Civil service reform in six states
Kim, Jung In
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Comparisons of HR practices among states that have implemented significant elements of the civil service reform agenda should contribute to developing more accurate strategic HR plans and policies by providing both scholars and practitioners with opportunities to diagnose issues and problems of the current civil service systems. Based on Hays and Sowa’s 2007 study of U.S. state governments’ personnel system changes, each state’s personnel policies, and Whalen and Guy’s 2008 study, this research found that six states, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, and South Carolina, have implemented significant elements of the civil service reform agenda, including HR decentralization, at-will employment, a narrow range of grievable issues, declined job security, pay-for-performance, and broadbanding. By focusing on these six states, the present study examines four main research questions: (1) How do state civil service systems differ?; (2) What are the key elements of each state’s civil service reform?; (3) How do HR professionals evaluate their states’ use of elements of the civil service reform agenda with regard to effectiveness?; and (4) What key factors influence HR professionals’ satisfaction with their states’ civil service reform elements? According to 2010 Civil Service Reform Assessment survey results, most states had implemented an online-hiring process, strategic workforce planning (only Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina), employee suggestion programs (no employee suggestion programs in Colorado), employee development programs, performance appraisal guidelines, workforce diversity programs, and audit systems at the time of survey administration. Six states have experienced the implementation of the civil service reform elements to different extents. Through the data analyses, the present study has found that many HR professionals who participated in the survey were not satisfied with their states’ civil service systems and civil service reform elements. For instance, overall assessment of civil service systems and civil service reform elements by HR professionals in the Missouri and South Carolina state governments who responded to the survey are less positive than other states (except in their assessment of broadbanding). Compared to them, HR professionals in Florida and Georgia who experienced radical civil service reform seemed to more positively assess effectiveness or efficiency of their states’ civil service systems and civil service reform elements. The results from ordered logistic regression analyses showed that HR professionals' perceptions of management leadership on employee value, attitudes towards resources or opportunity allocation to employees, HR professionals' perceptions of helpfulness of CSR consultation, and HR professionals’ demographic characteristics may influence HR professionals’ attitudes towards civil service systems and their assessments of civil service reform elements. The present study contributes to developing strategic and adaptable civil service reform design through the comprehensive examinations of overall civil service systems and civil service reform elements in six states that have experienced substantial civil service reforms. By exploring HR professionals’ attitudes towards civil service systems and civil service reform elements, the present study found what factors influence HR professionals’ satisfaction with or agreement with the effectiveness of civil service reform elements. The study findings have emphasized the importance of human capital management and benchmarking process management.