herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Government spends €100k on consultants to make staff happier

Tanaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton
Tanaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton

The State's largest government department has spent €100,000 enlisting a US-owned consultancy firm to help to make its discontented staff happier.

This follows the Department of Social Protection hiring Axiom Consulting Partners to help review its "culture and values" after a survey found that almost half of employees surveyed - at 49pc - did not believe their organisation cared about their well-being.

It was confirmed yesterday that the fee to Axiom for its work is €99,750 (ex VAT) and that the firm has completed its work, with Axiom's report already published to all Departmental staff.

The tender for the works revealed the scale of the task for Axiom, with more than half of 2,700 people surveyed saying they did not feel they were part of a "team", with 56pc not believing their organisation cared about their opinions and 54pc not believing that the organisation considered their goals and values.

Trust

The survey also found that 41pc did not believe that there is a climate of trust in their organisation.

Only 22pc felt that their rewards for their work are fair compared to others doing similar work in other public sector organisations, while almost 80pc felt their prospects of promotion were limited.

The 2012 survey was carried out by Irish and UK academics and more than 2,700 responses were received from staff working in the Department, FAS and HSE Community Welfare Service.

The work carried out by Axiom Consulting Partners involved top-ranking officials engaging in brainstorming sessions to help make things right.

Warning if nothing was done to change the organisation, the Department stated that "the change process will lead to fragmentation within the organisation, with a corresponding impact on staff morale and customer service".

The documentation shows that the Department is top heavy with high-level staff - with over 3,000 of the 7,000 staff at executive level or higher.

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