The first challenge came immediately after I circulated a preliminary analysis of the PSES where I compared the performance of my organization from 2005 to 2008. Very quickly, voices in my Department started to claim that "we can’t compare the results of the 2005 and 2008 surveys". So much in fact, that the direction provided to the managers was just short of instructing them not to compare the results. I found this most unfortunate, because the PSES provided a pretty detailed picture of the progress made by my organization and all the work that went into it, and now, some people almost seemed eager to sweep it all under the rug, as if it never happened. So much for performance management and the need to set measurable benchmarks!
The second challenge I faced was when I approached the Communications branch of my Department to find ways of sharing the story of the renewal experienced in my organization, thinking that it may be inspiring for managers to know that renewal is possible, and putting people first actually makes a big difference. Let’s just say that I didn’t exactly find the support I was hoping for, and I was literally stunned by the reasons I was given:
- A link can be made with PS Renewal, and the Department is not the authority for PS Renewal and the PSES – the Clerk and the Chief HR Officer are. (Therefore the Department won’t authorize me to speak about our results on the PSES and our renewal story.)
- We don’t want to draw any attention to any organization in particular. (So much for striving for excellence in the public service – instead, one should always try to reach for the lowest common denominator!)
- The 2005 PSES results for my organization were so poor, that it may look bad on the Department. (But if we need to “renew”, isn’t it to change to something “better”? Because if that’s the case and if we end up with something “better”, we must at one point have started with something that was “worse” than what we have now…)
But before jumping to conclusions, I assumed for a moment that maybe their organizations were so well-run that they didn’t have anything to learn from our experience. So I tried to track down the PSES results for those four organizations and compare their numbers to ours. I could only identify one organization with certainty and get its PSES results for both 2005 and 2008, but happily it was also the organization for which the person who had written to me asking to be removed from my mailing list was the highest-ranking of the group: a CEO/President of a public service agency, who I assume is probably an EX-4, and most importantly, the person responsible for the entire organization!
The comparison is available here. Using the same methodology as I did in my previous analysis, I compiled the data in two tables:
- The 2005 and 2008 PSES results for my organization and this “undisclosed” organization.
- A direct comparison of the 2008 results between the two organizations.
- Q. 55. I believe that senior management has made progress toward resolving the issues raised in the 2005 Public Service Employee Survey.
- Q. 54. I believe that senior management will try to resolve concerns raised in this survey.
By the way, if you happen to be the Clerk or the Chief HR Officer, and want to know who the four executives who asked to be removed from my mailing list are, feel free to give me a ring! ;-)