Oregon Department of Human Services

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Oregon Department of Human Services Reviews

Updated April 22, 2015
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  1. Helpful (1)

    Low pay with many rewards

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Human Services Specialist III in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Human Services Specialist III in Portland, OR

    I have been working at Oregon Department of Human Services full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Many opportunities for training and internal hiring. The tools are provided for one to become proficient and knowledgeable in one or multiple program areas. Full service offices provide greater reward working with clients face-to-face. Call centers have higher caseloads with more flexible office environment.

    Cons

    It can take years for management to get rid of incompetent workers that cannot keep up with the pace required to stay on top of the demand. This only adds to the workload for other workers.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to workers' suggestions and ideas. Be approachable. Offices with management that is unapproachable has higher morale issues.


  2. "Wow look at all these DHS jobs I can apply for!!!"

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - HSS1 in Ashland, OR
    Current Employee - HSS1 in Ashland, OR

    I have been working at Oregon Department of Human Services full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    1. Easy to get hired if you are a relative, friend, neighbor, nepotism nepotism nepotism....
    2. The only true pro is that no one can "officially" bully you if you call in sick or go on vacation.
    3. There are other jobs/careers out side of DHS.
    4. There are so many available jobs at DHS. (Because no one in their right mind stays there for more than they have to).

    Cons

    1. Management, no accountability. No transparency. Nepotism and favoritism are super rampant in DHS.
    2. Being a member of SEIU is a sham and just takes money out of your paycheck without actually benefiting you in any way.
    3. People who take jobs with DHS are as desperate as the people who seek services there. What do I mean by this? People who work there rarely have education beyond high school. Many are current/former welfare recipients. These are the people who peaked in high school and have resigned to being a "DHS Lifer" for lack of being able to get better employment. In other words you will be working with low class, unprofessional, immature, back biting low life people who don't give a damn.

    Advice to Management

    Pull your heads out and get at least a bachelors degree like the people you will be babysitting 8 hours a day did. Those same people who will see right through every bull $#it response you come up with day in and day out because you can't seem to see past the veil of failure that is your own life.


  3. Helpful (2)

    The DHS is stifling, stressful and does not care about its employees.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - HSS1/HSS3 in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - HSS1/HSS3 in Portland, OR

    I worked at Oregon Department of Human Services full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    The benefits are good. Some of the other employees are friendly, though many don't hold up their end of the work. It feels good to help many of the clients who come through the doors, though some are crazy and even dangerous. There are positions within the state that are better than others--I was only an HSS1 and then an HSS3 and both those positions were difficult and felt relentless.

    Cons

    The management is completely top down--they don't respect the employees and treat them poorly. The computer systems are outdated and difficult. The culture is old-school--they pretend to be doing all this cutting edge updating, but basically, the job is a grind and wears people down.

    Advice to Management

    The only thing I can say is that people shouldn't work there as long as they do--including the managers. The stress gets to everyone and the whole place feels unhealthy. The State brings in people to discuss healthy work-life balance, staying fit, etc. but most of the employees are morbidly obese and many still smoke, drink diet sodas and sit at their desks all day. Really.


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  5. Social Service Specialist I

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Social Service Specialist
    Former Employee - Social Service Specialist

    I worked at Oregon Department of Human Services full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    You come in contact with many professionals, individuals, and situations that you would otherwise never encounter.

    Cons

    Again, you come in contact with many professionals, individuals, and situations that you would otherwise never encounter. The work/life balance is almost nonexistent as you get piled on with crisis after crisis, paperwork after paperwork, and bureaucracy run by so much regulations that you can hardly breathe. (However, it is understandable since you are dealing with incredibly sensitive and delicate situations.) All of my coworkers confessed that they never dealt with this much stress in their entire lives. So if you are OK with having limited time off work, constant stress at its highest level, LOW PAY ($40K if you have experience or a master's degree. If not, your starting pay is around $38K.), and bureaucracy then this may be a good fit for you. Don't forget the fact that you will be dealing with raw human emotions and that your decisions will have real-life impact on people's lives regardless how correct those decisions are.

