PRM Report on Housekeeping ServicesSeptember 29, 2011
Dear Faculty and Staff:
Earlier this year, the University contracted with PRM Consulting Group to assess the climate and culture in Housekeeping Services. This review followed a series of serious allegations of harassment, discrimination and unfair treatment in that department.
We asked PRM to identify experiences that are contributing positively or negatively to the culture and climate in Housekeeping Services and to conduct one-on-one interviews with employees, managers and other leaders.
PRM’s skilled team spent four months on campus. They conducted more than 400 interviews, reviewed documentation and training materials, and then analyzed that information.
We have now received the final report, and PRM provided an overview of the report to Housekeeping Services managers and staff earlier today. As expected, the report makes it clear that Housekeeping Services has substantial issues that the University must address. More importantly, the report also offers a host of recommendations and potential action items that we can consider, on both a short- and long-term basis.
I am absolutely committed to making things right in Housekeeping Services. We have been working to fix these problems, but those sincere attempts have fallen short. After reviewing PRM’s recommendations and talking with senior University administrators, we have developed an action plan that incorporates many of PRM’s ideas, plus some additional items that will demonstrate the seriousness with which we take this report. Several steps that we will take immediately are outlined below, and the complete list of action steps will be posted on the website below in the near future. We will also put in place a structure to develop a longer-term plan going forward. I am confident that these actions will have a positive impact on our employees and the environment in Housekeeping Services.
We currently have a unique opportunity to introduce change in Housekeeping Services leadership. For now, Lea Holt, the interim director of Housekeeping Services, will continue in that role. The University will immediately begin recruiting for a permanent Director of Housekeeping Services and expects to hire that person as quickly as possible. We will also immediately begin recruiting for several vacant supervisory positions across the department. These changes will allow us to fill these leadership positions with skilled managers who fully understand the requirements and expectations of leaders in Housekeeping Services.
In addition, we will immediately take the following steps, which we believe are necessary and appropriate to address the findings of the PRM report:
- Establish an Advisory Committee composed of a diverse group of Housekeeping Services employees from all three shifts, which will provide input to Housekeeping management on the progress being made, and offer recommendations to ensure that value and respect are prominent cornerstones of the department’s environment.
- Revise work assignment practices to ensure the fairness of permanent work assignments.
- Conduct a study of Housekeeping salary data to determine if unacceptable pay discrepancies exist.
- Conduct follow-up investigations, as warranted, into any activity disclosed to PRM that potentially constitutes unlawful harassment or discrimination, consistent with the PRM confidentiality statement, or based on other work environment issues disclosed in the report.
- Review the recruitment process, including interview protocols, for all permanent Housekeeping Services positions to ensure recruitments comply with University policy and that the individuals hired are the best qualified for those positions.
- Revise the recruitment and hiring processes for all temporary Housekeeping Services employees.
- Supplement the performance management process to allow employees to provide constructive, developmental feedback for supervisors and management. This effort will begin with a pilot in Housekeeping Services.
- Develop team-building strategies to address cultural issues in the department, provide interpreters in meetings as necessary, and translate primary documents/policies into the three secondary languages widely found in Housekeeping Services: Spanish, Burmese and Karen.
- Provide and require English as a Second Language (ESL) programs for current Housekeeping Services employees without conversational English ability.
- Implement a supervisory development program for all Facilities Services/Housekeeping Services supervisors.
I will work closely with Richard Mann, vice chancellor for finance and administration; his successor, Karol Gray; and Brenda Malone, vice chancellor for human resources, to ensure this plan is carried out successfully and in a timely way. Everyone involved knows how committed I am to the success of this project.
Undertaking this study and report was a voluntary act on the University’s part. We took this step because we wanted to get more information and data about these reported issues through an impartial source. Now we have that information, and the hard work begins.
Change of this magnitude cannot happen overnight. It will take time, work and commitment to break the cycles of behavior that have developed in some areas of Housekeeping Services. We have the opportunity to make a fresh start in Housekeeping and reaffirm our commitment to civility, respect and fairness for all.
To view the report, visit http://hr.unc.edu/faculty-and-staff/prm-report/index.htm. We will also post translated copies of the report in Burmese, Karen and Spanish as soon as possible.