The Working for Queensland (WfQ) survey provides an annual opportunity for Queensland public sector employees to have their say about their workplace, and for agencies to connect the results with creating positive workplace change.
Taking an active approach to employee engagement is not just being concerned with happiness or satisfaction, but understanding how these feelings directly relate to both individual and organisation performance and productivity. It's crucial for agencies to create a culture and environment that reflects the public sector's values and drives the organisation's vision and goals.
Brenda Parker, Deputy Director-General of Business and Corporate Partnerships (BCP) at the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) shares how her leadership team have thought outside the box to genuinely embed learnings from WfQ into actions that impact daily life at DNRME. Brenda's division consistently achieves very strong WfQ participation rates and results.
Brenda recognises that our people are our biggest assets in the Queensland public sector, and a happy workplace is a productive workplace. If you want to embed culture and a shared language in your workplace, you must lead by example.
"At a DNRME Board session, we used the heat map reports—not as a 'who is beating who' competition, but as a tool to identify opportunities where executive colleagues can connect and share ideas about what initiatives and activities they have implemented to drive stronger positive results in a WfQ factor," Brenda said.
Brenda spoke about considering the role everyone has to play in fostering positive change. There may not be budget to make certain changes, but there are always options to make the workplace environment the best it can be, and for employees at all levels to be part of the process.
Some of the steps the BCP team has taken to encourage stronger employee engagement, as a result of WfQ survey findings, include:
- monthly informal employee conversations that include a focus on leadership and wellbeing, in addition to twice-yearly formal reviews
- checking in twice a year about the quality of these informal conversations and the broader BCP approach—ensuring both supervisors and employees are getting what they need
- a volunteering program to help staff connect their hearts with their work and build stronger teams
- wellbeing initiatives based on staff suggestions (e.g. walking club, fundraisers, wellbeing programs)
- Tea@3 sessions, with BCP leadership team have an informal discussion with a small group of employees related to leadership and topics raised through the WfQ survey
- Learn About sessions to provide quick, 1 hour learning opportunities for staff to build capability around topics of interest
- Connection sessions, where a speed networking approach help corporate connect with the broader business.
"The majority of these initiatives apply neuroscience findings about the importance of getting away from your desk.
"It's vital to break the hyper-busy culture that is so common in contemporary workplaces.
"I advocate this by championing causes close to my heart openly, and making time to participate in the wellness and development activities to lead by example."
The 2020 Working for Queensland survey ran from 2 to 28 September. A better workplace is everyone’s responsibility. Join the conversation and help drive positive change.