Expertise in local government

Employee engagement - a critical success factor in local government

Insync has worked with over 80 councils across the country and surveyed approximately 40,000 council employees. During this time, Councils have used our robust benchmark to compare themselves against their industry peers.

Whether you're looking to gauge trust amongst staff, retain skilled employees, engage and consult with your community, increase cooperation across work areas or even provide career opportunities, we can help.

Local government is one of Insync's specialist industry sectors supported by a large dedicated team that understands the priorities and challenges faced by councils. Our partnership with local government over the last 21 years has allowed us to gather extensive survey data. As a result, we have a rich benchmark that councils can use to compare themselves with industry peers and best practice measures.

Local government organisations use their survey results to:

  • Prioritise improvement opportunities
  • Recognise areas of strength
  • Measure true engagement levels
  • Re-establish a higher level of trust between staff
  • Increase the value placed on employees
  • Re-focus attention on community needs
  • Reallocate resources where necessary

At Insync we encourage the sharing of good practices and where appropriate, connect you with a peer organisation that has achieved performance improvement.

"Insync was able to provide us with a snapshot of where our organisation was sitting. The ability to benchmark against other Councils and organisations was valuable. Insync provided a very high standard of service and professionalism from initial presentation through to service delivery and results." Manningham City Council

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Achieving a good response rate and honest feedback

The biggest barrier to a good response rate and honest feedback is that an individual feels they will be identified. This can be partly overcome by a well-designed communication campaign. We can help here by explaining why the survey is being conducted, what will happen with the results and emphasising the fact that no individual can be identified. Insync can assist with this communication by providing templates of well-constructed and effective messaging.

Seven Best Practice performance factors

Engagement alone can lead to misdirected passion. With engagement at the core of the framework, Insync's Employee Opinion Survey then attaches another 52 statements derived from the Business Excellence model. This model is built into seven best practice categories:

  • Leadership and innovation

    Explores how leadership interacts with and involves employees in the organisation. Also addresses how effective leadership creates a culture of innovation.

  • Strategy and planning process

    Explores perceptions of how the organisation develops its strategies and plans, in particular the involvement of employees. Also reviews how strategies and plans are communicated

  • Data, information and knowledge

    Examines how the organisation gathers, shares and uses data, information and knowledge. Also reviews perceptions regarding the use of data to measure performance

  • People

    Assesses employees' perceptions of people-related issues. Reviews facets such as levels of satisfaction, pride, work conditions, development opportunities and staff relationships

  • Customer and market focus

    This category reviews employees' levels of understanding of customer needs and opinions. Also, assesses whether employees perceive that this information is used by the organisation to improve performance

  • Processes, products and services

    Examines perceptions of the processes and procedures that help the organisation run smoothly. Also assesses whether the organisation focuses on improving performance continuously

  • Business results

    Examines how business results are communicated and employees' perception of the competitiveness of the organisation

"Insync provide us with excellent material to help our organisation consolidate on our strengths and project us down the path of continuous improvement.  The Insync team are professional, courteous and responded to our needs and requests immediately. Moyne Shire Council

Weighted Performance Index

This score reflects the Council's overall performance across the Best Practice Categories. Each category has a weighting assigned so that the areas considered more important to employee satisfaction have a greater contribution to the final overall score. The graph below shows Council's performance against all other Councils surveyed by Insync.

Weighted Performance Index

How to make the best use of your survey results

Employee surveys can often deliver a large volume of numbers, statistics, and quantitative analysis. This is necessary for comparing results and improvement initiatives over time however in the absence of a baseline measure, managers can sometimes miss the 'real' reasons why a score is sitting at the lower end of the scale.

Focus Groups


This is an inexpensive way to validate lower scoring survey items. A senior Insync facilitator will conduct a structured workshop with up to 15 employees, lasting around 3 hours.                                 

The focus group will obtain action-orientated, qualitative responses from a selected group of employees to a series of topics/survey items that have been carefully agreed in advance with the client, and in all likelihood will reflect areas of concern highlighted by the survey results.

At its heart, the focus group reveals a deeper understanding of the issues that the results have identified as affecting performance, moral, culture, attendance and relationships. The client can investigate areas of concern/initiatives that are relevant to their unique cultural context through bespoke tailoring of the discussion guide in conjunction with the Project Manager.

A written report is used to summarise results. This would typically include the main themes of the employee feedback, and a practical summary of recommendations broken down into quick-wins and short & longer term actions.

Action Planning


Unfortunately, denial, aggression and ambivalence can impact leader's efforts towards improving organisational performance and engagement. Many of these reactions arise because some leaders don't know what to do with the results; or in many cases feel uncomfortable in approaching staff to assist with ideas and improvement initiatives.

Some managers do not possess the appropriate skills or have not received the proper training in how to develop a robust and well-structured action plan. They are unsure where to start, what framework to use, who needs to be involved, how to open discussions with staff, etc.

Insync's action planning workshop will start by introducing the practical theory behind the action planning process and then proceed to assist managers develop their own plans using the survey results.

"Insync's  Alignment & Engagement Survey has provided for our organsition to measure and improve A&E over the next 3/4 years on the back of significant restructuring and cultural change.City of Port Phillip

Insync Deliberative

Be part of the new wave of community engagement and consultation. Regulators in the local government sector are increasingly demanding proof that your community's views and concerns have been taken into account. They want greater accountability, transparency and power sharing between providers and their communities.

What provides robust evidence of having adequately engaged with your community, and how can Insync help?

Insync Deliberative is a dedicated team that brings quantitative and qualitative skills in research and engagement. These include large scale surveys, benchmarking, facilitation, community and stakeholder engagement and deliberative processes.

At least one third of Council staff work outdoors - Safety counts!

Insync has partnered with over 80 local government organisations to drive their overall performance. Our experience tells us that a positive safety culture can be a powerful enabler and predictor of safety outcomes. Insync helps councils measure and improve approaches to safety, educate staff, promote a psychologically safe workplace and embed safety within leadership practices. Safety is integral to many workplaces, and even more so with Council, as such a large proportion of employees work outdoors.

Safety culture describes an organisation's overall commitment to workplace safety. It's closely linked to an organisation's employee culture. When measured effectively, it aims to understand the gaps that exist between an organisation's safety systems and how well they are being implemented at the team and individual level. Insync's Safety Culture and Engagement Survey assesses how employees think and behave in relation to safety at work and the extent to which employees and leaders support safe workplace behaviours and processes. The overall goal is to improve individual and organisational approaches to safety and reduce safety incidents and their associated personal and financial costs.

The Safety Culture and Engagement Survey consists of questions addressing the closest predictive drivers of workplace safety. It is designed to measure safety culture within the organisation based on psychological, behavioural and situational factors, and provide clear links between safety culture and actionable areas for improvement.

Download our fact sheet on Safety Culture here.

LG research button

Our research has found 4 out of 5 council employees believe their work areas don't collaborate. Click here to download PDF.

          LG brochure cover - collaboration 

Simple Things. Big Impact.

Download our checklist for improving Local Government work places. Click here to download PDF.

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