Victor City Council met Wednesday, March 8th, and updated their hours and fringe benefits hoping to not only retain but also draw more long-term employees.
The updates flow from workforce trends accelerated by the pandemic, while also reflecting the city’s desire to stay competitive in a quickly changing employment market.
Council directed staff to order an independent third-party compensation study (completed in 2022) to determine the relative competitiveness of the City of Victor in the employment marketplace.
Victor hired BestDay HR to perform the study, which compared the City of Victor to nine regional peers.
“We were trying to figure out a way to get creative and implement things we liked and know the staff would appreciate in a small city like Victor. As we started looking at the current benefits we had as a city, we’re in a good place compared to the comp set. The city pays for 100% of health insurance, which is a huge asset. A lot of the metrics looked good. We realized the fringe benefits were where we could and should make positive changes and updates. Paying attention to the global tech companies that compete heavily for the same employees and what they’ve been able to implement also helped,” said Mayor Will Frohlich.
Council’s interest in making Victor a great place to work convinced staff to recommend changing the work week from five to four days and many other innovative policy proposals designed to retain and attract talented employees.
The study also showed that despite offering competitive wages, the city of Victor has had difficulty retaining employees at the median rate.
Median employee tenure in the public sector is 6.8 years, whereas employees in the City work in Victor average 1.5 years. This directly shows employees are seeking both flexible and fulfilling positions. The Staff believes implementing benefits and adopting a condensed work week would establish the City as a regional leader in the public sector while at the same time serving the public with longer hours.
City Hall hours will change from 8:30 am — 5:00 pm (Monday thru Thursday) and 8:30 am — 12 noon on Friday to Monday through Thursday 8:00 am — 6:00 pm and remain closed on Fridays.
If closing Friday seems like a hardship to residents the City of Victor’s new revamped website, set to launch in late March, will allow the public to file applications, check on their status, and pay for most fees and services without visiting City Hall.
“The goal is to have everyone more present at work for a longer amount of time to serve the community. Other entities in Teton valley have this flexible work schedule, plus most people live here for outdoor activities like fishing, biking, skiing, etc. If you don’t have a balance, people burn out and move on. It came down to how we could improve access to city hall to the community while giving our staff a better work-life balance,” said Mayor Frohlich.
Responding to people in Victor whose schedule didn’t allow them to stop by city hall was important.
“We hope that those expanded hours will help capture some of the people that wouldn’t otherwise be able to visit city hall; like commuters, construction/labor workers, or parents busy dropping their kids off at school. Hopefully, they’ll be able to find time earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon to come by and work with us to conduct city business,” shared city administrator Jeremy Bresbis.
For exempt-salaried employees, Friday’s closure would technically mean a day off. Exempt employees who choose not to work on Fridays would not be required to use paid time off.
The standard work week for exempt-salaried staff would be reduced to 36 hours. Because the duties of said employees would remain the same, most will use Friday as a “flex” day by working a partial day at the office or working from home.
Additionally, Non-exempt employees will enjoy two paid hours each week to take part in a wellness activity. If used, these hours should benefit employees and the public both by reducing missed work days and encouraging a healthier workplace. To better compete with other employers, a $350 annual wellness reimbursement will be given.
“One thing Jasmine Griffin, finance director, and I are proud of is that we were able to solve this problem without impacting the budget. Everything we did by looking at the fringe benefits was budget neutral, except adding the $350 annual wellness benefit. This is creative problem-solving in terms of trying to figure out how to make this a more attractive place to work without just throwing dollars at the problem,” said Bresbis.
Mayor Frohlich had high praise for those on staff who made these changes happen.
“Bringing Jeremy and Jasmine on board, we finally had the bandwidth to chase after this. We want Victor to be one of the best places in the valley to come to work,” said Frohlich.
Everything will be more streamlined with the new website and Mayor Frohlich explained how things are evolving nicely at city hall.
“This wasn’t a quick decision. You’re not going to take steps forward to accomplish this without having a professional work environment with office space. We have that now. Additionally, it’s not that the city doesn’t like having the public come in, but we’re reducing that need to come in with a new website design where a lot of that stuff will be automated. We needed the toolkit to be expanded, so to speak. Beyond the bandwidth of staff being able to tackle something of this size, having the support of elected officials support the decisions we’ve made has been helpful. A lot of other things had to fall in place first to get to this point,” said Frohlich.
For more information, visit the City of Victor website at https://www.victoridaho.gov/
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