Steven A. Harman Associates, LLC


Human Resources Consulting

Leaders in public human resources consulting

Training and Development Services for Public Works Departments including Maintenance, Facilities and Wastewater Operations

Many training and development firms make their money by offering a "one-size-fits all" approach to their menu of services.  For some organizations, that approach may meet their expectations.  Other firms provide e-learning platforms that offer organizations an affordable option worth considering; however, e-learning platforms often lack the human interaction necessary for effective adult learning.

We are different!  We believe that training and development programs are long-term investments in your employees that when properly managed, provides a significant return on your investment.  If your current training and development program does not result in a high rate of investment return in terms of enhanced employee and organizational performance you are throwing money away!

It has been our experience that organizational leaders and managers pay little attention to the training and development needs of public works department leaders, managers, supervisors and employees.  Their training and development needs are just as important to your service delivery mission as public safety departments.

How are we different?

We are different in three important ways:

First, we understand the performance requirement and operational challenges faced by public works departments.  Paul Zolfarelli, our lead consultant has more that thirty years of municipal and private sector public works, water and wastewater operations experience.  He holds a Grade V California Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator's license and is on the faculty of two California community colleges.  Most training and development firms lack sufficient knowledge of public works operations, and as a consequence are not viewed as credible by employees, supervisors, managers and leaders.  Mr. Zolfarelli is a highly respected leader in the field and is particularly effective in communicating with employees at all levels of the organization including policy makers and community stakeholder groups.

Second, our approach is to customize training and development programs to meet the specific needs of your agency.  Our work plan starts with an environmental scan designed to understand the short and long-term goals, challenges and opportunities.  Based on that data, we prepare an analysis and recommend training and development activities.  We insure that our recommended activities are strategically aligned with your agency's mission, vision and values, and produce measurable results.  Simply put, we don't use "canned" training programs and we never will.

Third, we are affordable.  We provide custom designed training and development programs that will result in enhanced employee and organizational performance.

Below is a brief listing of the services we provide:

  • Supervisory Training - Frequently when an employee is promoted to a first line supervisor, he/she may have the required certifications, operational knowledge and desire to succeed, but lacks knowledge of basic supervisory practices, in particular the importance of "emotional intelligence" to their supervisory responsibilities.  We can customize a program specific to your agency's unique culture and performance expectations.

  • Communication Plans - Many public works departments fail to meet performance expectations because they lack an effective communication plan.  It has been our experience that public works departments operate in silos and as a consequence do not effectively communicate vital information across formal and informal organizational boundaries.  We will develop an effective communication plan that is specific to the needs of your agency.

  • On-Boarding - Now that you've hired a new employee, what can you do to help him/her be successful.  We work with your public works department to develop an on-boarding program to understand the job requirements and expectations, the "unwritten rules" that every new employee must figure out to be successful on the job.

  • Performance Management - Managing the marginal job performer is one of the most difficult and frustrating challenges faced by supervisors and managers.  We can design a performance management training program to help supervisors deal with performance issues. 

  • Competency-Based Promotional Systems - Typical promotional systems in public works department rely on an oral board interview.  Frequently, the process is not valid, and is perceived by employees and managers as unfair, or worse, irrelevant.  We can design a competency-based promotional process that emphasizes the importance of "emotional intelligence" plays in job success.

In addition to the above services, we can custom develop and implement programs in leadership development, executive coaching, strategic planning and other areas of leadership and management. 

Please contact us for learn more about our services.

We can help transform your Public Works Department into an effective and efficent operation by focusing on the training and development needs of your employees.