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Councils tight-lipped on staff satisfaction

Masterton and South Wairarapa councils are tight-lipped on the results of last year’s staff satisfaction surveys.

Both have refused to make public the surveys’ aggregated information as requested under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act [LGOIMA], saying it would be a breach of staff privacy and trust to do so.

Carterton District Council does not conduct formal staff satisfaction surveys.

South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] said although it would not publish aggregated information from its staff survey conducted in April last year, there had already been “significant shifts in sentiment” as a result of actions by the executive leadership team.

“The staff survey provided us with some very valuable insights about staff physical, environmental, and psychological well-being,” SWDC’s response said.

“The health, safety, and well-being of our staff is of the utmost importance to us.

“We have been working on various initiatives that we have deemed a priority, to help improve our work environment and give our staff what they need to do their best work for our communities.

“A recent refresh of aged and damaged furniture is an essential to addressing those needs, as is our flexible working and working from home approach.”

Last year, SWDC also conducted a remote working and wellbeing survey in August, and a follow-up pulse survey in September.

Results from these surveys were presented to councillors on the Finance, Audit, and Risk Committee and the CEO Review Committee.

SWDC’s response said a wide array of improvements had been introduced since the surveys, including an organisational improvement group with staff participation from across council, individual leadership 360s, a role resizing project, project and task management training for all staff, and coaching training for managers.

In its refusal of the LGOIMA request, Masterton District Council [MDC] people and culture manager Ben Jessep said information contained in any internal staff survey was “highly sensitive”.

“Our staff are reassured at the time of providing such feedback that the information they share will be treated with the utmost respect and privacy,” they said.

“Trust and integrity are important to us.”

He said making public the information could breach staff privacy and trust.

“It could also impact staff willingness to be open and transparent in future surveys, and in ongoing conversations with us as their employer.”

Carterton District Council [CDC] people and well-being manager Geri Brooking said although there was no formal staff satisfaction survey at her council, “our focus is on providing open opportunities, at any time, for staff to provide feedback and suggestions to enhance their work environment”.

“Over the past 12 months, we have been specifically engaging with our team to develop the Staff Well-being Strategy,” she said.

“The engagement involved a series of workshops attended by most of the staff where they considered what the vision for the strategy should be, they reviewed the well-being benefits and activities currently available at CDC, discussed what well-being means for them, and suggested initiatives and actions to enhance the work environment and their personal well-being.

“An action plan and well-being calendar have been developed to implement these activities and will be monitored by the Health and Safety Committee.

“This approach will ensure ongoing engagement with staff, and a deeper, and more authentic understanding of the well-being of our team.”

— NZLDR



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