Team spirit growing at ORC, survey finds

Working on trust, connectivity and communication has made for happier staff at the Otago Regional Council, a new survey has shown.

Flexible hours and the option to work from home had also contributed to better work-life balance.

The results of the pulse survey taken in July — which compared the responses from staff with the results of a survey from September last year — was presented to councillors during a full council meeting on Wednesday.

It showed that 63% agreed or strongly agreed that everyone was on the same team at the council, compared with 26% last year.

As for being satisfied with their work-life balance, 86% agreed or strongly agreed, up from 71%.

Staff who felt communication was timely, open and honest increased to 69% from 39%.

During the meeting, councillors commended chief executive Sarah Gardner, who began the role in 2018, for getting the organisation to a positive place.

Cr Michael Deaker said it was good to see such a change in employee engagement and attitude in just one year.

"To me that says very good management, very good leadership, very good team building and very good developmental exercises going on."

He asked Mrs Gardner to explain how such a big change could have happened in such little time.

"We have been on a real — I guess, a change journey," she replied.

Open communication, building trust, team connectivity and purpose had been the focus.

"All of our staff are very aware of the importance of the work that they do for Otago."

The executive team, which had been together for about 11 months, had also been a big part of that cultural change, she said.

The team often consulted staff before making changes in the workplace — ensuring inclusiveness.

"It does not need to be a top-down approach, you can also have a bottom-up approach, and a true team approach," Mrs Gardner said.

All staff had also maintained either flexible hours, the option to work from home, or both since the Covid-19 lockdown, which had contributed to better work-life balance.

Zoom calls — also born out of lockdown — worked well to better connect teams in regional offices.

"We talk about team Otago Regional Council, we are one team, and I think that is really starting to come through," she said.


Well Dah! The problem with faulty leadership was removed!

"We have been on a real — I guess, a change journey," she replied. What does that mean?

Positive outcomes for the management and staff will hopefully translate into positive outcomes for the public and the environment. Being happy in your job is harder than it sounds - keeping the public happy can be quite another matter, so good to see a positive change within the ORC. Maybe the DCC and some of its contracted workforce will follow a similar path?







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