Austin City Council discusses alternative employee engagement plan at Monday work session

The Austin City Council discussed an alternative employee engagement plan with City Administrator Craig Clark at a work session following their regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening.

Clark stated that Councilmember Jason Baskin had followed up with him on the 360 evaluations discussions from the council’s previous work session.  Clark stated to the council  that Baskin had a conversation with Human Resource individuals at his employer concerning the cost of $4,500 per person for the 360’s using the company Employee Strategies, and he stated that Baskin had expressed the likelihood that there could be more cost conscious alternatives.  As a result, Clark stated that he and City Human Resources Director Trish Weichmann had met with the company Assessments International, who have a set-up fee of $1,300 and a standard 360 assessment cost of $180 for each employee.  Clark stated that the city has 33 individuals who have some level of supervision within the City of Austin, and he added that if the council were supportive of this approach, the cost would be $5,940 for the 33 individuals to conduct a more comprehensive effort.  Clark stated that the individual reports would be reviewed and would also involve a virtual coaching session that would range from 1.5- 2 hours for those who had a 360-assessment conducted on them, with the price ranging from $1,200 to $1,800 depending on the level of management. Clark stated that there are 10 executive level employees and 23 mid-level managers for a total $45,600 for all 33 assessments.  He went on to state to the council that in total, with the set-up charge, 33 individual evaluations; 10 executive one-on-ones, 23 mid-level manager one-on-ones and a two-hour council recap with the consultants, the cost would be $52,840, or approximately $1,600 per person on average, in contrast with Employee Solutions, who we were suggesting 10 evaluations at $4,500 per individual or $45,000.  After council discussion and feedback received from various city department heads and employees on hand at the work session, the council moved unanimously to approve switching providers to perform the 360 evaluations as part of the city’s employee engagement plan moving forward.

In other business at Monday night’s work session, Assistant City Engineer Mitch Wenum gave the council an update on the progress of different street reconstruction projects, and he stated that contractors will be back at the end of this week to finish paving on the 1st Street NW project.  Wenum added that if weather conditions remain favorable, sidewalks for the project will be completed, but if not, he stated that there will be a hard surface installed for the winter, with work to then be finished next spring.  Wenum went on to tell the council that curb and gutter were installed Monday for a project ongoing on 10th and 11th Avenues and 2nd Street in southwest Austin, and he added that projects on 5th and 6th Avenues and 21st St. Northwest, and on 7th Avenue Northeast are now paved and open to traffic.

The next regularly scheduled meeting for the Austin City Council will be held on Monday, November 20th at 5:30 p.m. at the City Council chambers.