Comprehensive Workforce Strategies in San Francisco City and County


The workforce: The city and county have a workforce of more than 26,000 employees located in more than 60 agencies.

Challenge: Meeting increased demands for services in the face of reduced financial resources.


A series of citywide workforce reports that combine data analysis with literature review, focus groups, employee surveys, and city department executive staff interviews to create a comprehensive picture of the city’s workforce and future workforce needs.

Reaching across agencies to identify and share best practices and lessons in workforce assessment and planning, as well as offering a workforce development and planning framework to city department heads and managers.

Flexible workforce practices for employees at all career stages, including

  • telecommuting
  • hiring retirees part-time for short-term projects so they can transfer their knowledge to other staff
  • leave policies for a wide range of employee needs.

A rich variety of training tailored for every area of the workforce and career stage:

  • a partnership with the state university’s extended learning program and the city college on courses to improve or develop skills in job-related areas
  • direct training by the Department of Human Resources, including a supervisory and management program
  • a partnership with the nonprofit national service corps, City Hall Fellows, to recruit and train recent college graduates who may be considering a career in public service.

High performance practices, such as

  • having city departments develop their own internal leadership programs
  • formalized feedback using the 360 Degree model for department supervisors and managers
  • coaching and organizational development support from human resources
  • written appraisals tied to expectations as delineated in yearly performance plans
  • a quarterly newsletter and robust website to make information easily available to employees.

Comprehensive succession planning by

  • examining data annually about the city’s workforce
  • relying on employee experiences, including a 2009 workforce planning conference with 120 participants from 30 departments
  • capturing the ideas and providing a city-wide inventory of internship and volunteer programs
  • preparing new hires for key positions by retaining current experts in overlapping appointments


Last November the Center honored San Francisco with its first Workforce Excellence Award.

Read San Francisco’s 2009 Workforce and Succession Planning Report

Watch a video about San Francisco’s workforce programs.

Point of Contact

Donna Kotake
Workforce Development Director
Department of Human Resources
1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
415 557 4912
[email protected]

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