Monday 3 March 2008

Council staff far from happy

The Cairns City Council's annual staff survey proves a shocking read, especially 11 days out from an election. 745 Council staff, or 62%, completed the survey late last year.

Staff are far from happy. Many key areas are identified that need urgent attention.

Staff say that senior mangers are often not known, or sometimes, just by name and reputation only.

In a finding that sounds frighteningly like the residents of Clifton Beach, Woree, Bayview Heights, The Esplanade, Edge Hill, Red Peak, Caravonica, Smithfield have felt .. oh, almost everywhere... the Survey identified that staff are not informed of new developments or changes. "We can then be part of the process - not just informed of an outcome that impacts us but in which we've had no say," the report states.

There appears to be little inter-department communication, with a lack of information sharing on what each department does. "Too often the left hand does not realise what the right hand does or does not do," the report states.

Our Council is performing in the bottom 25% for all seven categories. Cairns City Council’s overall result of 61.6% reflects an organisation whose performance in the Best Practice Categories is in the fourth quartile (bottom 25%) when compared to other organisations in Insync Survey’s national/international benchmark database.

The highest priority categories to Cairns City Council staff are people, processes, products and services and customer and market focus. It also highlighted that Council fail to retain skilled employees.

Then Council CEO, David Farmer, said that the results offer the council the opportunity to improve performance in areas that are important to employees. "We need to work on improving."

Such reports like this, indicate a culture that is manifested from line managers to the very top. This is a systemic problem within the organisation.

CCC Staff survey.pdf


Anonymous said...

"... 62%, completed the survey ..."

Well Michael, I guess the other 38% were happy enough that they felt they didn't need to respond.

So add a 38% perfectly happy factor into the survey and you get a fantastic result.

I wonder how many other employers in Cairns even bother to ask their staff these questions.

I personally know many many staff that think Council is a great place to work ... how many Council staff do you know Michael ???

Anonymous said...

On the other hand perhaps it's because the other 38% couldn't be bothered.

Perhaps its because they know that that all the surveys in the world won't change an entrenched culture.

Pete Johnston
Independent Candidate
Division 10

Anonymous said...

Factman, you clearly do not know what rubbish you are spruiking. The other 38% were probably just like me, filled out hundreds of workplace surveys in my long career, always encourgaged by senior managers to do so, feed back given about results and heaps of promises to fix all the problems etc, - its a load of crap.
What changes.....a big fat zero.
Bullying and jobs for the boys remain the same, year in year out, independent of how many surveys highlight the problems.

I now refuse to fill them in fullstop!

Anonymous said...

There was a well dressed, but rather strange looking man standing outside the male staff toilets at work. The young male trainee approached me as his Supervisor. "There's a funny looking bloke just standing outside the staff toilets, and I don't want to have to talk to him to go to the toilets!"
So up I bristled to this stranger.
"These are staff toilets!" I thundered. "The public toilets are down the road! If you don't leave now, I will call the police!"
Well, the strange looking man, pulled himself up, puffed out his chest and haughtily said, "I am the Area Manager....".
"Show me some proof!" I demanded, and he pulled out his ID card from a pocket.
He had been "Area Manager" for some years....we staff had never met him.
Incidentally, he then went and lodged a complaint about me.....
That's a true story from the Public Service.

Anonymous said...

I know a few council staff factman. Most of these people staff with the council due to the fact they have a mortgage, car payments and children to feed. If it wasnt for that, they would leave. The 38% that didnt do the survey, may have been scared of retribution if they did. The problems raised in the survey are the complaints that my council staff friends talk to me about on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

The majority of large corporations or public service departments, where there is a hierarchical structure have the same problems.
Don't blame this on the Council!!
The same ole, same ole in every place, ie...
* communication breakdowns
* entrenched bullying and abuse
* inadequate staff support &
poor training
* poor morale
The answer lies in looking at our society's cultural values as a whole.
We value prestige, power and money over all else. The workplace today reflects those skewed values.
I could go on and elaborate, but you get the gist.

Anonymous said...

This thread looks a bit contrived to me. I downloaded the newsletter and two things jumped out at me very quickly:

"As illustrated in the graph below 83% of people said that they would recommend working at Cairns City Council to family and friends which was an extremely positive result for the Council."

The second thing was that the survey was done in March 2007. This is not news. Anyone pretending that it is news is probably using the survey for other ends.

Anonymous said...

Michael, it is good that you have made public the results of the 2007 Cairns City Council Staff Satisfaction Survey. As this survey was never reported outside of Council it definitely is news.
A 62% response rate to a survey like this is good and certainly sufficient to validate it.
The results have been benchmarked against similar institutions so the fact that the responses in so many areas fall into the lowest 25% is very disturbing.
And no, other public sector organisations do not get such poor results.
There are many excellent staff who work at the Council but unfortunately they are often not recognised or rewarded for the skills and knowledge that they bring to the job.
It would be good to report on what strategies the CEO and senior managers have put into place to improve things.
It has been demoralising for many staff to work in a climate of fear. And yes, I know many staff from the deptots and the council office, hard working people who do their best for the general public despite - at times - lack of support or good leadership.

Anonymous said...

Peter Johnson is correct. It is almost impossible to overturn an entrenched workplace culture. And don't single out the Cairns City Council for its poor workplace culture. It is bloody everywhere as people see their sense of self and purpose in life as work-based not family or community based. No bloody wonder people are so miserable and unhappy!

Anonymous said...

Welcome aboard Val ...

Now let's see the people skills and HR tactics you have learnt in that wonderful institution, the Queenslnd Public Service !!!

Anonymous said...

People and HR skills in the Queensland Public Service!! Christ, I almost choked.