The City of Kingsport took several steps in 2022 to help with recruitment and retention, with the ultimate goal being to make the city more attractive to current and future employees.
Last year, Kingsport implemented two rounds of salary increases, added two holidays and benefits to the benefits portfolio, gave employees a holiday bonus and returned to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.
In addition, the city has increased entry level wages, engaged with high schools and colleges for work-based learning programs and internships and boosted the number of postings on jobs boards and social media.
“We’ve seen some positive movement in closing the workforce gap, but progress is still slow in the number of qualified candidates applying for positions,” Human Resource Director Tyra Copas said. “Higher level positions are more competitive than ever these days.”
Kingsport is beginning to receive more applicants for open positions and over the past year, the city has managed to reduce the number of vacancies in its ranks. For example, in February 2022 the number stood at 60. Currently, the number is less than 30.
Last year, Kingsport experienced an all-time high turnover rate (20%) among employees with pay being the number one reason for leaving based on exit interviews. Since implementing salary increases in July 2022, turnover has slowed, and Kingsport is almost back to pre-pandemic turnover rates.
Kingsport’s Human Resources Department conducted a comprehensive compensation study, which reviewed all job descriptions and compared them with current market rates. The upcoming budget will incorporate salary increases using the new salary scales based on current market data and internal equity.
In the coming year, Kingsport plans to focus on training, highlighting notable employees and capitalizing on fellowship opportunities (Christmas lunch, Public Works Day, employee picnic).
“The City of Kingsport’s culture is one element that separates us from other employers,” Copas said. “We want to continue to build on that great culture of teamwork in support of each other and the citizens of Kingsport.”
This information was presented to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen during a day-long, strategic planning session held Monday (March 20) at city hall. The BMA heard updates from staff on the city’s finances, economic development efforts and budget priorities for the coming year.
To view the presentations from the strategic planning session, visit www.kingsporttn.gov.