Would you rather work in the public sector or the private sector?
Less than 10 per cent of staff at the Internal Affairs Department – including those who work for government ministers – say they feel committed and prepared to go the extra mile, a leaked survey shows.
In what was yesterday described as further evidence of a crisis of morale among public servants, the survey of 2800 employees revealed more than a third felt "disengaged" and another 56 per cent felt ambivalent.
Only 9.3 per cent said they were "engaged".
Labour spokeswoman Ruth Dyson said the April survey, which comes on top of reports of negative staff sentiment at Foreign Affairs, Defence and other state agencies, showed "a public service morale crisis" made worse by constant restructuring.
"Around 85 per cent of staff completed the survey, which sounds like the most engagement they had with their job, given the result."
Even Ministerial Services reported only 14.3 per cent engaged, with 25 per cent feeling disengaged.
In a leaked email, then acting DIA chief executive Peter Mersi said the outcome was poor compared with other state sector agencies and large organisations.
"I am confident that in terms of the department's engagement profile the only way is up!" he said.
Staff had faced a range of changes including integration, meeting the Government's savings targets and a new minister and chief executive.
Engagement was defined as an indication of staff "fully clear and committed to what the organisation stands for, open to opportunities and challenges, and prepared to go the extra mile".
New chief executive Colin MacDonald yesterday agreed the result was "towards the bottom end". If a similar survey were taken now, he would not expect much improvement because fixing it was "a marathon, not a sprint". But lifting engagement was one of his key priorities.
While no specific changes had been made yet, teams were meeting to discuss how to address it.
Other measures of morale, such as staff turnover or sick leave, showed the department was average or better than average.
The poor result was partly due to the nature of the department, which covered a wide range of portfolios. Staff were much more connected to their day-to-day work than to the wider organisation, Mr MacDonald said.
But Ms Dyson said that made her even more concerned, given the National Library and Archives had been added to the department, giving it even more diverse roles.
Meanwhile, a Westpac McDermott Miller Employment survey released yesterday found government workers were gloomier about job security than at any time in the measure's six-year history.
Public Service Association secretary Richard Wagstaff said what was needed was a shift to continuous improvement rather than continuous restructuring.
Related story: Jobs gloom greatest in public sector
- © Fairfax NZ News
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