Civil Service Improvement

An improved civil service system will produce a capable and engaged state workforce that is able to adapt to new challenges in serving the people of California and will reflect the diversity of the population it serves.

Our Vision

Making California the Employer of Choice

Our Report to the Legislature

We shared our progress with state lawmakers.

Employee Engagement Survey

Civil Service Improvement began with this.

Civil Service Improvement Project Areas

Civil Service Improvement Project Areas


  • Thorough evaluation of full compensation and salary scale compaction issues
  • Addressing executive compensation gap with local government and related retention and recruitment issues

Labor Relations

  • Need for long-term planning to align collective bargaining strategy with the Governor’s priorities

Performance Management

  • Need to develop standard and consistent management approaches to organizational performance and employee discipline


  • Streamline and review the state’s internal control policies


  • Making it less complicated to get a state job
  • Rewriting and eliminating outdated and onerous laws and personnel rules restrict hiring qualified candidates
  • Creating a state workforce that looks like the Californians we serve
  • Developing incentives and targeted recruitment strategies to attract college graduates


  • Developing training structure to improve skills and provide upward mobility
  • Engaging employees and promote work-life balance for more productive employees

Strategic Planning

  • Addressing state need to create a long-term vision for programs and employees

Current Projects

Leadership Performance Evaluation

The Leadership Performance Evaluation Pilot (LPE Pilot), implemented from January 2017 through February 2018, explored a new way to evaluate the performance of the State’s leadership (supervisors and managers). The piloted process focused on coaching and continued development, was competency-based, and streamlined three performance evaluation processes [probationary reviews, annual reviews, and merit salary adjustments (MSA)] into one. The LPE Pilot yielded success in fostering a coaching culture, increasing performance review completion, and more meaningful performance reviews. Options are being explored to implement this Pilot as a statewide program.

CEA Training

We know that your role as a Career Executive Assignment comes with tremendous responsibilities. Additionally, our citizens and staff demand much from you.  Our experiential program is designed to provide you with cutting edge training based on the top learning trends of executives worldwide.  Expect to apply what you learn immediately back on the job, and share best practices with your cohort and future leaders.

The Executive Development Program has been designed to meet the required 20-hour training needs of newly appointed CEAs.

Supervisor Training

The Supervisor Development Program has been specifically designed to meet the required 80-hour training needs of newly appointed supervisors and ensures there is a progressive and integrated process to develop leaders in state service. This program is intended to assist departments in preparing all newly appointed supervisors with their transition into a new leadership role, as well as to develop their leadership skills.

Career Development Plan

As part of the gender pay equity work and upward mobility, GovOps conducted ‘unfocused groups’ leveraging user-center design practices to identify barriers of upward mobility within state service and opportunities to mitigate them. We learned that our employees need more dynamic tools to inform them and empower them to have control over their career. This resulted in the creation of a Career Development Plan and a series of self-assessments that are now available to employees. While Individual Development Plans look at the current role, the Career Development Plan provides employees with an opportunity to assess their career a few years ahead and it does not limit them to specific career ladders. 

Class Consolidation

In addition to the major information technology classification consolidation, the Conservationist classes will be consolidated and updated. The Conservationist classes will be made available to all departments by removing department specific references and broadening the duties. The next major consolidation will be of the generalist series.

Prison to Work

GovOps and CalHR have partnered to provide work opportunities to formerly incarcerated individuals. As individuals are released from correctional facilities, they will have passed a state examination and be eligible for interview and hire. 

Apprenticeship Programs

The Apprenticeship Pilot programs are part of the Civil Service Improvement initiatives to develop apprenticeship programs, partner with higher education agencies, and provide career advancement opportunities for state employees. There are 3 cohorts of information technology apprentices who will complete over 20 units of college credits and receive up to 2 years of on-the-job training upon completion of the program. A Financial Services Apprenticeship Pilot will begin in 2019.

CalCareers Website

GovOps and CalHR embarked on a series of sprints to design improvements to the CalCareers website and leveraged user feedback by conducting user testing sessions with recent civil service hires, recruiters, and other innovative organizations. The revamped website now has an wizard that helps applicants navigate through the process and a friendlier user interface.

Enterprise HR

Enterprise Human Resources (EntHR) is a statewide cross-agency initiative co-chaired by the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) and State Controller’s Office (SCO). The purpose of EntHR is to strategically improve employee processes and data to enhance services to Californians.  Today, HR processes, procedures and reporting are typically manual across departments. EntHR’s first major undertaking includes the acquisition of a Learning Management System (LMS) that state departments can purchase a subscription to. The LMS allows employees and employers to track and manage employee training throughout an employee’s state career.

