City of New York Takes Innovative Approach to HR and EEO Practices

Government employee training center becomes SHRM Recertification Provider to assist its certified professionals

By Dawn M. Pinnock, Barbara Grossman and Rajendra Persaud February 26, 2020
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L-R: Rajendra Persaud, Dawn M. Pinnock and Barbara Grossman, New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services

From left to right: Rajendra Persaud, Dawn M. Pinnock and Barbara Grossman, New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services 

The city of New York has the largest municipal workforce in the country, with nearly 400,000 employees providing vital public services to a population of 8.6 million residents. These public servants are employed in over 80 city government agencies whose HR functions present many unique challenges and opportunities for innovation. Overseeing employment policies is the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), at the heart of HR functions across city government. The agency's leadership team includes executives with decades-long careers in public service as well as public- and private-sector experience in organizational and professional development.

DCAS prides itself on being ahead of the curve in its approach to HR policies and practices. It is at the forefront on issues such as sexual harassment, employee gender identity, paid family leave and career opportunities for people with disabilities. It advances this work while fostering greater coordination and uniformity in employment practices across all city agencies and between HR and EEO (equal employment opportunity) professionals.

Training the City's Managerial, Clerical, Professional and Technical Employees

New York recognizes that investing in the knowledge and skills of its workforce is critical to fulfilling its mission. The Citywide Training Center (CTC) is the central source of training within city government for its managerial, clerical, professional and technical employees. Many of the city's HR and EEO practitioners also pursue outside credentials, and SHRM is one of the primary external entities they rely on to do so.

Certification helps public servants gain more well-rounded and global expertise in their fields, advance their professional capacities, and ensure they stay up-to-date with trends and changes in business. The entire city benefits from employing certified professionals who serve as bridges to valuable information and resources.

The CTC offers an HR Management Certificate Course in conjunction with SHRM and Pace University. This course prepares participants to sit for the SHRM certification exams and provides a solid foundation for managing HR challenges as professionals in today's demanding work environment.

When DCAS noticed that many of the city's SHRM-certified HR and EEO practitioners were often racing to attend conferences or sit in on webinars to gain the professional development credits (PDCs) required to maintain their SHRM credentials, it took the lead to resolve the issue—and further invest in its employees—by becoming a SHRM Recertification Provider itself.

SHRM Recertification Provider Status Announced at Inaugural HR/EEO Conference

In recognition of this new status, in November 2019, the city launched a two-day conference for its HR and EEO professionals titled "Our Common Ground—Connected in Purpose, Policy and Practice." DCAS informed attendees that it was now a SHRM-approved provider and, as a result, all courses offered during the conference were eligible for up to 8 PDCs. SHRM-certified attendees appreciated the opportunity to keep their skills relevant, remain informed and maintain their credentials.

The event was invaluable in bringing two important groups of professionals together to open lines of communication and share best practices. To build on this, the HR and EEO conference will be held annually. Capitalizing on the success of offering PDCs, DCAS will make some of its ongoing training courses eligible for SHRM recertification—more than 50 courses are available this spring. This month, DCAS introduced a new information-sharing forum, "Quarterly Conversations," in an effort to reach all of the city's HR and EEO practitioners and keep up the momentum of community building and collaboration.

Agency's Work Is Translatable to Private Sector, Model for Other Governments

Paramount to New York City's success as a national leader in public-sector HR and EEO practice is having its leaders and practitioners informed and aligned while ensuring equity and inclusion throughout the municipal workforce. Much of DCAS's work is translatable to the private sector and can serve as a model for other governments. SHRM is a valued partner in this work and provides vital support and enrichment opportunities for many of our HR professionals.

For more information, visit the DCAS website or Facebook page, or follow @nycdcas on Twitter and Instagram.

Dawn M. Pinnock is executive deputy commissioner of People, Operations and Risk Management for the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), and a member of SHRM and the Association for Talent Development. Barbara Grossman is assistant commissioner for DCAS Citywide Learning & Development and a SHRM member. Rajendra Persaud is executive director of Business Services within DCAS Citywide Learning & Development, a part-time assistant professor at The New School University, a SHRM member and a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

For more information on SHRM certification and to register for the exam, please visit our website.

Already SHRM-certified? Be sure to maintain your credential by recertifying. Learn more about recertification activities here.

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