Streamlining AUC Management: Re-inventing Housekeeping, Grounds Cleaning Services

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To improve campus services and increase efficiency, starting this fall, AUC will change the way it provides housekeeping and grounds cleaning services — excluding grounds maintenance and landscaping services. The University will contract with two reputable companies in the field. The transition will allow for more efficient use of resources and high-quality housekeeping and grounds cleaning services for longer hours per day, while significantly reducing costs.   

“Operating AUC’s housekeeping and grounds cleaning services through two highly reputable Egyptian companies will provide improved cleaning and longer hours of service at both campuses,” said Noel Knille, associate vice president for campus services, who has led a group that has been studying for several months options to improve campus services and increase efficiency.

“We have been on an unsustainable course in these areas of operation,” added Brian MacDougall, executive vice president for administration and finance, “and since times and conditions have changed, we will contract with two reputable companies in the field, providing modern, high-quality services –– at a competitive price and with global quality standards –– that our students, their families and all who work at AUC deserve and expect.”

The University has not yet fixed the date of transition to the new services, but it is expected that this will occur no later than August 2017.

President Francis J. Ricciardone emphasized that this decision was taken after a thorough and careful review of ways to enhance campus services for the benefit of all who study, teach, work, and visit AUC –– and how best to care for the University’s employees whose positions will transition. “We are dedicated to offering the best possible learning environment for our students through continuously improving campus services and concentrating on supporting the University’s educational objectives,” said Ricciardone. “At the same time, we are committed to taking care of all our people. And that means supporting staff members who will be affected by this decision. We will do all we can to ensure the smoothest, most considerate transition possible. Our goal must be to make sure that each of our dedicated people can continue to find employment either at AUC or outside.” 

Determined to continue supporting all its workers through this transition, AUC has urged the specialized firms to hire as many as possible of the University’s current employees in the housekeeping and grounds cleaning areas, subject to the firms’ own interviews and assessments of performance and suitability. The firms have agreed to hire those applicants whom they judge possess the necessary skills, experience and past demonstration of dedication to their job performance. “We will provide the new firms with a list of all employees who continue to work diligently through the end of their employment at AUC,” said MacDougall. “The companies will soon begin interviewing current employees who may wish to apply for employment with them.”

Knille clarified that “we expect the new contractors will hire a significant number of our current employees. To those loyal, hard-working employees who may not receive offers of re-employment by the two companies at AUC, we will provide certificates and recommendations intended to help them find alternative employment.” 

Committed to constantly supporting and looking after its staff, AUC will provide extra support to those employees who depart in good standing. This includes the following:

1. Recommendation letters and positive certificates of service recognizing their good service to AUC.

2. Regardless of when the transition may begin and regardless of the end-of-contract date for many current employees, AUC is willing to disburse fair severance payments to all affected staff on indefinite period contracts and those on fixed-term contracts ending post-August 31, 2017 as well as exceptional bonuses to all staff on fixed-term contracts, provided they continue to serve with their customary full commitment and loyalty to AUC, until the new firms commence providing full services.

3. For staff whose dependents are currently enrolled in AUC’s academic programs or have received acceptance letters, they will continue their educational programs as per the current enrollment policy.

4. As always, AUC takes care of its deserving employees who face exceptional, emergency hardships on a case-by-case basis. 

MacDougall expressed the University’s sentiments regarding this decision, noting, “The administration understands that this has an impact on a number of employees and is keen to act with care and compassion to support staff members through this transitional period.”

Affected staff members will be contacted shortly for individual meetings with HR specialists to handle their concerns and questions. “AUC’s senior administration went through a long and careful review of options available,” said Sarah Refaat, associate vice president for human resources. “The human resources team is dedicated to providing continued support to the employees impacted. There will be close cooperation with both labor syndicates to determine how we can be of help to the impacted workforce.”

AUC will be retaining some of the current housekeeping and grounds cleaning staff members, including a housekeeping director and eight housekeeping coordinators. These coordinators will each be responsible for monitoring eight campus locations that have been identified for cleaning and will act as AUC representatives to building occupants and to the new firms. Cleaning services will be assigned to each firm based on these eight locations.  

“AUC is committed to providing effective and efficient services to support the mission and vision of the University,” said MacDougall. “We are constantly evaluating how best to deliver services so as to use AUC’s resources wisely. The AUC administration thanks all the housekeeping and grounds cleaning employees of Buildings and Grounds for their efforts and cooperation through their years of service to AUC.”

Both companies selected have demonstrated positive track records of service at several well-known institutions internationally. Some of the clients for both companies include well-known corporations and entities. “With companies that are experts in their fields providing the housekeeping and grounds cleaning services on campus, AUC will be able to continue to focus on its primary function, which is exemplary higher education in Egypt and the region,” Knille added.