

Week 2-Week 3

Putting my investigative mind to test at DCS:

Employee Relations!!!! The area of human resources that is by far my favorite! As you all know from last week’s post, I was at the Department of Child Services for the past two weeks. Camille Rowley, had asked if I would help her with an employee relations project at the DCS office. This project involved going through employee relations files and analyzing the situation, the resulting action taken by the company / employee and the category of the incidents. We then went on to enter the information contained in the files into a database for quick access for future use. By reading through the employee relations files, I was able to learn how DCS handles their administrative investigations, civil service complaints and workplace harassments.   

Camille was an extremely resourceful mentor during this project. Upon arrival to DCS, I attended a meeting to discuss the changes coming to the department in 2017 and prior achievements in 2016. It was a rewarding experience to sit in on that meeting to learn more on how this department is structured and run. Only being an intern at DCS for a few hours, I was elated to be included in their discussion. Throughout the meeting Aiesha Peterson-Smith asked if I had any comments to add regarding each topic. I was able to share my comments openly and felt honored to be given a moment to speak. Aeisha, as well as her colleagues, always made a point to include me during their meetings. I attended two other meetings while interning at DCS. One meeting was in relation to planning a management training session for lawyers in DCS. The last meeting dealt with improving job descriptions and interview questions for caseworkers.

During my time at DCS, I was also able to have meetings with Michael Ackerman and Jennifer Jones. While speaking with Michael, I was able to gain insight into how DCS uses Human Resources data for recruiting and hiring caseworkers and caseworker manager. While speaking with Jennifer, she showed me how they program that data using excel spreadsheets. It was fascinating to hear how data plays a huge part in hiring accurately in DCS.

Giving Farewells to Denny Darrow
During my last day at DCS, I attended the farewell open house for Denny Darrow. Denny was leaving to take the Human Resources vice president position at Purdue University.  I had only known Denny for a few months but I felt I had known him for years. The reason I say that is because Denny would always acknowledge my presence and make a point to speak with me upon running into me in the Government building. Even if Denny was on his way to a meeting, he would stop what he was doing and ask how my internship was going. That meant a lot to me that he would take time to get to know me.

I noticed at the open house I was not the only one who felt appreciated by Denny. Employees expressed their appreciation through speeches and songs. Bruce Baxter wrote a humorous song about Denny’s farewell. While Bruce played the guitar and the band sang, the employees chimed in and sang the chorus. It was heartwarming to see what a difference Denny made in the lives of every individual at SPD.  I looked up to the way he interacted and lead his employees. He described his leadership style at the open house as an “upside down pyramid.” The kind of leadership that is focused on helping people grow and develop. The workers are the ones that drive the organization toward success. He was extremely proud of the accomplishments that his employees at SPD achieved during his time as director. Denny Darrow was an incredible, amiable leader who is definitely missed this week in SPD. I wish him the best at Purdue University. Boiler up!!

To Be Continued: Week 3-Week 4
Next week I make my way back to SPD’s talent acquisition office. My responsibility is to recruit for our spring internship position.

During Week 4 on Tuesday October 25, I am job shadowing in employee relations with Matt Brown. On Thursday, October 27 I am job shadowing Heather Whitaker. Lastly on Friday, October 28, I am conducting interviews for our spring internship position.

Next week is full of adventures!