Organizational Excellence

Be an innovative, effective, engaged, and transparent organization focused on quality programs and services.

Goal 3, Objective 3

Support employee professional growth and retention by investing in high-quality training, development, and leadership programs.
On Track 30%

Updated: January 2023

Summary of Objective Implementation Status

The Workforce Development Unit of the Human Resources Department is responsible for implementing this major strategy of Organizational Excellence by helping to ensure that the County of Sonoma is an employer of choice with a diverse workforce that reflects our community; sustains a positive work culture that builds engaged and dedicated employees; equips employees to be successful in the performance of their duties and consideration for promotions; and provides exceptional services to its various customers.

Workforce Development is specifically tasked with developing the overall training program for the County’s almost 4,000 employees, including curricula and content, communication and marketing, management of training vendors, expanding expertise in Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), and evaluation of the County’s training program with an equity lens. To meet this task, Workforce Development has developed a comprehensive program proposal and is in the process of getting stakeholder input and feedback on the entire program including competencies on which it is based.

The proposed plan includes an entry/middle management “Emerging Leader” program.  The objective of this program is to develop supervisory and managerial skills that can be applied immediately to increase effectiveness and engagement. Leadership principles and practices addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion will be incorporated throughout the curriculum through examples, cases, and activities.

All program/course competencies are categorized under these associated Five Values of the County of Sonoma:

  1. EQUITY: race or ethnicity does not determine outcomes in critical markers of health, well-being, and wealth; process in which the voices and contributions of people of color, low income, and other underrepresented and underserved communities are explicitly valued to identify solutions to achieve that outcome.
  2. EXCELLENCE: commitment to superior public service by ensuring all processes and operations are necessary, clearly defined, and efficiently designed.
  3. ACCOUNTABILITY: ownership of actions, being fiscally responsible, and results driven, so that success is aligned with community outcomes.
  4. COLLABORATION: City partners, community stakeholders, employees, and the public working together to support common values and achieve shared goals.
  5. INNOVATION: creating an environment for County staff to move projects forward, support new ideas and increased efficiency, and develop solutions that have the greatest public benefit.

The program proposal outlines the recommended programs, competencies, and curricula to effectively fulfil Workforce Development and Strategic Plan objectives. The program recommendations capture the state-of-the-art in talent management education, model practice in public service, and research findings in group work and personal well-being. They also incorporate the expertise, experience, and contributions from a variety of sources to prepare for and meet the challenges that the County of Sonoma faces in the present and near future. Workforce Development will continue to evolve in approaches, material, and scope as the need and circumstances require and allow. The program proposal builds upon previous Workforce Development achievements, as well as directs its resources to additional innovative and timely training methods and content.

Implementation of the proposal will depend upon the use of contracted trainers and presenters that align with the key elements of the Workforce Development objectives. Of special interest will be those consultants who can partner in forming the new comprehensive and customized Supervisory and Manager curriculum for the Emerging Leader Program. Based on the instant employee workforce demographic, there are higher concentrations of diversity at the non-executive level. Additional resources will be specified to improve diversity at all levels of the organization, which will position the County to better serve all segments of our community.

The County’s reliance on OD consultants, vendors, and SMEs rests on the stated assurances and documented evidence that their presentation media, training materials, and course contents reflect the best practices in adult education, meet County Workforce Development objectives, and directly relevant to public service, government employees, and organizational leadership.

Key Milestone Update

  • Compete for Funding ($5million) January/February, 2022 – complete
  • Continue the executive leadership program (SoCoHIGHER) March , 2022 and on-going
  • Develop a process for updating competencies for each level of employment. – September , 2022
  • Review current training course offerings and identify/develop and on-going courses for each employment level – January , 2023
  • Develop an entry/middle management employee development “academy” – February , 2023
  • Review programs annually for effectiveness and update as needed – December , 2023 and on-going

Coordination and Partnership Update

Intersection with Racial Equity and Social Justice (RESJ) Goal 1 – Objective 2 – Invest in an ongoing and continually developing racial equity learning program, including understanding the distinction between institutional, structural, interpersonal, and individual racism for County leadership and staff by end of 2021. • Coordinate with implementation lead on competencies and identify training for academies as appropriate. Intersection with RESJ Goal 2 – Objective 1 – Identify opportunities to enhance recruitment, hiring, employee development, and promotional processes to reflect the value of having the perspectives of people of color represented at all levels in the County workforce. Partnerships with cities – Re-establish the opportunity for cities to access County training programs on a fee basis. .  

Community, Equity, and Climate Update

HR will consult with the Office of Equity to ensure we apply an equity lens through the process beginning with the review of competencies. As included above, we will collaborate with cities to re-establish opportunities for cities to access County training programs on a fee basis. On-line training reduces employee travel and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in support of the County’s climate objectives

Funding Narrative

HR received $50,000 one-time in 21/22, and $25,000 on-going starting in 22/23.  An additional $25,000 request for ongoing funding for Mid-Manager Training Academy beginning in FY 23/24 has been requested as part of the Year 2 Strategic Plan Funding Request process.