Agenda item

Employee Engagement Survey

A presentation and discussion of the Employee Survey results, subsequent actions and next steps.


The HR Manager presented the report on the Employee Engagement Survey 2021/22 which had taken place in December 2021.


The survey had been undertaken by an independent provider, Protostar UK.  Areas covered within the survey included management, leadership, communications and wellbeing, with 55 questions being asked.


Members were given a presentation in respect of an on line document that had been compiled and would be communicated to employees concerning the results of the survey and the action plan in place following the feedback received.  The document would be kept updated throughout the year and actions communicated to employees.


Forty-five percent of employees had responded to the survey which was down from 64% the previous year. The response rate was lower than anticipated and there had been challenges engaging with people who were working from home.  Work had been done to engage with as many people as possible, with officers going down to the depot to encourage people to respond and the survey deadline had been extended.


The engagement index which was made up of six key questions was 64% which was lower than the 65.5% of the previous year.  Positive areas of the survey were around Covid and decision making during this period, and individual teams being treated with respect and supported within those teams scored highly.  One of the lowest scoring questions was around moral which at 32% was similar to previous surveys.  Work had been done to explore the reasons for this.  Other low scoring questions were around communication between departments and perceived career opportunities within the Council.  Due to the lower response rate and variation in team sizes it had been difficult to compare and breakdown the responses received. 


Highest responses had been received from the senior management in neighbourhoods and licensing, leisure and building control.  The lowest scores had come from housing repairs, arts and benefits.


One of the steps following the survey was the launch of the People Panel in March 2022.  The Panel comprised 25 colleagues from different departments and they looked in more depth at the results of the survey,what it was telling us, what people were thinking when they completed the survey and what actions could be derived from the feedback received.  Separate sessions were also held with the Leadership Teams of each department around what the survey results revealed.    Managers then held separate engagement sessions with their teams on the results and what specific actions employees wanted to see.  At a meeting of the People Panel held last month priority actions from across the Teams were agreed.


A comment was made about the low response rate, less than half the employees had completed the survey, and the question was asked if employees still had the opportunity to take a break and fill the survey in during work time, also that the survey continued to be anonymous.  It was also felt that due to the low response rate the results were not as meaningful as previous surveys where completion had been higher.  It was caveated that due to the change and transformation taking place especially in the last year, those areas such as housing, arts and culture where poor performance was being dealt with would have a response rate that was less favourable.  The Leader stated that he would like to see a robust plan in place for the next survey and that staff were allocated time within their working day to complete it.  It was felt that the low response rate did not give a conclusive result.


The Deputy Chief Executive accepted the comments made, but stated that although statistical the whole results were valid, when they were broken down into teams they were not, due to the small numbers involved.   Staff needed to know that it was worthwhile to complete the survey and that it did make a difference.   The HR Manager stated that even if a higher percentage of survey returns had been received, the same trends would still be shown.


Another Member acknowledged the low response rate and referred to issues that had happened such as Covid and the changes currently taking place within some section.  The survey was a snapshot in time, it was how the responses to the survey were addressed going forward.  This was echoed by other Members and it was noted that the new ways of working and new office accommodation would affect results going forward.


Discussion on how the survey was completed followed and acknowledgement made of the current challenging period.


The Engagement Plan was then discussed.  It detailed what people felt was important:

·       communications

·       better ways of working together between teams

·       more social events

·       career opportunities

and what actions could be put in place to support these areas such as having virtual Find out Fridays and work done following appraisals to help develop and support employees.


Further discussion on the Engagement Plan followed and work was being undertaken on engagement, development and support for new line managers, communications, having a wellbeing plan, the hybrid approach to working, and looking at pay.  It was noted that pay was not consistent and the HR Manager stated that benchmarking was taking place but it was inconsistent, an update on the pay review would come to the next meeting of the Committee.


Ø Action


An update on the Pay Review to the next meeting of the Committee.


More discussion then followed on the employment market and that some sectors were finding it very challenging to recruit staff.  Covid had impacted the market and there had been a major shift with a large proportion of people reaching retirement age.  Work was on going to address gaps in the market with graduate and apprenticeship schemes together with partnership working and succession planning together with the staff offer available.


The HR Manager was thanked for the presentation and the work being undertaken.


Supporting documents: