Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Human Resources Management (PA-HR) 3: Satisfaction and Retention

Human resources practices are equitable and consistenty applied and promote a high level of personnel satisfaction and retention.
2020 Edition




The agency's human resources practices attract and retain a competent and qualified workforce that is capable of supporting the agency's mission and strategic goals.
Examples: Factors that may contribute to personnel satisfaction and retention include:
  1. role clarity; 
  2. leadership that rewards and recognizes employee contributions; 
  3. satisfaction with salary and benefits; 
  4. reasonable workload;
  5. quality supervision and strong supervisory relationships; 
  6. autonomy; 
  7. opportunities for advancement and career development; 
  8. work/life balance (e.g. flexible work options, personal and family support, etc.); and
  9. leadership that provides feedback to personnel about their suggestions and recommendations.
Note: Please see the Personnel Records Checklist for additional guidance on this standard.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed administration and management infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • Procedures for exit interviews 
  • Description of work-related stress awareness and prevention efforts 
  • Summary results of most recent staff satisfaction survey 
  • Summary results of most recent staff retention analysis
  • Table of contents for personnel policies and procedures manual 
  • Personnel grievance procedure 
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • Description of regional work-related stress awareness and prevention efforts
All Agencies
  • Documentation of actions taken to address personnel satisfaction and retention concerns 
  • Personnel policies and procedures manual 
  • Grievance reports for the past six months
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Agency leadership
    2. HR director
    3. PQI manager
    4. Personnel at all levels
  • Review personnel records
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Regional Director
    2. Regional HR personnel
    3. Personnel at all levels
  • Review personnel records

Fundamental Practice

PA-HR 3.01

The agency integrates work-related stress awareness and prevention efforts into its human resources practices. 
Examples: Awareness and prevention efforts can include, but are not limited to:
  1. supervision and training; 
  2. access to employment assistance programs; 
  3. vacation and flex time policies; and
  4. peer support opportunities.


PA-HR 3.02

The agency annually measures personnel satisfaction and retention and takes action to address identified satisfaction and retention concerns.


PA-HR 3.03

All personnel confirm receipt of an up-to-date personnel  policies and procedures manual that articulates current:
  1. conditions of employment; 
  2. benefits; 
  3. rights and responsibilities of employees; and 
  4. other important employment-related information. 
Examples: Policies and procedures that are commonly addressed in a personnel policies and procedures manual include:
  1. conditions and procedures for layoffs; 
  2. emergency and safety procedures; 
  3. equal employment policies;
  4. harrassment and discrimination;
  5. conflict of interest policies including nepotism and favoritism protections; 
  6. grievance process procedures; 
  7. insurance protections including unemployment, disability, medical care, and malpractice liability; 
  8. policies and procedures governing access to free legal counsel;
  9. performance review system; 
  10. whistle-blower protections;
  11. promotions; 
  12. professional development; 
  13. standards of conduct; 
  14. time-off policies; 
  15. wage policy; 
  16. working conditions;
  17. technology/network security and usage policies; and
  18. the use of social media, electronic communications, and mobile devices.


PA-HR 3.04

The agency follows personnel grievance procedures that include:
  1. the right to file a grievance without interference or retaliation;
  2. a description of how grievances are filed, to whom, and who will make a final determination; 
  3. timely written notification of the resolution and an explanation of any further appeal, rights, or recourse;
  4. processes for review including a third-party review of the final determination;
  5. documenting responses and actions taken; and
  6. maintaining a copy of the notification of resolution in the personnel record.


Regarding element (d), the third-party review refers to at least one level of review that does not involve the person about whom the complaint has been made or the person who reached the decision under review.


PA-HR 3.05

The agency provides all departing personnel with an opportunity to participate in an exit interview and documents their feedback or exit interview declination in the personnel record.
Examples: This interview can provide an opportunity to share feedback on the agency’s strengths and weaknesses, including any administrative challenges related to their transition.