For more information, visit CalHR’s Enterprise HR page.

Paid Family Leave

The Paid Family Leave program is an extension of the non-industrial disability benefit that will allow state employees enrolled in the annual leave program who are exempt from civil service to take time off to care for seriously ill family members or bond with a new baby. Through the program, eligible employees will receive 50 percent of their salary but may use leave credits to supplement their income to receive either 75 percent or 100 percent of their salary. Benefit distribution is expected to begin in 2019.

Completed projects

Bicycle Commuter Program

The Bicycle Commuter Program allows employees to claim a taxable reimbursement of up to $20 per month for maintenance expenses when they use a bicycle as the main method of transportation for more than 50 percent of the workdays of a given month.

Class Consolidation

In a major class consolidation effort, the Research Specialist series was renamed the Research Data Analyst series. This expanded the state’s opportunities to recruit data scientists who were previously only able to enter civil service through information technology (IT) positions. By specifically designing data analyst classifications, new recruits will not need to meet IT requirements to perform data analysis functions and will instead be able to showcase relevant skills.

The IT class consolidation replaced 36 classifications with 9 new classifications. The consolidation was approved by the State Personnel Board on January 11, 2018.

Previously, the California Code of Regulations, Title 2, Division 1, Chapter 1, Article 2, Rule 90 was modified to automatically abolish civil service classifications if continuously vacant or unused for two years. Over the past two years, the State Personnel Board and the Department of Human Resources have worked with departments and unions to abolish more than 500 vacant classifications.

Opened CEA Exams

The requirement for a person to have permanent civil service status to compete for a Career Executive Assignment examination was eliminated. Individuals who meet the minimum qualifications of a CEA exam may apply. The state must foster a culture of high performance in its executive management ranks and attracting private sector talent and the complementary skills it can bring into the CEA classification is an important step in this direction. Reference: Government Code 19889.3 

New Employee Orientation

The first days on the job as a new state employee are both exciting and overwhelming. There is a lot of important paperwork to fill out about benefits, retirement and dependent care. To help ease this process, we created a New Employees Website, designed to help new state employees navigate this landscape with more proficiency and less stress.

Created HR Credentialing Program

This program is designed to provide state human resources professionals with recognition for mastering specific human resource areas. CalHR, through the Civil Service Improvement effort, promotes a workforce culture of lifelong learning, professional recognition and personal growth. The HR Credentialing Program is a method of professional growth for human resources professionals throughout the state.  

Social Media Recruitment

As part of the state modernization effort, GovOps conducted two pilots with LinkedIn as a platform for social media recruitment. With a total of fourteen state departments participating in either or both of the pilots, six have contracted with LinkedIn to continue recruiting through social media. The pilot began in September 2017 and concluded in November 2018. Participants included:

  • Department of General Services
  • California Public Utilities Commission
  • Department of State Hospitals
  • Department of Social Services
  • Department of State Hospitals
  • Department of Public Health
  • California Energy Commission
  • Financial Information System for California
  • Department of Technology
  • California State Parks
  • Office of System Integration
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Insurance
  • Department of Rehabilitation
Created Online HR Manual

The California Department of Human Resources (CalHR), along with departmental subject matter experts, developed an accessible Online Human Resources Manual for state human resources professionals.

Statewide Leadership Philosphy

The state is in the process of revamping the 80 hour mandatory leadership training of Supervisors, Managers, and Executives to develop leadership competency models that enhance performance and better prepares our leaders to manage a dynamic and multi-generational workforce. To ensure that we unify our state leaders and break silos, the CSI group has developed the first Statewide Leadership Philosophy:

“Our Leaders Develop and Inspire our workforce to deliver great results for all California”

Management Development Program

The Manager Development Program is a training series that has been specifically designed to meet the required 40-hour training needs of newly appointed managers (Staff Services Manager II/III or equivalent). Leading teams to deliver great results for California is fundamental for state leaders. As a manager, you are a steward of taxpayer resources and administer vital programs for Californians. By the end of the class, you will be able to apply critical skills to lead teams, leverage resources, and use best practices to effectively and efficiently operate your program.

Project GO

“Project GO!” was commissioned in the summer of 2014 to develop a multi-level training program for supervisors, managers, and executives that is aligned with state’s leadership competency model, enhance performance, and better prepares our leaders to guide a dynamic and diverse workforce.  State leaders recognize that the state lacks an established and consistent set of leadership behaviors and competencies that are promoted, supported, and measured across the state and supports effective succession planning, as well as a philosophy that guides all state leadership initiatives.

