Fast Five with Sheila Simpson

Published on September 27, 2023

Portrait of Human Resources Director Sheila Simpson

With more than 18 years of service, Sheila Simpson leads the City of Charlotte Human Resources (HR) department. As a part of Human Resources Professionals Day on Sept. 26, we interviewed Simpson to learn more about her role and department.  

Which part of the organization do you lead?

I serve as the City of Charlotte’s Human Resources director. In that capacity, I lead a team of 55 dedicated and caring human resources practitioners. Collectively we oversee several human capital management functions to include: the compensation and classifications system, payroll administration, organization learning and development, coordination of the City of Charlotte’s workforce development and career counseling programs, employment relations, diversity and inclusion, and also manage and administer the city’s benefits, health and wellness contracts and programs.

Why did you decide to work for the City of Charlotte?

When I came to Charlotte, I just knew that there was something special here. My first role with the City of Charlotte was an administrative officer III – human resources in Business Support Services (BSS.) The department does not exist today, however, many of the functions remain and are now components of other city departments. When I started with BSS, I immediately found that the people who work here understood the core mission: public service is our business. That line was embedded on the coffee cup, that was given to me. As I moved to the Human Resources department, I was able to see how deeply that foundation was set.

What is the biggest organizational priority you’re working on right now?

There are several priorities that are paramount to the service and contribution our department makes to the City of Charlotte’s Strategic Priorities.  The top five HR priorities are:

  1. Focus on the employee to improve the employee experience by working in conjunction with our city departments to collectively create an environment where employees can thrive.   

2. Integrate the values of diversity, equity and inclusion and belonging into our HR policies, procedures, decision-making processes and resource alignment.

3. Continue to proactively deliver upward mobility opportunities and improve the trajectory of lives of our community. 

4. Promote a health and well-being focus and understand the unique needs of employees as they transition through the hire to retire, employment life cycle.

5. Implement and operationalize the city’s new enterprise resource planning, human capital management system. In other words, sunsetting PeopleSoft and introducing Workday.

What is your favorite part about working for the City of Charlotte?

My most favorite part about working with the City of Charlotte is seeing the how far, how deep and how wide the work of the city transcends. It is absolutely amazing to be part of such a dynamic team. There are jobs and careers that a person can have here that are simply amazing – jobs that many people might not immediately think of when you think about working for a local government such as a scientist, engineers, lab analyst, medical professional, facilities management, urban forestry, automotive technician, etc. The City of Charlotte has a lot to offer, and the impact is wide.

Human Resources Professionals Day was celebrated this week. What would you like to share about the Human Resources team working at the City of Charlotte?

As I think about the human resources professionals across our city, I’d like to say, this: Our mission is to improve the employee experience and help employees thrive. You are critical to delivering on that mission. Our work matters. It matters to the 18,000 lives of the people who we directly serve every day. Some of them are employees, others are our employees’ loved ones. There will be many days that the work we do may go unnoticed. However, there is never a day that your work goes undervalued. I cannot be prouder to serve you as we, together pursue this mission. Take time this week to celebrate you and your HR colleagues all over this nation.

What is your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?

Charlotte has so many wonderful restaurants. Wow, that is a hard question. But if I must select just one, I will say, the Penguin. It just has a cool vibe.