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AIBU to dread going into work on Monday? Very honest staff feedback questionnaire

(46 Posts)
chipsandhummus Sat 30-Mar-19 19:28:22

Sorry to post in AIBU, I know I'm BU to do so but hoping for traffic and honest opinions in case I am being pathetic. Dons hard hat and picks up wine

I work in a public sector org which in the last couple of years has hired many people with corporate backgrounds. As such, the lovely, friendly and supportive company that I've worked for for the past decade has been changing. The atmosphere has changed and things feel more aggressive and confrontational for no reason.

We always had people from private sector backgrounds working alongside us, but the balance was always tipped into charity/civil servants favour and so the culture was maintained by and large. They also seemed to have joined because they wanted a different workplace culture and integrated better. Now there is a general lack of trust and morale and it's draining.

Before I get jumped, I know a person's working background doesn't define their character, or make you better or worse than someone else, etc. These are just my experiences and observations in this particular case.

A few weeks ago I filled in the staff survey in a fit of rage after yet another exhausting and unpleasant couple of weeks where:
- A colleague claimed credit for delivering a project that three of us had worked on together.
- My manager kept interrupting/talking over me. So I shut up for the last hour of the workshop and afterwards he hauled me into a meeting room to have a "word" about my lack of engagement and how poorly that reflects on our team!
- My manager made yet another decision which went against the recommendations that me and my team had submitted, no explanation.
- We had to attend an 8am meeting (usual start time is 9am) because it was 'urgent' ... in reality it was not and what's more my manager rocked up 10 minutes late then faffed around making tea and small talk!
- A colleague was feeling unwell and asked to go home, was told to try to see if he could make it to the end of the day. He refused and walked out.
- My manager sent a series of condescending emails to the team about:
1) Headphones at the desk - we are not allowed headphones despite large open-plan office and nowhere to work quietly.
2) Working from home - previously we could ask as and when we wanted, now we have to have a "very good reason" and the frequency with which we WFH will be "closely monitored"
3) Lunches - apparently it gives the impression that we are not committed to our work if we are always eating in the cafeteria and are away from our desks for the full hour.

I usually don't bother with staff feedback surveys or fill it in very neutrally/blandly but I was very frustrated and at the end of my tether so was extremely scathing and honest. This is a company which promotes its open, friendly, supportive culture and fully supports well-being at work, flexi-time and a good work-life balance!!

Anyway, I didn't give it much thought until yesterday when someone mentioned that the 'anonymous' nature of the survey was now a crock of shit because the results would be analysed by teams and so smaller teams were screwed. Previous staff survey results were presented by departments, so your comments were one of 10-40 others'. I think they've used a new company this time.

Managers will be given the results of their teams responses next week and I am regretting my e-outburst. I stand by everything I said but I suspect my manager will use that information to continue to make my life difficult and I am just so tired of endless battles at work. sad

Rahul88 Sat 30-Mar-19 19:36:44

We had a staff survey recently, the external company running the survey said smaller teams would be amalgamated together / not reported on individually to maintain anonymity. Might be the case for you too?

hidinginthenightgarden Sat 30-Mar-19 19:41:17

I would hope that if they do track it to you then someone other than your manager would be tasked with taking you aside to discuss it.
In reality nothing will be said. i was brutal in mine despite knowing it wasn't really annonymous. I don't care. I meant every word!

MoreSlidingDoors Sat 30-Mar-19 19:45:24

Ours doesn’t allow reporting on teams with fewer than 11 responses due to the risk to anonymity.

ichbineinstasumer Sat 30-Mar-19 19:51:54

I've done this, filled in a staff survey honestly. I didn't fill in details that I knew would make me identifiable - for instance I was the only woman in a small team who had worked in the team over x years so I just left that blank. Although nothing direct was said to me I still got the clear impression my boss knew full well which comments came from me. I just ignored it and shortly afterwards moved to a new team. But I would say that if you're told it's anonymous it should be properly anonymous.

EggysMom Sat 30-Mar-19 19:54:55

If only for the fact that I know my organisation / business area hasn't recently issued any such survey, I'd honestly wonder if the OP works exactly where I do. Over the last two years the new management have tried to bring us more in line with how private industry works, but haven't realised that we are a unique beast within the public sector and ultimately many of their changes simply will not work. We've seen a huge loss of experienced and talented staff as a result.

Our surveys always produce an output if there are 6 responses from a team, fewer than that and they 'roll up' to the next level of line manager. Fortunately I can be honest as I work in one of few teams who have retained the same line manager, who is sympathetic to our strife and tries to protect us from some of the shenanigans of senor management.

I have no advice for you, OP, but I have a huge amount of sympathy.

daisychain01 Sat 30-Mar-19 19:55:17

It sounds like you're in a particularly negative dept/PT, with not a very healthy team dynamic.

Just to clarify, did you add some/all of the narrative you've posted here? Or did you just give low marks based on the different categories in the survey. Public sector/CS tend to be very cautious in terms of doing anything that would target individuals. My experience is that they are genuinely interested in candid feedback, so provided you didn't name names (GDPR risk), you should be fine, so please try not to worry.

However next time, I'd suggest a staff survey isn't an effective place to get issues like that sorted out, as they are very local and specific, and probably best kept for a discussion with your Delivery Manager or team leader.

chipsandhummus Sat 30-Mar-19 20:07:18

Just to clarify, did you add some/all of the narrative you've posted here? Or did you just give low marks based on the different categories in the survey.


So for instance there was a team morale question which I answered as very low - and the follow up question asked why with a text box and I said we are patronised, treated like children, mistrusted without due cause, our expertise is ignored etc.

PositivelyPeach Sat 30-Mar-19 20:09:24

I wouldn't worry. IME the results go much higher up, therefore bypassing your boss - if anyone takes issue with the points made - the pressure will be on your boss for having such discord in the team.