At the end of 2015, Project GO! was ready to pilot and evaluate the updated supervisory training program. In partnership with their three training providers—Sacramento State University, Los Rios Community College, and CPS HR Consulting—82 participants (a mix of new supervisors and experienced supervisors) were enrolled into one of three training programs. All three were based on a shared framework and consistent goals and met the 80-hour training requirement, but varied slightly in curriculum design (e.g., training schedule and exercises). By measuring three variations, the Project GO! and training teams were able to gauge the effectiveness of different designs and delivery models.

All of the data is now being used to inform final curriculum development, statewide deployment plans, and leadership training across all levels. The team is focused on rolling out this consistent leadership narrative both in the classroom and beyond.

Streamlined LEAP

The state is committed to equality in employment for persons with disabilities.  To that end, the state amended Government Code 19243 to streamline the LEAP examination process by eliminating the probationary period for LEAP classifications.  Additionally, the state merged the LEAP and non-LEAP lists to enable hiring departments to select the best candidates for the job regardless of disability status.

Career Ambassador Program

Employees will have the opportunity to take on a recruitment role for their department by attending events and sharing information to currents students at their alma mater or alumni organization. The Career Ambassador Program will allow employees to strengthen engagement with their colleagues and their department. 

Workforce Planning Cohorts

CalHR has two cohorts that run concurrently: the Workforce Planning Program and the Succession Planning Program.

 Cohorts Include:

  • Workshop based learning
  • One-on-one consulting support
  • Ready-to-use tools and resources
  • Networking opportunities
  • Completion of Workforce or Succession Plan

Workforce Planning

Is your organization looking to develop or improve its Workforce Plan and increase its bench strength in workforce planning subject matter expertise? The Workforce Planning program uses a hybrid approach of workshop-based learning and one-on-one consultative support to guide organizations through the process of creating a complete Workforce Plan. The program also incorporates a three to four hour facilitated session for each organization’s executive team to help foster and ensure strategic alignment with the completed Workforce Plan.

Succession Planning

Does your organization need a strategic approach to developing leaders and retaining critical knowledge as employees leave? If so, CalHR’s Succession Planning Program will help you pave the way to ensure leadership continuity and reduce the impact of unexpected turnover among your organizations key employees. In this four month series you will build competencies in the skills and techniques used in establishing a practical succession planning program, and be on your way to a stronger workforce.

Job Analysis Library

The CSI initiative created this library to give departmental exam staff access to previously completed job analyses reports. This library is designed to help departments complete job analyses that meet the requirements identified in the Uniform Guidelines on Employment Selection Procedures, provide resources to internally complete job analyses; and reduce the cost of job analyses for departments by sharing information from subject matter experts.

Developed Lean Academy

The California Lean Academy provides a standard, consistent approach for Lean training and certification in continuous improvement methodologies. Lean is used to eliminate waste and increase value and has been refined over decades in the manufacturing and service sectors as a simple but highly effective system that can be implemented in all areas of an organization using the expertise of the organization’s own employees.

Removed Hiring Restrictions

Senate Bill 99 eliminated Government Code 19057, Government Code 19057.2 and Government Code 19057.4. These arcane hiring statutes restricted the number of available candidates who could be contacted for a hiring interview. Recruiting the right person for the right job the right time is at the core of our civil service improvement project. These changes align the administration’s efforts to increase job candidate pools available to hiring departments.

Increased Budget Transparency

Pursuant to Chapter 28, Statutes of 2015 (Senate Bill 98) and Chapter 11, Statutes of 2015 (Senate Bill 97), Government Code section 12439 was abolished and Control Section 4.11 was amended to provide transparency in departments’ budgeting of positions and expenditures by category. Departmental budget displays and the Salary and Wages publication will now include a display of historically filled positions and associated funding.  The intent of this process is to provide an accurate representation of departmental operational needs.

Dental Benefits Form

The dental benefits enrollment form was modified to allow employees to complete the form electronically in order to eliminate input errors from enrollees and human resources staff.

Statewide Employee Engagement Program

CalHR now offers a new Employee Engagement Program that includes survey administration, results and recommendations, and action planning tool and resources to help state departments and agencies measure and act on improving workforce engagement. Based on the original statewide employee engagement survey done in 2015, this program offers an employee engagement survey available to all state offices.

Day Care

In September 2017, the governor signed SB 401 which removed restrictions on the amount of space day care centers could use in a state building. The bill replaced space requirements with a requirement that the indoor activity space and outdoor activity space comply with appropriate regulatory requirements. Day care centers installed in new state buildings will now be able to use as much space as needed and increase enrollment capacity.

Projects and Resources