    Advice to Management

    There are opportunities to get training but you can rarely take time off to attend them due to the nature of your work. Most of the managers and supervisors were extremely helpful and willing but they themselves were overwhelmed with their work.


  6. Management incompetence and bad training

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Oregon Department of Human Services

    Pros

    Descent salary, good benefits, great working hours, holidays and day off.

    Cons

    The evaluation of employee in trial services is no fair. An HSS3 they evaluate by accuracy, that means the HSS4, an other union coworker evaluate a supervise your job. Hello SEiU a union member can't supervise other Union Member. HSS4 is looking for management interests no for an Union Member.

    If you are HSS1 you will be evaluate by your capacity of be a great brown nose. You don't have preoccupation about accuracy of error. That means they verify your work and depend if you were trained in the area you will get an error.

    If you are smart and have new ideas, KEEP QUIET, management don't like new ideas, you will be a shadow and they start calling you trouble maker.

    In WCPC, management don't know nothing about how system works so they delegate to HSS4 all management responsibility. So, a union member will be your hangman.

    Now they are training new people all time, fired without compassion and humanity, discriminate with old employees, and ironic with Latin employee.

    Advice to Management

    The problem with the government services are not the employees. Is management, they are not good leaders you have to take action about management like the NBA or NFL they don't fired the player, they change the coach when the team is loosing.


  7. Helpful (3)

    Avoid this company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Social Service Specialist
    Former Employee - Social Service Specialist

    I worked at Oregon Department of Human Services full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Human services.

    Some workers can get education through state which can lead to better work elsewhere.

    Cons

    Unethical management practices.

    Conditions fluctuate widely. Strong economy, staff gets cut. Weak economy, workload increases without rehiring.

    Advice to Management

    I think at this point only a major management sweep would be effective in solving issues. There may be a handful of decent managers there, but even they have to struggle with those higher up on the food chain. Unfortunately many of those in management are more interested in their own political potential than they are in accomplishing anything for the agency.

    Specifically:
    1. Management needs to be transparent to agency staff.
    2. Lower management needs to be able to deal effectively with both employee and client concerns.
    3. Some management need significant diversity training.
    4. Management needs to stop using union representatives (who aren't after all legal experts) to help them decide how far they can go to get rid of or discipline employees. And to know how to try every means necessary to help a struggling employee improve rather than orchestrate his or her dismissal. And not let their own personal feelings about a person determine whether or not that person is successful in employment.
    5. What seems to work best is when low level management is able to focus on their own individual employees and local office without pressure from above. The next level management needs to be aware of lower level manager concerns and provide periodic performance evaluation with referral to appropriate training if needed. In addition they should be able to liaise effectively between next higher management and lower management, passing on concerns and informing office personnel of changes in policy. Then the district manager would do the same between division managers and Salem. And finally Salem management would deal with the budget and the legislature and policy planning etc etc while both informing staff and being informed by staff.
    6. All management should have an open door policy whereas employees can feel safe to go over their supervisors without repercussion when they don't feel they are being treated fairly. Checks and balances.
    7. Management especially in a human services agency more than anything needs to be significantly experienced and knowledgeable not only in human resources, but in human services policy and procedures.
    8. Management should never be hired expediently (ie we need a manager and this person's the best of a sad lot.) If necessary the applicant pool needs to be continuously broadened until an appropriate person is found for a position. Hiring recommendations should be done by a committee given knowledge of but not necessarily involvement with the hiring location -- this would help get the best people for the job.

    Those in hiring need to be aware that it takes an exceptional kind of public servant to be a successful manager and that the bottom line for human services should not be a dollar sign.

    I'd send in an outside research agency from a state which is accomplishing goals to evaluate all management/management structure. Solicit anonymous opinion from line staff and clients. (unlikely to get honest opinion if not anonymous because repercussions are definite and can cause long term damage. While these repercussions are technically legal I would say only just barely. A formidable lawyer willing to take on the cause might do a lot of damage to the state finances based on these technically legal actions. Just something else to consider.) It may not be feasible however to do this. Another option might be to have workers and clients to rate individual managers and then target those managers for further training and -- if not successful -- dismissal.

