Survey response plan “vital” says NZ Police

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When New Zealand Police released its annual workplace report earlier this month, more than 28 per cent of staff said they were fully engaged – considerably higher than the State Sector benchmark of 18.5 per cent.

While it's good news for NZ Police, the work is far from over and one advisor stressed responding to people’s feedback is now of absolute importance.

“We have quite a comprehensive approach to responding to the results of surveys,” said Alexandra Renton-Green, principal advisor of organisational and employee development at NZ Police.

“We have 12 districts and a number of smaller service centres and each of those leadership teams are responsible for deciding how they’ll respond to the survey,” she told HRM.

While the different operations have freedom in how they respond, Renton-Green says NZ Police encourages responses to be as simple as possible, focussing on one lead initiative rather than numerous actions.

“We also recommend a communications plan be a key component of that response plan so they keep people informed along the way and remind people about the connection between their feedback and the action that’s being taken,” she added.

Wellington-based Renton-Green says that connection is essential in a large organisation where opportunities to speak up are sometimes sparse.

“In an organisation like ours which is just so big, there aren’t that many opportunities for people to have a say,” she told HRM.

“Even within the survey itself, we’ve got 53 questions so they’re kind of hemmed in but there’s a huge component at the end of our survey of verbatim comments and that’s where people really go to town and tell us exactly how they feel,” she laughs.

“They put the time and the effort into giving us feedback so it’s really important that they understand that we do actually take that feedback on board, we read it, we analyse it, we think about what we can do to make a difference, and it’s important that they know that the information doesn’t just stop and go nowhere,” she stressed. “It does go somewhere and people do take notice.”

One organisational change which was enacted as a result of survey responses is focused on overhauling the promotion process.

“We had feedback from staff that they weren’t comfortable with the appointment process so we’ve had a long running review around the process which has included changes to policy, changes to systems and talking to the organisation about what merit means,” said Renton-Green.

“Our appointments policy states that people must be appointed to positions based on merit so we’re unpacking that within the organisation,” she continued. “What does that actually mean? What does it mean to you? What does it mean to me? What does it mean for the process?

“We’ve also got a new online system around appointments so we’re working quite slowly through the process but as thoroughly as we possibly can to get that long term sustainable change rather than just trying to patch it,” she added.

The Workplace Survey took place between 2 and 20 May 2016. Overall the results reflect Police’s Engagement Index trending slightly upwards at 72.5 per cent when compared to 72.1 per cent in 2015.

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