The Interim Corporate Director presented this report on the recent staff engagement survey and highlighted the main findings. It was noted that the survey was sent to all staff employed by the Council, but not those who worked on site but were employed by one of our partner authorities.
The Interim Corporate Director reported that the findings were not surprising and whilst there were many positives it was clear that there were areas that needed attention.
The Committee noted that the planning service had undergone a period of change with the introduction of the shared service, which necessitated a move of location for many staff, and there were a number of vacancies, which increased the workload. It was suggested that a change of administration may bring challenges to officers.
It was noted that other authorities had seen similar challenges following the introduction of a shared service.
It was noted that the provision of ICT to staff had been identified by the survey as a major issue in the qualitative comments.
It was noted that only 18 officers who worked at Waterbeach Depot had completed the survey. The Interim Corporate Director recognised that it was difficult to base conclusions from such a return, but this represented an increase on previous efforts to engage these staff, who were obliged to complete paper copies of the form where in many cases literacy was an issue. It was understood that many of these employees were keen to return home after completing their shift. To mitigate this it was suggested that in future the survey should be broken down into smaller sections, which could be completed individually every week. Another suggestion was that a simplified version of the survey could be provided for depot staff. The possibility of offering entry into a prize draw to those who entered had been rejected as officers were completing the survey anonymously.
The Committee expressed the view that managers needed to tackle poor performance, based on the average score of 3.19 out of 5 on whether “poor performance is effectively managed by managers”. The Interim Corporate Director explained that whilst the perception could be from staff that poor performance was not being dealt with, managers’ actions in private one-to-one sessions would not be noticed by many officers who completed the survey.
It was noted that coaching and mentoring was offered to all staff, including new managers.
The Committee agreed that the results of the survey could not be reliably compared to the previous survey carried out in 2009, as so much had changed over the last 10 years. It was agreed that this year’s survey would provide a useful benchmark for subsequent surveys. The Interim Corporate Director was asked to contact neighbouring authorities and ask them to share the results of their recent surveys, although it was noted that they would be under no obligation to share this information. It was suggested that the Local Government Association be approached to assist with this. It was agreed that a staff survey should be carried out next year to measure what progress that had been achieved.
It was stated that changes needed to implemented to assure staff that their views had been listened to. The Interim Corporate Director explained that staff had expressed concerns about the state of the staff toilets and kitchen areas. In response the Facilities Manager had gone out to tender for the necessary renovation work.
The Committee agreed that the Recruitment and Retention Task and Finish Group should analyse the data from the staff survey and draw up a list of actions.
Interpreting qualitative comments
The Interim Corporate Director explained that the survey had a free text option for each section and this had resulted in a large amount of data that still needed to be analysed. On the suggestion of Councillor Claire Daunton, the Committee agreed that the Recruitment and Retention Task and Finish Group should assist officers in analysing the qualitative data resulting from the survey.
NOTED the Staff Survey and the conclusions detailed in the report.
A) The Recruitment and Retention Task and Finish Group assist officers with the analysis of the qualitative comments in the survey.
B) The Recruitment and Retention Task and Finish Group analyse all the data from the survey and draw up a list of actions.
C) A staff survey should be carried out in 2020.