Australian Government,  Facilitation,  Leadership,  Team performance

Why your APS census results should mean something     

It happens every year. The APS Employee Census results are in. You spend three or four weeks pouring over the results. Dissecting the good and the bad. Debating the internal communications approach. Someone writes the action plan. And… nothing. Silence. 
The to-do list gets long. The next emergency happens. Another Min brief is due. Time for Senate Estimates again. So you move on. 
The next year rolls around, and you wonder why the results are the same (or worse). What a surprise! 

Why did your staff complete the survey 

Your staff have taken the time to tell you how they feel about the workplace, how engaged they are, and their perceptions of leadership, wellbeing and culture.  

There will likely be a mix of positive and constructive feedback, some expected and some unexpected. Ultimately, it is a treasure trove of information about how your organisation is performing. It is also often the only time employees are asked these questions, and the results are an invaluable data source. 

Staff complete the survey thinking that their feedback will mean something. That their ideas might just help to improve their work environment. Otherwise why would they waste their time!

When your staff give their time to provide feedback, it is an opportunity to demonstrate a willingness to listen and learn.  

Why are employee Census results important? 

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that employee survey results can be a valuable tool for improving employee engagement, productivity, and retention. Employees who feel heard are over four times more likely to feel empowered to do their best work. 

The Gallup State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report found that companies with highly engaged employees are 17% more productive than companies with low employee engagement. Those companies that have low engagement have a high percentage of staff (67%) that are either ‘quietly’ or actively quitting. 

It’s not enough to ask the questions in the survey. Staff want to feel like they are heard, their views are valued, and change is possible. 

It has become tick the box exercise 

One department told me the other day that leadership were too busy to engage in developing the census action plan. They would just accept whatever they were given by HR.  

What a great message to send to staff! 

For many teams and departments in the APS, action plans have become a tick-the-box exercise. It is about getting it done and sending it back to the APSC or the HR team. It is not about deeply considering what the results mean and where you can genuinely create change,

As a leader, you might feel you don’t have time, or it’s not as important as other things on your list. Why are you asking your staff to complete the census in the first place?!?

Doing nothing is a missed opportunity to really focus on what should be your most important priority – your people!  

How can we help 

At our core, we believe you should take your team’s census results and turn them into something truly meaningful. Instead of just looking at the best and worst scores, we want you to use the data to spark deeper conversations about what really matters to your team.  

We run team planning days where we get everyone involved in co-designing actions so that they not only feel heard but also feel ownership over the action plan. It’s not just about talking, we want to make real progress. After all, it’s everyone’s responsibility to shape the team culture.  

We also use the data to kick-start a team health check. We work with teams to assess how they are tracking against the key elements of a high-performing team and identify the priority actions that will have the biggest impact. We also support teams to monitor their progress so that they don’t have to wait another 12 months to see if the actions are working!  

We know that there are many, many, many conversations about the APS census results each year – but they rarely move beyond words into tangible, measurable action. We will help you not only get your action plans done, but we make it worth the effort.  

In the current context of increasing complexity of work, multiple demands, shifting employee expectations, and a tight employment market, time spent getting the settings right for your team to perform at their best is time well spent.  

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