County Manager Column from Sept. 8, 2021

New workforce report shows organizational strengths and opportunities for growth

At an afternoon workshop yesterday, our Human Resources department led the presentation of the year-end 2020 Workforce Statistics report to the board of commissioners. The annual report provides a snapshot in time of the makeup of our workforce – based on year-end 2020 data – and serves as an important tool to measure our progress toward making our workforce representative of the communities we serve and becoming the premiere public employer in the metro area.

The report shows that we are the most diverse local governmental organization in the state, and with that comes a diversity of thought, experience, perspective and skills that make us stronger in serving our community.

Watch the video of the workshop

As in past years, the data in the Workforce Statistics report does not count our elected officials, temporary or intermittent employees, student workers/interns or seasonal positions such as lifeguards and election judges. The report contains countywide and Service Team statistics on race and ethnicity, gender and Equal Employment Opportunity categories that help measure our progress around the county’s strategic priorities, but especially Talent Attraction, Retention and Promotion.

Overall, at year-end 2020, we had a total of 4,024 regular full- and part-time employees – a jump from our 10-year average of 3,747 attributable to limited-duration staff brought on for our COVID-19 response.

A workforce that represents our community

As you know, Ramsey County is unwaveringly committed to equity and inclusion across all areas of our workforce. We continued to make significant strides in 2020 toward our workforce being representative of the community we serve. I encourage you to spend some time with the report in traditional format and through our open data portal, but here's a snapshot of some representative statistics:

  • We had 17,270 applications for postings with 590 new hires in 2020 – an average of more than 29 applicants for each posting.
  • 61% of our new hires were racially and ethnically diverse applicants, up from 47% just five years ago.
  • Of the 276 employees who earned promotions in 2020, 47% were racially and ethnically diverse employees – up from 44% in 2019.
  • Over the past five years, racially and ethnically diverse employees in formal leadership roles increased 10 percentage points from 17% to 27%. At 27%, our organization has double the number of racially and ethnically diverse formal leaders than the general civilian labor force.
  • The percentage of racially and ethnically diverse employees in our workforce nearly doubled since 2010, growing from 21.6% to 40% in 2020. Racially and ethnically diverse employees in our workforce significantly exceed the demographics of Ramsey County’s civilian labor force (33.3%).
  • 61% of our organization’s employees are female, including 54% of our formal leaders.
  • Five generations are represented in our workforce. In 2020, our new hires ranged from 18 to 72 years of age with the average age being 37. 
  • Of 4,024 full- and part-time employees, turnover at year-end 2020 was 9.2% compared to the 10-year average of 9.6%. For an organization of our size, this is a remarkably low turnover rate and shows that employees are choosing to stay year over year.

We continue to strengthen our efforts around attracting and hiring the best talent in the region by using new recruiting strategies that help us engage new applicant pools and diversify our workforce. The second section of today’s workshop provided an update on one of those strategies, the Public Sector Pathways Program – including the new Right Track Plus program. I am excited to share more about our successes and the future of this program in an upcoming column – stay tuned!

Striving to be the public employer of choice

Our Workforce Statistics report is one element we use to inform the county’s ongoing work to create a welcoming place where employees are valued and can do their best work in support of our mission, vision and goals.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our resources and timing on Talent Attraction, Retention and Promotion, the Workforce Statistics report shows we’re continuing to make steady progress toward our goal of being the public employer of choice in the region. Throughout the year, Human Resources has been working to realign the Talent priority timeline and integrate the four themes. In the coming weeks, we’ll be ready to share the new planned classification structure with employees. In it, you’ll be able to see clear career pathways that help us attract, develop and retain talent within our organization – so when a new employee joins us at any level, they can see on day one the next steps to advancing in their career at Ramsey County.

I encourage you again to review the full report when you have an opportunity and use it as a strategic tool to discuss the role we all play in building diversity across all departments and Service Teams in order to provide a talented, vibrant workforce representative of the communities we serve.