Being valued is the burning point for local government employees

April 2014

Local government employee survey Like most industries, the local government sector carries some unique management and employee challenges such as clearly communicating the organisation's strategies and goals, developing staff, creating a work environment where employees feel recognised and valued, understanding community needs and continually improving their systems.

Insync Surveys now works with over 70 councils nationally and has developed a rich database of employee responses to a range of survey questions built around best practice in local government.

Councils feel the burn

Based on approximately 50,000 local government employee responses, our analysis tells us that employees consistently rate one particular survey item - "valuing employees in the organisation" -  as the most important to them. Yet, from a total of 52 items, councils are performing least effectively at valuing their staff. This one survey item is always a major improvement opportunity for Insync Surveys' 70+ council clients. Feeling valued is also consistently rated well above areas such as pay and work conditions.

Employees in councils across Australia are giving a strong message to their leadership groups that they want to feel more valued and recognised in their workplaces and for the work they do.

In our experience, councils performing well in this area place a strong emphasis on developing, recognising and caring about their employees. Leaders in these councils acknowledge and thank their people for their contribution at regular opportunities such as weekly team meetings, weekly CEO updates, birthdays, end of month functions, quarterly results presentations and end of financial year functions. Good leaders "go out of their way" to recognise their people. These leaders make a habit of investing time in their people. By simply saying thank you and making that thank you directly related to employees' work, council employees in these organisations feel more valued.

Get more "value"

Recognising staff and making them feel valued can be achieved at a small cost to the organisation. Councils that are performing well in this area recognise the need of building in recognition systems into their workplaces. This ensures that the organisation creates a rhythm around regular staff celebrations, recognition events and communications.

An employee who feels valued and recognised will be more likely to be engaged with the organisation and are more likely to be highly productive and give higher levels of customer service and output from their work.

The following table highlights the "top four gap scores" according to overall survey results from Insync Surveys' local government clients. A gap score is calculated by comparing the level of importance placed by a staff member on a particular survey item/question to their perceived view of the organisation's performance for the same item. If an item is rated high in importance yet attracts a low performance score then the gap is large.

The amount of time the following survey item appeared in the top 4 gap scores across ALL local government studies


Survey item
% of time appearing
as a top 5 gap
Valuing employees in the organisation 100%
Keeping skilled employees 97%
Trust among people in the organisation 82%
Cooperation across work areas 74%

Insync Surveys has a dedicated local government consulting service that partners with leadership teams to address these improvement areas. By working on gap areas, councils move closer to achieving an engaged workforce. This features employees who willingly pull together to achieve a better workplace, higher performance and more efficient and effective delivery of community services.

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