Clarence Valley’s councillors yesterday (after the Independent went to press) considered whether or not to have the council’s staff complete an “employee engagement survey”.
The survey, if it is undertaken, would aim to objectively “measure staff behaviours, perceptions, and satisfaction with their work in order to assess their level of engagement”.
Clarence Valley Council’s (CVC) strategic organisation action plan (SOAP) advocates, as a key task, the undertaking of “a cultural analysis of the organisation with a view to determining actions to overcome issues identified”.
The report to yesterday’s meeting recommends conducting the survey “as soon as practicable, with the cost of the survey, $18,000, to be funded from the General Manager’s consultant budget”.
“Small staff surveys” were conducted in 2006 and 2009, the report to council states.
“The 2009 survey results showed progress had been made in relation to a number of key staff concerns, however, little further progress was made in responding to broader issues, following the 2009 survey.
“Neither survey resulted in formal/structured improvement plans.”
Council staff has recommended that councillors accept an offer from Local Government NSW (LG NSW) to conduct the survey, rather than considering the “wide range of providers [in] the market delivering staff engagement surveys”.
The LG NSW survey is a “product that is cost effective, offering benchmarking against a significant number of other NSW councils”, the report to council states.
With CVC “currently in a period of significant reform and change including structural, financial and operational reviews, local government reforms and the appointment of a new general manager”, the report to council states that the “results of a survey would provide direction for action planning and assist in building a high performance culture”.
“Initial research conducted prior to going to the market with an EOI [expressions of interest], identified that Local Government NSW (LGNSW) provides a staff survey service using an online tool developed by Voice Project.
“LGNSW has delivered staff surveys to 49 NSW Councils and is therefore able to provide us with benchmarking of survey results against these Councils.”
Further detail on the proposal is contained within a confidential attachment provided to councillors.
The survey would be completed in “approximately eight weeks from the establishment of the project to delivery of the results”.
“Option 1 of LG NSW’s proposal is recommended as the General Manager can report the outcome of the survey to the Council,” the report to council states.
There is an ‘Option 2’; however, details of that option are included in the confidential attachment.
The Independent was unable to confirm (before the paper’s print deadline) that the survey was prompted by observations in the Crest preliminary organisation structure review, which was table at the March council meeting.
Under the ‘Measuring Performance’ section, Crest wrote: “…there has been genuine progress in this area, but time needs to be taken to review how the new systems and processes are being implemented ‘on the ground’.”
“We received some concern that some of these processes are heading towards becoming ‘an end in itself’, rather than adding fundamental and significant value to council.
“We believe further review in this area should look at better processes to determine and communicate organisation priorities…”