Human relations is about people, not only about managing employee interactions. As part of the annual Employee of the Year Award (EOY) program, UNC Charlotte recognizes an employee who has made outstanding contributions toward enhancing workplace quality and employee morale or enhancing the public image of the University.
To say the past year has been challenging is quite an understatement. However, Krista Collins, this year’s EOY recipient in the category of Human Relations, was able to rise to the occasion to keep employees in the University’s largest and most diverse department engaged throughout a once-in-a-century, global pandemic.
“This year has been one of great service, partnership, dedication and connection for Krista where she has gone above and beyond her job responsibilities to ensure Facilities Management (FM) staff were prepared for the challenges of COVID-19,” wrote Charleata Neal, FM director of Human Resources.
FM is the University’s largest department with more than 370 employees, responsible for building, repairing and maintaining the University’s beautiful facilities and grounds. Most employees in departments such as Building Environmental Services and Recycling, Maintenance Operations and Grounds do not spend their days in front of a computer.
During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many FM employees were sent home as a result of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order in March 2020. Collins immediately jumped into action to keep employees engaged.
First, she implemented the Percipio learning management system for FM, making her department the first and largest one to implement it. She also crafted a learning and development plan to train employees on how to use the learning platform, and she gave them the opportunity to take courses through Google Suite, related to diversity and inclusion and adapting to organizational change.
For some employees, English is not their first language. In order to best support FM employees’ individual needs, Collins worked in partnership with Building Environmental Services and Recycling, Maintenance Operations and Grounds leadership to use a report that outlined each employee’s first and second language, if they had internet access and their access to technology. Collins also held FM’s first bilingual training session working with Grounds leadership to deliver customer service training in Spanish.
In addition to her contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic, Collins was credited with her work to develop and deliver customized training that assisted in the launch of FM’s new work order processes. She volunteered to create five competency-based skill practice job aids, three presentations, three participant guides and a customized training channel in Percipio. Collins also worked long hours to ensure FM’s third shift received the essential training for this new process.
“She is always willing to jump in and support others and continues to model our duty to serve others,” wrote Neal in support of Collins’ nomination.
Collins and the other Employee of the Year Award recipients were acknowledged at a virtual Employee of the Year awards ceremony and Staff Recognition event on April 23. If you missed the live event, you can watch a recording of it here.