Kate Sullivan (Lead Commissioner - Culture, Leadership and Performance) and Rebecca Sarchet (OD Practitioner) recounted the work done to promote employee engagement. Employee engagement check-in surveys had been undertaken more frequently during the pandemic and had provided a helpful source of information as to how employees were feeling during the lockdown. Each ‘check-in’ survey had a different focus so specific feedback could be sought. Every survey asked about employee wellbeing and asked employees if they wanted to be contacted by ‘listening mates’ who could offer support.
The April 2020 survey focused on home-working support; the results from this survey enabled a targeted communication campaign to help with support and training for remote working. The July 2020 survey sought employees’ views around recovery from Covid, which has fed into specific projects. Employees stated that they missed face-to-face contact and struggled with some of their other responsibilities; this feedback initiated the online resilience training course, more individual tailored wellness plans and Microsoft learning. The August-September 2020 survey results highlighted that employees missed the social aspect of office working. This feedback has helped to inform the council’s workplace design project and a loneliness spot-check was introduced. December’s survey in 2020 had the most responses and saw an increase in the number of employees who indicated that they were happy working for the council.
Responses to the check ins on average were between 34% and 46%, which was consistent with the council’s ‘your say’ service in the past. It was confirmed that the surveys have indicated a decline in the mood of the workforce over the period from 88% indicating they felt fine or better in the first check in to 82% from the latest check in. However, employee engagement had increased from 70% to 76% in 2020. It was confirmed that all ‘check-in’ results are shared with employees and that the Council is working towards securing the Thrive bronze accreditation and is currently undertaking a staff Health Needs Assessment as part of the process.
The Committee noted that it was unsurprising that employees were feeling worse the longer lockdown continued.
Councillor Bill Gifford praised the report and commended the high percentage of employees who were positive about working for Warwickshire County Council.
Following a query from Councillor Jenns, Rebecca Sarchet stated that positive feedback had been received from the surveys about the council’s IT system as it made homeworking easier. She said that homeworking had forced employees to become more ICT competent with their systems. Sarah Duxbury added that the IT Department had recently undertaken a survey about additional support staff may need with Microsoft 365; this feedback had generated the development of bespoke training programmes and the establishment of virtual social collaboration networks for support.
Councillor Dirveiks expressed ongoing concerns with home-workers' mental health and missing out on the social aspect of office working. He added that the surveys should continue post-lockdown and employee mood needed to be monitored.
Councillor John Horner stated that new starters and apprentices were likely to be ... view the full minutes text for item 4