Frightenedforthefuture Sat 30-Mar-19 20:18:20

I used to work on staff surveys in public sector organisations. There were lots of different suppliers and at that time none of them would ever produce reports on groups of fewer than 10 people. That would not only be a team of 10 people, but if the data was viewable using reporting software you also couldn't drill down into the data and look at, for example, women in their 20s with caring responsibilities if that would be a group of fewer than 10 survey responses. This used to annoy smaller teams as if they didn't get a good response rate their team wouldn't get a report. But it was all automated and the companies wouldn't budge.

We did all we could to protect people's identities but we would say if someone has written "my line manager Sharon Jones wouldn't let me go to my dentist appointment last week" there wasn't a lot we could do. (Although some companies would try and block out names but that didn't always work if someone's name was also a word e.g Ivy) However even if someone could see that comment they wouldn't be able to see all the other question responses associated with that comment if you see what I mean. Only the data analysts could see that (and they wouldn't care).

I have always been brutally honest in my staff survey responses because I do actually trust the system behind it all.

blueshoes Sat 30-Mar-19 20:19:31

Was there any particular reason why the survey was being run - such as trying to find out the reason for high staff turnover?

DonPablo Sat 30-Mar-19 20:29:34

Ha, we had this in my last public sector job. They'd always been anonymous and they decided they weren't anonymous until after we'd all completed the survey.

Then the results were narrowed down by team and sent to the team managers who had to hold a team meeting a read out all of the comments for actioning.

It was carnage. But, everyone had written some pretty damning stuff and a silent agreement was made that no one took responsibility for an individual comment and the manager had a tough time because no one would engage. There were that many complaints afterwards and the next staff survey had less than a 10% response rate that it was never repeated. We can laugh about it now.

All you can do is see how it all plays out. I hope it's OK for you

Bluetrews25 Sat 30-Mar-19 20:30:36

Watch your back.
Complaining about a manager shock...... I don't care what policy says, you may well get bullied out now. Start jobhunting.
It's not right or fair, but it happens.

MidsomerBurgers Sat 30-Mar-19 20:37:07

Our staff surveys are supposedly anonymous large company with around 5k staff on site. However, you get a personal email telling you that they have yet to receive yours when you haven't submitted it. All done on paper. Comes with a snazzy little barcode in the corner. Anonymous my arse.

GnomeDePlume Sat 30-Mar-19 20:38:41

I was very honest when filling out a 360 review of my line manager. She worked out comments which came from me and talked to me about them afterwards. Ultimately it had a positive effect. She hadnt realised how she came across, hadnt realised the atmosphere she was creating in the team.

BrightYellowDaffodil Sat 30-Mar-19 20:40:06

I don't think you are BU. I work in a similar sector and - although I come from a corporate background - I really value the collaboration, flexibility, support etc. I've seen others from similar backgrounds get really competitive and it's just not appropriate in this setting.

FWIW, I think you've done the right thing. I hope your manager gets challenged from above, but in case they challenge you I'd have some feedback ready to give them about the incongruity of their behaviour compared to the values of the organisation.

Justanotherlurker Sat 30-Mar-19 21:02:35

Reading between the lines there is 2 sides to this story, you wanted a response from the survey it's just not the one you expected.

Looks like you are going to have to own it.

MakeLemonade Sat 30-Mar-19 21:18:03

My husband specialises in employee research and an agency would never let a manager see an individual response and they aggregate responses for small teams so that they can’t be drilled down through process of elimination.

Honest feedback is why the senior leaders do this, your information will be useful and what they are looking to find.

elessar Sat 30-Mar-19 21:28:30

I don't see the point in providing feedback you aren't prepared to own.

These things are a useful barometer but if for example there are a number of comments like yours which suggest the team aren't respected, the manager or department head would be expected to hold a meeting to address and try and resolve the issues. If everyone sits on their hands and refuses to give examples or engage in the process then nothing can be done.

It takes some guts but if you want a resolution you have to address it, otherwise nothing will change

EggysMom Sat 30-Mar-19 21:30:41

If it's anything like my place, they'll set up a 'working group' to look into common themes running through the responses; that working group will write an 'action plan'; senior management will pay lip service to the action plan for three months; and then it will all be forgotten about with no actual changes implemented.

Shiverrrrmetimbers Sat 30-Mar-19 21:35:34

I work in the private sector and we can wfh whenever we want, wear headphones etc etc so I don’t think it’s the fact there’s ‘evil non public sector influences at large’

daisychain01 Sat 30-Mar-19 22:01:14

I don't see the point in providing feedback you aren't prepared to own.

That's true enough, but I can empathise with the OP if, in the heat of the moment, you've had a crap day and you give them both barrels, then afterwards think, oh bugger I've gone too far. It can feel scary shock

OP, go in Monday, head held high as if nothing's happened and style it out.

chipsandhummus Sat 30-Mar-19 23:56:12


Was there any particular reason why the survey was being run - such as trying to find out the reason for high staff turnover?

Part of new HR Director's engagement drive strategy, apparently.

chipsandhummus Sat 30-Mar-19 23:59:29

I don't see the point in providing feedback you aren't prepared to own.

Err I said I stood by what I said confused I am just incredibly frustrated and upon reflection could have used more constructive/less angry language.

My concern is that I will be singled out/further bullied by my manager once he gets wind of the comments. Which is kind of half the problem, him throwing his weight around and flexing his 'power'.

chipsandhummus Sun 31-Mar-19 00:03:40


Apparently comments will be fed back verbatim. I assumed to department heads as in previous years but apparently this year it will be to team leaders and managers too.

I am prepared to weather the storm but each day already feels like a battle. And I know it's my own damn fault.

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