Promoting the ‘people’ factor

New HR director aims to help develop world class organization

The City of The Colony welcomed its new Human Resources Director, Rodney Wallican, in January. Wallican said he was excited to join an organization that is growing and undergoing major change.

“This role will allow me to put my stamp on this city in a variety of ways and bring a host of new strategies and processes to the city’s ‘people’ factor,” he said.

Wallican believes great leaders make for a great organization. After interviewing with City Manager Troy Powell and several directors, he knew The Colony was the place for him. “As we conversed, they consistently spoke of their passion for employee development, innovation, and excellence. From that group, I knew that I was walking into a great situation,” he said.

The Colony Human Resources Director Rodney Wallican took over the department in January this year.

The Colony Human Resources Director Rodney Wallican took over the department in January this year.

In any organization, the HR department is an integral part of an employee’s life both at work and away from the office. For example, employees count on HR staff to help them navigate the complexities of their benefits both during employment and into retirement. A longtime employee who retires at a company has been cared for by their HR professionals for much of their working life.

Wallican said employees are an organization’s most crucial asset and he relishes the responsibility of contributing to their well-being.

“Ensuring that their day-to-day needs are satisfied is a must. Human resource departments should focus on developing strategies in support of their employees that positively affect the bottom line of the organization,” he said.  “HR practitioners want to be seen as organizational leaders; an integral factor in creating and leading the vision of the organization and in its overall success.”

In the case of a municipal organization, fostering a positive, enthused work environment for city employees can in turn facilitate a productive workforce beneficial to the community/residents they serve.

“Happy, engaged employees are typically the backbone of a productive, financially stable organization,” Wallican said. “The goal of the human resources department is to foster this environment through planned and directed efforts.”

A few examples of these efforts could include a rewards-and-recognition program, innovative benefits programs, health and wellness initiatives, and a comprehensive leadership development program.

HR Director Rodney Wallican addresses employees who participated in Wear Red for Women Day promoting awareness of women's heart health.

HR Director Rodney Wallican addresses employees who participated in Wear Red for Women Day promoting awareness of women’s heart health.

“These types of environments don’t just happen. They are forged through the efforts of city leaders,” Wallican said, echoing a theme. “Leaders have to understand and promote the organizational mission and consciously live those daily values that result in a positive work environment.”

During his time in The Colony thus far, Wallican has yet to be disappointed.

“I’ve asked several employees what makes them continue working for The Colony. I hear the same things over and over: great benefits, family environment, excellent leadership, and stability,” he said. “My goal is to continue to do my part in nurturing such a culture and pushing the envelope to enhance it even more.”

The goal moving forward also will be to continue asking the same question over the next couple of years, with the hope answers fall in the realm of: because of the opportunities for growth, or because we offer a world class training program, or because of the city’s focus on creating a diverse, engaging environment, added Wallican.

“I believe that the human resource department is integral in creating the strategy that brings those statements into existence,” he said. “By providing great service to employees and being an integral business partner with other departments, there is no reason we can’t make The Colony one of the best places to work in North Texas. World class – that’s the goal.”

Prior to joining The Colony, Wallican worked four years as a Service Excellence Consultant for Texas Health Resources, North Texas’s largest health care system. During that time, he was introduced to training programs focused on improving the patient experience. In addition, he helped develop and execute a service excellence strategy, teaming with hospital executives to create a culture focused on developing leaders and engaging employees.

From there, he moved to Exel Logistics, the world’s largest third-party logistics company as an HR Manager for several distribution centers. His role involved training and developing leaders, investigating and resolving personnel matters, and managing organizational talent.

The Colony's HR Department was instrumental in scheduling and hosting the city's participation in the American Heart Association's National Walking Day on April 1, 2015.

The Colony’s HR Department was instrumental in scheduling and hosting the city’s participation in the American Heart Association’s National Walking Day on April 1, 2015, on the Shoreline Trail.

Wallican obtained his bachelor of science degree in HR Management from Winona State University and completed a master of science degree in the same field from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2012. He is a current member of the Society for Human Resource Management and holds his Professional in Human Resources certification.

“Through these educational endeavors, I’ve learned the basics of the HR profession. I stay abreast of new innovations and techniques in the field by attending seminars and conferences consistently,” he said.

Wallican said the conferences have helped him to network with other city HR directors and discuss innovative strategies that they are utilizing to drive the workforce and influence culture. Some day he might make the time to represent the city on a regional or state level by serving on boards like the Texas Municipal League. But for now he’s spending time working to develop a human resource strategy that will benefit city employees and the community.

“I am excited about all of the possibilities of this position and will definitely consider expanding my role as we move forward,” he said.