nearly half of Scottish Borders Council’s 132 customer services staff have declined to take part in a job satisfaction survey, writes Andrew Keddie.
The employees are in the throes of major changes with councillors recently backing an investigation into a revamp of contact centres where, from this month, householders can no longer pay cash for Council Tax, business rates and sundry debts. They must, instead, use Post Offices or Paypoint and Payzone networks.
As a result, there is not enough business to sustain the current network of nine full time and two part-time decidated contact centres and mergers with libraries are being considered.
The online questionnaire, the first satisfaction survey of the frontline staff, was held over a week in January and its results issued in an internal email on Friday.
Of the 69 personnel who took part, 10 said they were very satisfied with their jobs, 29 were fairly satisfied, 18 were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, none were fairly dissatisfied and three were very dissatisfied.
The reasons given by the one fifth of responding staff expressing dissatisfaction, included “no-one listens to my ideas and views”, “lack of communication”, “unappreciated” and “dissatisfaction with working hours”.
Asked about motivation, 10 said they were very motivated, 30 were fairly motivated, 19 felt neither motivated nor unmotivated, seven were not very motivated and three were not at all motivated, the last two groups citing “training issues”, “no incentive to help motivation” and “uncertainty about jobs”.
In her email to staff, customer services development officer Allyson Riddell reveals that a development group representing all areas of customer service will be set up to discuss points of concern raised in the survey and she is seeking volunteers to join the group.
“We need to try and maintain the postives, whilst working on those who are hovering in the middle and, of course, try to help those who are negative to turn this around,” says Ms Riddell.
“Once we carry out more surveys we will be able to monitor staff satisfaction over a period of time and hopefully be able to better understand it, and put in place procedures to help increase staff satisfaction, motivation and communication.”