CFPB Employees on Management: Favoritism, No Accountability
CFPB employees have complained internally about bureau managers demonstrating elitism, favoritism, discrimination and a lack of respect, according to a new internal CFPB report obtained by CU Times.
"The concerns raised include complaints about inexperienced supervisors who either micromanage or undermanage their subordinates or ignore employee feedback, and the overabundance of high-pressure projects that are all deemed a priority," the CFPB’s August 2014 "Office of Minority and Women Inclusion Listening Session Report" read.
Employees also complained about a lack of accountability for supervisors who do not manage and develop their direct reports effectively.
CFPB Director Richard Cordray directed OMWI to conduct a series of staff listening sessions to address diversity at the bureau in light of discrimination allegations and performance review disparities investigated by the House Financial Services Committee. According to the report, more than 300 of the CFPB’s 1,100 employees participated in the 48 listening sessions between April 23 and June 18, 2014.
According to the report, every employee was invited to participate and separate sessions were held for managers and supervisors.
“Most consistently, participants frequently mentioned frustrations with insufficiency in infrastructure, lack of transparency and communication and perceived unfairness in application of practices and procedures which permeated throughout the various areas of concern they mentioned,” the OMWI report read.
“The bureau needs to provide managers and supervisors with appropriate training, which has now been developed and started internally, and practices need to be implemented that make time for and value management. Increased training can also complement shifting the culture of the agency to support an equal, fair, and inclusive workplace,” the report recommended.
According to the report, the CFPB is “currently procuring (using full and open competition) expert services to evaluate personnel practices relating to performance ratings, compensation and hiring.”
Employees cited “elitism, favoritism, lack of respect for everyone’s work, lack of civility, lack of appreciation of different work styles, perceptions of discrimination and lack of diversity in management throughout the bureau” as internal issues, the report said
CFPB employees further said these problems have contributed to a “closed environment that was only open to a few select individuals and that others were left wondering how to get into the inner circle.”
Employees who participated in the listening sessions also expressed concerns regarding the CFPB’s new two-tier performance review system, including insufficient communications around the roll out of the system, uncertainty around how to craft new performance objectives that would accurately reflect their job duties and uncertainty around the new system’s impact on FY 2014 evaluations.
CFPB employees will receive either an “unacceptable” or “solid performer” rating under the new system for FY2014. The rating system will change for FY2015 reviews, in which employees receive either an “accomplished performer” or “unacceptable” rating.
Managers who participated in the listening sessions were concerned about how they would be able to reward high performers and how they might motivate staff to perform at a higher level, according to the report.
Managers also said they needed additional training on rating employees and creating new employee performance plans profiles under the new system.