Will bringing on a new APS Chief of Human Resources make a difference? The numbers say yes – big time!
As noted in a prior post (see here), Dr. Carstarphen has started to build her team here in Atlanta and one of the key members that is already on board is Pamela Hall who served as executive director of human resources in Austin and it appears likely that she will serve as Chief of Human Resources in Atlanta [sentence modified from the original]. In an effort to preview how Hall may manage the HR function in Atlanta, let’s take a look at some comparative data between the APS and AISD HR functions.
Below is a chart with some of the key data points for each of the Human Resources departments (see Notes below).
Right from the start, you will see some striking differences. The APS HR function has 54 employees to hire and coordinate 7.6 thousand employees across the district. This is in stark contrast to the Austin HR function with 43 employees that are responsible for hiring and coordinating 11.2 thousand employees. From a pure efficiency standpoint, each Austin HR employee is responsible for 260 staff versus APS HR that handles only 141 staff – that is a huge 119 difference in efficiency between the two systems. If the APS HR function was staffed at a similar efficiency ratio to Austin, the function would require 29 people – not the 54 currently working in Atlanta HR.
It is important to remember that the HR function was reviewed last year and consultants recommended a revamping of the function – as a result, we got Project Thrive which was supposed to save the district money (it did not). I would also assume that the consultants did some benchmarking on the HR function, but it is clear that they did not include Austin in their review of efficiency ratios.
So now that we have Project Thrive in place, let’s see what it gave us. Of the 54 HR staff, 24 have executive director, director or manager in their title – and they have six administrative assistants to help them with their workload. And how many staff do the 24 ‘managers’ manage – 24. That is a one to one ratio of managers to staff. It is important to understand that a general rule of thumb is for each manager there are six staff. This ratio is so far off kilter, I am not sure what else to say. But suffice it to say that Austin performs the same function with six managers not 24.
Ms. Hall – welcome aboard to APS HR. You have your work cut out for you, but let’s hope that you bring some of the same operating practices and efficiency measures that you worked with in Austin. And let’s hope that Dr. Carstarphen takes the savings from improving HR efficiency and pushes it into the classroom.
Notes – Austin separates the teacher and principal mentoring staff from the core HR function and the APS HR function has been adjusted to conform to this presentation. The staffing data for APS is based on actual staff as of 12/31/13. The AISD data is extracted from the AISD FY14 Budget information (see here – page 313).
Robert Stockwell is the financial watchdog for APS and posts at Financial Deconstruction