BBC staff survey produces mixed results

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Most of us think we're not paid enough, our careers are stifled and our senior leaders don't listen; but we're dedicated to what we do and are proud to work for the BBC.

The results of the latest staff survey make uncomfortable reading for the BBC's leaders whose performances earn low scores from respondents.

Only 35% of staff regard them as good listeners; just 40% say they share effective conversations with them about their performances; and fewer than 60% believe they act in the interests of the BBC as a whole - something George Entwistle touched on in his first address to staff as director general.

Start Quote

People who are engaged are more likely to be productive and happier at work ... and go above and beyond to do something special”

End Quote Lucy Adams Director, HR

And while the findings suggest people have overwhelming pride in the organisation and commitment to their jobs (90% and 97% respectively), only 59% would recommend the BBC as a place to work.

Staff engagement

The survey, which was conducted in May and June and completed by 60% of employees, was a departure from previous questionnaires in making measurement of staff engagement its primary focus. The gap between how staff think of the BBC as a broadcaster and how they think of it as an employer is perceived as a key indicator of disengagement.

HR director Lucy Adams says: 'People who are engaged are more likely to be productive and happier at work, want to develop their career here, contribute more ideas to the organisation, and go above and beyond to do something special.

'This inevitably has knock-on effects on morale, our ability to retain people and ultimately our creativity as an organisation.'

The BBC will need to build trust between management and staff in order to improve engagement levels, but it will also have to tackle areas like career development, communications and performance management, where the survey also identifies failings.

Career development

While eight in ten people want to progress their careers at the BBC, suggesting high levels of aspiration, only half think there are opportunities here for career development. More worryingly, only a quarter of staff believe that career progression at the BBC is based on a fair and transparent process.

And while six in ten say they get the information they need to do their job, around four in ten feel their opinions don't count and that they are unable to challenge decisions.

Communication ineffective

Entwistle's ambitions to break down barriers and 'silos' also take a knock, with the survey showing that only 30% of people feel that communications are effective across the BBC.

In terms of performance, staff want managers to praise the good and call out the bad more often. Just under six in ten say they are commended when they perform well, the same number who claim they are told when their work drops below expectations.

Interestingly, pay - which one third of us believe we don't get enough of - is not seen as contributing to engagement.

The pan-BBC results - which are fairly consistent across divisions and geography - were presented to the management board last week. Divisional boards are currently being briefed, ahead of Monday when line managers with five staff or more will receive individual reports. All are being encouraged to share the data with their teams.

Taking action

Action plans - at BBC, divisional and line-manager level - must be produced by the end of November. Managers can access a support website for help in understanding the data, tips on improving performance and examples of best practice.

Adams tells Ariel that the response from senior managers 'has been really encouraging', with people keen to talk through results with their teams and then take action.

'George is leading the process from the top and has made clear to the management board that they must take responsibility for their divisional action plans, but every manager will be expected to have a meaningful discussion with their staff about their results.'

The full results can be seen here.

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