Shawano County gets new HR director

All departments challenged to hire, retain staff of 500-plus employees
By: 
Kevin Passon
Editor-in-chief

When you have more job openings than potential workers, it can make the job of attracting and retaining staff difficult.

Julie Hasser is up to the task.

The new director of human resources for Shawano County has nearly 20 years of HR experience in the private sector. This job in the public sector may be new to her, but Shawano County isn’t.

“We know that finding talented, educated workers that we can hire to the open positions is an ongoing challenge,” she said. “The other side of that is retaining our current employees.”

By keeping current staffing intact, it saves the time and money needed to recruit, hire and train new staff.

“That’s a big, big focus of mine — to get out and have a presence in each of our departments,” she said. “We have just over 500 employees, and I want to get out there and have a connection with them, understand what are the dynamics of their job, what does the county want from their jobs, what do the taxpayers want from the people that we’re paying. How do maximize that marriage of the two?”

Hasser, a Town of Richmond resident, started her new job Feb. 19. She was introduced to county supervisors at the Feb. 28 Shawano County Board of Supervisors meeting.

She is from the area, having spent most of her years in the Pulaski and Green Bay areas. She said she’s familiar with the dynamics of Shawano County.

“You can say there’s a difference in private and there’s a difference in public,” Hasser said. “There is, but in human resources not as much. And the reason is that everyone is a human being, and treating everyone that way is really important.”

Hasser understands that the pool of potential employees has options — either with other municipalities or with with the private sector. For workers, it’s not always just wages and benefits.

“Wage is one thing, and it’s important to be competitive in that, but there are so many other factors,” Hasser said. “They have to come to work for 40 hours out of their week. They have to enjoy that. When they leave here, they have to leave feeling fulfilled, appreciated, that they want to come back. We don’t want them to go home and look for a different job.”

Hasser is appreciative of the current staff, noting that she recently spent time becoming familiar with the Department of Human Services. Staff there deal with a variety of issues, including aging, behavioral health, child support, community services, income maintenance and more.

“There are some very talented, very highly educated individuals that we have working for us,” she said. “They can do that job and use those talents in many other spots.”

The same can be said for other departments as well.

“Keeping them is really important,” Hasser said of the staff.

She said each department unique, and none more important than the others.

In addition to the hundreds of permanent full-time and part-time employees, there are all of the seasonal employees, mostly for the parks and highway departments. For the students who often fill these positions, they now have more options than in previous years.

Another significant area for Hasser to concentrate on is worker’s compensation and creating a safe work environment.

“Reducing work injuries, making sure that your employees are safe, whether it’s technology, when they’re walking, when they’re driving, when they’re out using the equipment … creating that save environment for our employees is really, really important to me,” she said.

The county currently has more than a dozen openings to fill, and some jobs have multiple vacancies.

In early February, Marianne Peshek retired as director of the Women, Infants and Children Program. There is also a need for a WIC nutrition educator.

The highway department is hiring for equipment operators and an asphalt paving foreman.

There is an opening for an office assistant in the clerk of courts office at the courthouse. A newly created office manager for the District Attorney’s Office is still open.

Corrections officers are needed at the jail.

The library is in need of a page.

Several openings exist in the Department of Human Services. They include case manager initial assessment, clinical therapist/social worker, economic support specialist and intervention services supervisors.

There is a need for a temporary assistant real estate property lister, as well as several summer employees with the highway department and with the parks department.

For more information on these positions or to apply, visit https://www.co.shawano.wi.us.

kpasson@newmedia-wi.com