Police department unhappy with workplace, says survey | City | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Police department unhappy with workplace, says survey

HRP looks to alter its 10-year plan to try and improve employee engagement.

click to enlarge Police department unhappy with workplace, says survey
Officers marching to Grand Parade last fall.

Halifax Regional Police plan to address low employee engagement numbers during the second phase of its 10-year strategic plan.

Staff presented a report to the Board of Police Commissioners on Monday, outlining updated goals for the next three years of the plan, which was originally introduced in 2015. Additions include a set of goals in response to the 2018 employee engagement survey, which tracks municipality-employee relationships.

The HRP consistently reported some of the lowest engagement numbers of any Halifax Regional Municipality employee unit, suggesting a lack of satisfaction among police with the HRM.

At Monday’s meeting, researcher Chris Giacomantonio said, on the positive side, police generally find their job and pay rewarding and feel they are able to “do what they do best.”

However, police scored about 10 percent lower than the average municipal employee in several survey questions.

Only 33 percent of HRP employees expressed confidence in the senior management, compared to 48 percent of municipal employees. Thirty-nine per cent agreed they are given a fair opportunity for job training, compared to 59 percent of municipal employees. Police were also less likely to agree they could achieve their career goals in the HRM.

In overall employee engagement, which reflects confidence in the HRM as an employer, police scored five percent lower than the average municipal employee.

“We’ve identified some areas here; there are some things that I look at and go ‘wow, there are some concerns here,’” said deputy mayor Tony Mancini after the report’s presentation.

Chief Jean-Michel Blais told commissioners a committee has been formed to investigate the low engagement numbers. The committee will present its solutions at the next meeting.

“We recognize that there’s still some work to be done,” said Blais. “This is not dependent on a cohort or one individual; it’s the entire organization.”

In response, the second phase of the plan will include a review of engagement survey numbers and employee recognition process, with a goal of improving morale and confidence in leadership among police.

“That is a key deliverable going forward for Phase Two,” said police coordinator Carole Lee Reinhardt. “Gathering results and actually creating the recommendations, and actioning them over the next two years, so that the next employee engagement survey hopefully looks a little different.”

These engagement goals are only a small part of the strategic plan’s second phase. Over the next three years, HRP plan to evaluate the force in three main areas: Reduction and response to crime, safe communities and effective and innovative police services.

Also new to the plan will be action plans for the city’s sexualized violence strategy, improving the force’s trauma-informed response strategy and implementing new national diversity and inclusion metrics. All of these changes are part of a 10-year initiative that Reinhardt says will take Halifax’s police force “to the next level.”

Reinhardt said many goals are building upon or being carried over from the first phase of the project, which gathered improvement feedback from HRP employees and community members. This next stage will focus on evaluating the collected information and coming up with steps to improve HRP operations and strategies.

A final report on the plan’s second phase will be voted on by the board of commissioners at the next meeting on February 11. Phase two of the plan is expected to come into effect on April 1.

A version of this story first appeared at signalhfx.ca

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