Employer of Choice Road Map

Elevating the State as an employer of choice.


Why Employer of Choice

We understand that an engaged workforce is vital to ensuring state government is bold, consistent, and joyous as it conducts the business of Colorado. Like many employers, the State of Colorado is challenged with attracting and retaining the best and brightest employees and it is essential that our workforce reflect the people we serve.

The State Personnel Director and Statewide Chief Human Resources Officer engaged State employees through a listening tour and surveys to understand what they value in a career, what motivates them to continue working in public service, what we can do to attract a highly-skilled workforce, and what we can do better to support our employees.

The Employer of Choice initiative was highlighted by the National Association of State Chief Administrators during their 2020 Winter Thought Leadership Series. You can watch a panel discussion that featured members of the Employer of Choice strategic planning team to gain a better understanding of the thought process that went into this initiative. 


Our approach

The Colorado logo and a handshake icon for state as an employer of choice

Our first step towards becoming an Employer of Choice started with listening to State employees. The State Personnel Director and the Statewide Chief Human Resource Officer traveled to hear directly from employees across Colorado about where the State is succeeding and what more the State can do to ensure employees feel valued and engaged. 2,185 employees attended 45 listening sessions across the state. In addition, 1,254 employees completed an online survey, and over 16,000 employees completed a biennial Employee Engagement survey with questions relevant to becoming an Employer of Choice.

With the data collected from the State‚ workforce, the Department of Personnel & Administration (DPA) launched six statewide work teams focused on key themes heard from employees. These statewide work teams studied their focus areas, conducted additional external and internal research, explored best practices, and engaged with other governments to better define the work the State needs to undertake. The teams took employee feedback and developed a roadmap to elevate State employment and the employee experience. The path ahead is a journey, and efforts will be focused on select steps over the next three years to increase the State‚ profile as an Employer of Choice.


Our path ahead: a 30,000-foot view

At the State of Colorado, we value our employees! The Department of Personnel &, Administration will work diligently with all of our State agencies to continue addressing opportunities to support employees and ensure their success. During these tough economic times, it will require creativity, diligence, and commitment to achieve these objectives. DPA has identified six strategic areas: Compensation, Talent Growth and Development, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Health, Safety, and Wellbeing, Recruiting and Hiring, and Work Perks.

Life cycle of the strategic plan

Six strategic areas summarized


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Fair compensation and recognition are top of mind for State employees. The State will develop plans to help employees feel valued by establishing overall pay, incentives, and premium pay practices consistent with prevailing market practices. Not an easy feat in the face of budget cuts, but DPA has initiatives to take steps in the right direction, towards providing prevailing merit and market pay.

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Talent growth and development

The State of Colorado is one of the largest employers in the State with a great variety of jobs and roles that welcome a variety of talents and skills to the workforce. Employees said that the next step in their career paths is not always very clear, and development isn't readily accessible. This is certainly an area of opportunity for the State to help our employees design their career paths and provide access to training in support of achieving their professional goals. State employees should say with confidence, "I am satisfied with my opportunities for career growth and development."

Where we are now

  • The Center for Organizational Effectiveness (COE) is developing a fully integrated, statewide learning management system (LMS), making it possible to distribute training modules to meet the standardized needs of each agency's employees. This, along with a relationship with CSU Global means that all employees will soon have access to high quality, consistent learning and development options no matter where they work.   
  • The Statewide Supervisor Certificate through COE provides the skills and knowledge new supervisors need to know in order to be successful. Research has shown that leadership is an acquired set of skills to guide teams to success.

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Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The State of Colorado believes that an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace is one where all employees and community partners, whatever their gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship status, education, disability, or any other identity, feel valued, and respected. The State is committed to nondiscriminatory practices and providing equitable opportunity for employment and advancement in all of our departments, programs, services, and worksites. State employees should be assured that they see leadership support of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Where we are now:

  • The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion training has been rolled out to all employees statewide. This training teaches us to build an equitable, inclusive, and just future for ourselves, our colleagues, and for the communities we serve.  
  • Human Resources teams throughout state agencies have received training on writing inclusive job announcements for prospective state employees. They were also trained in how to use tools in the State’s applicant tracking system to manage larger candidate pools.

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Health, Safety, and Wellbeing

State employees want and deserve excellent health benefits, a focus on total wellness, and workplace safety. The State has been working hard to provide employees with even more benefits and wellness options. DPA will continue to build upon those resources and make sure they are accessible and easy for employees to find and use. These include mental health resources, education for employees to support financial wellness, and workplace safety tools and training. State employees are our most valuable resource and should have a benefits plan that meets their needs.

Where we are now:

As a state employee, you have access to many free and low-cost resources to assist you in balancing both work and life. Find them all at the CSEAP website.

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Recruiting and Hiring

Becoming an Employer of Choice means building a brand and awareness around the State of Colorado as an employer, where professionals have a desire to seek employment with the state and have a great, streamlined experience through the hiring process. The State will work to improve its application and hiring process and increase its community engagement efforts to elevate the State as a respected, fulfilling career option with a workforce that reflects the diversity of Coloradans we serve. The State is dedicated to improving the candidate experience.

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Work Perks

According to employee feedback, one main reason people come to work for the State is for the sense of purpose. Public service is a noble profession, and the State strives to show appreciation through the availability of work perks, including work-life flexibility on top of salary and benefits. Such perks include flexible work arrangements, time off, and discounts for employees. The State will take the best ideas and programs that encourage a positive work-life balance and incentivize quality employees to work for our State. The State will offer enhanced work perks and look for increased utilization in such programs as employee discounts.