By Ben FitzSimons
The Office of Legislative Workplace Relations (OLWR) was created in 2019 (§ 2-3-511, C.R.S.) to help fulfill the Colorado General Assembly’s human resources needs and to provide a neutral, professional entity to support conflict and complaint resolution in the work environment. The OLWR, in its current state, was developed after considerable research and feedback from experts, consultants, and an interim legislative committee.
The OLWR is located in Room 026 in the northwest quadrant of the Capitol basement and provides a number of specialized services for the Colorado General Assembly. Ben FitzSimons serves as the Director of the OLWR, which serves all legislators; all staff in all legislative agencies, the House of Representatives, and the Senate (both partisan and nonpartisan); and some third parties (e.g. lobbyists, members of the media, and individuals testifying before legislative committees).
The OLWR provides employee relations, training, and organizational development services, including:
- Confidential consultation, facilitation, and resolution planning for workplace issues and concerns. This includes working with legislators and supervisors to help resolve concerns or issues with their staff members and working with staff members (including aides, interns, partisan staff, nonpartisan staff, and volunteers) to help resolve questions or concerns about the work environment or their supervisors.
- Confidential consultation regarding corrective/disciplinary action and planning. In addition, the OLWR can review or draft documents related to performance management and resolution of personnel issues.
- Harassment complaint intake, investigation, and resolution. Any person who is covered by the Colorado General Assembly’s Workplace Harassment or Workplace Expectations policies may speak confidentially with the OLWR regarding questions or concerns about behaviors that may fall under the policy. The OLWR will help to assess concerns to determine which policy they may fall under, will discuss what options may be available for resolving the concerns, will talk through what the various options may look like, and will manage or coordinate any resolution processes pursuant to the policies under which the concerns fall.
- Workplace training, including:
- Annual workplace harassment and expectations training – for all legislators, staff, and third parties.
- Manager/Supervisor training – this includes topics like coaching, providing effective feedback, and effective meeting management.
- Other professional development training – this includes topics like effective training skills, intro to project management, leadership, and workplace ethics.
- Other Employee Relations services, including:
- Employee engagement – working with management to brainstorm and implement programs and practices designed to ensure that staff feel connected and committed to their roles and agencies.
- Succession planning – working with management to brainstorm and implement plans for providing their staff with the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to fill high-level internal positions as the individuals in those roles retire or move on.
- Personnel policy reviews and recommendations – this includes reviewing for best practices, legal compliance, and consistency.
- Exit interviews for departing staff – this includes collecting feedback confidentially and reporting data back to agencies without providing the individual identities of those interviewed.
- Organizational development services, including:
- Provision or coordination of organizational development services to teams or agencies.
- Team or individual coaching.
- Customized team-building programs or exercises.
- Team-based leadership development training and projects.
In addition, the OLWR serves as the ADA Coordinator under the Colorado Legislative Branch Policy on Services for Persons with Disabilities, Including Grievance Resolution Procedures. In this role, the OLWR serves as the initial point of contact for members of the public seeking accommodation in order to participate in or observe the legislative process and oversees the formal and informal processes for grievances filed under the policy.
You may contact the OLWR by email at OLWR.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-866-3393.