Over the last year there have been many comments left on my blog about the low morale within the municipal work force. Some people have chosen to ignore this issue, blow it off, there have been comments made that it's always been this way. At the Coleman sportsplex last Wednesday a presentation was given to all members of the municipal organization including Council, Administration and CUPE members.
I was told that the most common reaction from council members was "I never knew it was this bad". Which surprises me due to the fact that it seems almost everyone in the community knows their is a problem the issue was even touched up on in the Municipal Inspection.
Let's talk about the report and comments that came out of it I'm sure some of my readers will be very familiar. The report looked at many area's within the municipality I will go through them in order.
1. Decision Making Process:
"The impression is that decisions are made by leadership with little or no employee input or discussion; that this is the way it is going to be, and if you don't like it, there are other jobs out there".
"The most common sentiment was many feel they cannot get answers they require to do their work effectively, or that decisions are not made in a timely and efficient fashion"
"Lack of open, clear communication within the MCP was perhaps one of the strongest themes to emerge from the interviewees. It was described with such words as "deplorable" and "non-existent"
"Secretive" and "lots of closed doors" were terms used to describe the communication from leadership to employees"
"people are fearful of negative repercussions if they speak freely and their opinion differs from mangement"
3. Change/Change Management Processes
"The overall message from interviewees is not so much that the decisions are faulty (although some feel this way), but that the changes could have been better managed and communicated"
"Most employees feel if the changes were not "shoved down their throat" or managed with an "iron fist", the outcomes could have been much less divisive"
"People have simply not felt involved and engaged in the process for change to be successfully implemented in this workplace"
4. Human Resources Responsibilities
"In short, there is significant ambiguity and lack of effectiveness in this area"
5. Relationships within Peers
"At the employee level, there was no significant patterns of concern regarding difficulties withi working groups or between the working groups"
6. Relationship between Union and Management
"While many express that this relationship has, historically, not been "perfect", the theme is that, currently, the relationship is the "worst it has ever been".
"The union perceives management is saying "bring it on" in terms of grievances. There are those that believe the objective of management is to "break the union".
"This opinion, that it is a "difficult union", was not shared by any member of past MCP management interviewed. The perspective from this group was "just listen to them and treat them with integrity" and you will be able to work together effectively"
7. Effectiveness of the Union
"Those who feel either unsupported by their union, or perhaps feel it is not effective at this point, are left feeling "they have nowhere left to go" for help, as many do not trust management either"
8. Performance Management Systems
"There appears to be a system to review individual performance only at the management level, and isolated pockets within the organization".
9. Training and Development
"Some felt they had the support of the MCP and their managers to take courses and training as needed. Some felt the option to do so was limited by whether you were a "favorite" of the manager"
10. Rewards and Recognition
"There is no organization-wide rewards and recognition system in place"
11. Feeling Valued and Respected
"The overall feeling amongst most staff is that they do not feel valued and respected for the work they do"
12. Stress and Morale
"The majority of employees indicated they are experiencing significantly high levels of stress in this workplace. Longer term employees stated "morale is lower than they can remember".
Previous management and HR interviewed have chosen to leave, primarily because of the environment, indicating "they have never seen anything like it" in their years in the workplace".
"They say "people used to be so proud to work here", and "this should be the best place to work".
"Despite this core strength, engagement and initiative is dwindling. Many are losing hope; simply "waiting for the next election", where some believe a new administration will be appointed and thus translate into a more positive workplace environment".
"For almost every interviewee, leadership issues were at the center of their concerns".
14. History of the CNP
"Many interviewed, did, however, speak to the "revolving door" of senior management in the MCP, particularly in recent years".
15. Disciplinary Management of Inappropriate Behaviors and Harassment
"The broad perception held by the majority is that discipline is not handled in a fair and consistent manner. There is a belief that some employees have been "persecuted" or "targeted" simply because they did not always agree with management. This belief was asserted by both unionized employees and previous management interviewed".
"There is also the perception that significant breaches of confidentiality, and allegations of harassment, have attracted no through investigation, disciplinary measures of appropriate action of any kind".
"Another stream of commentary suggests that some unionized employees have behaved disrespectfully towards members of the current management team, refused to comply with certain directives, or failed to cooperate with other employees because of residual hard feelings (changes in the fire department for example)".
"In sum, the approach to misconduct and allegations of harassment appears to be inconsistent, often avoidant, and not always even handed".
16. Team Building/Social Activities
"People will no longer attend social gatherings and activities together because they are too divided"
"Prior to this administrative period, interviewees said social events were fun and well attended".
17. Roles and Responsibilities/Workload
"Many feel as though vacant positions need to get filled in a more timely fashion, as their workloads are impacted in the intervening period. Many also spoke to a lack of mentoring or transitioning when moving into a new role. Succession planning also seems to be absent. There was not seen to be a clear and consistent process for job postings".
"There are also concerns about the safety of crumbling infrastructure for the community, and the inabiliy to get a direct answer on how to proceed when it appears to be a safety risk".
19. Fire Department
"The emotional fallout of the changes in the volunteer based fire department is widespread, impacting both the community and the MCP".
20. Compensation and Benefits
"No issues of significance were raised here"
21. Organizational Structure
"No issues of significance were raised here".
This report was carried out by "Diverse Solutions" a consulting company out of Calgary, I am led to believe that the municipality and CUPE split the cost on this (around $10,000 each). The report indicates that there was 60 interviews conducted including past, present, management and union employees. For anybody that attended the Municipal Inspection presentation or the ratepayers meeting last week the public was informed that this was a second version of the report. My goodness if the first was worse than this then we really are in trouble.
In the last three years there have been how many policies, procedures and bylaws put in place to manage our community while at the same time the municipalities own back yard is in a mess.