    Set up an independent task force to both watchdog the agency and serve as a liaison between legislators and management. It is difficult for government agencies which have to comply with uneducated legislative directive and especially when management has to rely on the legislature for their very livelihood (ie they have to go along to keep their job even if going along is not what's best for the state or the agency). With appropriate management at the outset and outside audits, it works much better when the agency is able to manage its own internal affairs. In other words, leave the agency alone to do what it does best within the strictures of the budget and appropriate oversight.

    A transparent committee of labor/management staff to work on improving conditions between labor and management.

    At the same time the management that is now there has other priorities than that which serve the best interest of the state and its citizens, so I believe that a majority of them would need to be replaced. Although it's been awhile since I left employment, I have kept in touch and my understanding is that there hasn't been any significant change. It's sad because it used to be a decent place to work even given economic variables and the difficult situations of our clients.


  8. Helpful (1)

    Repetitive desk job

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Human Services Specialist I in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Human Services Specialist I in Portland, OR

    I worked at Oregon Department of Human Services full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Decent pay, good hours, holidays off, Secured building, one manager out of four is bound to be professional. Benefits are great and independent work is plentiful.

    Cons

    Employees can be disgruntled and unfriendly to new people, clients can be angry and use foul language at you, lots of paperwork, confusions about who is doing what, four managers in one building can be frustrating when they all have different ideas about what you should be doing.

    Advice to Management

    Management needs to scale down a bit. Four managers is too many when they argue about the procedures in the office. One does not always pay attention to what the other is doing and communication is lacking.


  9. Helpful (3)

    Stress, stress, stress!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Human Services Specialist III in Beaverton, OR
    Former Employee - Human Services Specialist III in Beaverton, OR

    I worked at Oregon Department of Human Services full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    ease of requesting time off, ease of using sick leave, stable pay and benefits.

    Cons

    constantly increasing work load with a shrinking budget, furloughs.

    Advice to Management

    Stop putting all of the hard work on those who are smarter and faster than the rest.
    You need to realize that brighter staff will not put up with this much pressure forever. If you want any smart, hardworking personel left working there, stop putting all of the workload on those few bright ones in the office, and start evenly spreading it between all staff.


  10. Helpful (3)

    Have an ever-growing list of Core Values that their management is allowed to break at-will.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Office Specialist II
    Current Employee - Office Specialist II

    I have been working at Oregon Department of Human Services full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    The reason I started working for the State of Oregon was their retirement program PERS was one of the best nationwide and the job benefits were great.

    Cons

    I knew going into a State job that the salaries were not great but, I was ready to accept that as an acceptable trade for good benefits now and good retirement later. Now, more than a decade later, with cost-of-living, I make less than when I started, I have endured 3 multi-year pay freezes, 4 years of furlough days, my PERS is shot, I pay healthcare premiums and am demonized in the press as an overpaid State worker.

    Advice to Management

    Front line staff can't work for free forever and can't do the work you are expecting them to do just because you have decided it will work from afar in Salem. Even if all the economy problems are fixed within our State...DHS has some serious house-cleaning to do.


  11. Helpful (4)

    Fast paced workplace determining eligibility for Medicaid and Food Stamps. Highest highs, lowest lows.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Human Services Specialist III in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Human Services Specialist III in Portland, OR

    I worked at Oregon Department of Human Services full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Able to help large volumes of people get the benefits each of them need, sometimes desperately. Huge sense of reward on a daily basis if Human Services inspires you.

    Cons

    Intense pressure to produce quick eligibility determinations from management, while leaving little time to service ongoing cases. Lack of communication to those at this level from upper and mid-management often proves debilitating to getting clients fully connected with benefits they need or even qualify for. Often communication came by the means of mass emails from managment, to which overwhelmed field staff would often ignore in order to meet 'production' demands.



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