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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

SinkGirl Mon 01-Apr-19 07:43:45

Good luck OP. Might be worth chatting quietly to your team to see if anyone else was honest in the survey.

Fruitbatdancer Mon 01-Apr-19 07:28:17

2 things,
1) in my experience it takes the external organisation at least 3 months to turn these things around! And then everything is read through by HR before it’s sent to managers. So don’t stress yet
2) it sounds like your comments are out of character? In which case it’s unlikely anyone will think they are yours! I’ve been that manager trying to figure out who said what- and could never be sure grin

WFTisgoingoninmyhead Mon 01-Apr-19 07:24:54

I would not worry, if it is as bad as it sounds you are not going to be the only responsder that says that stuff.

MoreSlidingDoors Mon 01-Apr-19 07:15:22

Chips you example is exactly one that should have been handled by management, not HR, unless you were alleging that a policy had been mis-applied and wanted to raise a formal grievance.

MoreSlidingDoors Mon 01-Apr-19 07:13:48

I work for the NHS. Our HR are 100% behind management.

I’m an Asst Hr Director for an NHS Trust and can assure you that my team are not only there for management. I do find that the majority of staff (and posters on here) have very little understanding of what HR are there for though. We use the business partnering model and so most operational HR is/should be undertaken by managers - eg managing performance, absence, recruitment etc - with HR supporting as needed. This often frustrates staff who think that coming in and complaining about something informally/anonymously is going to get it magically fixed.

I’m currently going through the staff survey and taking it very seriously indeed. It doesn’t give the whole picture - it’s only a snapshot and fewer than 50% of staff completed it - so will be undertaking a lot more work trying to understand the staff experience and improve it where possible.

chipsandhummus Sun 31-Mar-19 22:20:27

HR will always side with management.

Yes this is what I have found, unfortunately.

I did raise the WFH issue with HR once and gave examples of people regularly working from home and she said something like so you want to work from home because you've seen senior colleagues working from home...?

I admit I was stunned into silence for a moment but then rattled off a list of people on the same level as me in different teams who also worked from home. Pointed out that when I was even MORE junior in my previous job I was allowed to work from home when I asked.

I feel feverish tonight, not sure if this is an anxious response to dreading going in or if I am coming down with something!

Weirdwonders Sun 31-Mar-19 17:24:54

You don’t need to be ashamed of your feedback - they asked for it. If you’re more unhappy and frustrated now than you were before then they need to adjust the culture or they’ll be looking at higher staff turnover. You should not be apologising or looking for a new job. You felt it - own it.

Miljah Sun 31-Mar-19 16:45:38

I work for the NHS. Our HR are 100% behind management.

I let rip in the annual staff survey (which is traceable to my dept but there are enough of us). I let rip because the quality of our increasingly non-clinical-background middle management is unbelievably poor; most of the latest staff employed have evidently not had their international qualifications checked; few can speak English well enough to answer a phone, but our managers accuse us of being obstructive when we point out why something went wrong.

No learning ever takes place, and the good staff just leave. I don't recognise my department any more, either.

Personally, I will and have let the CQC have both barrels, when they inspect us. They need to see how an incompetent middle management will harm our patients by destroying the team-work and cameraderie of what was a very good department.

Polarbearflavour Sun 31-Mar-19 15:46:34

It sounds like a crap place to work, How dare you take your full lunch hour!

womandear Sun 31-Mar-19 15:08:23

Those things are never anonymous! They asked for feedback - you gave it. They can’t prove who actually said what becuase unless they are completely unethical the survey company won’t give them individual names . You won’t be the only one feeling like this but whether they decide to listen is another thing. Your responses might. E pegged as the ‘outlier’ I.e. the disgruntled whinge bag who hates any change etc.
My advice ? Go in, head held high and don’t mention the survey or discuss it with anyone unless they bring it up.

MoreSlidingDoors Sun 31-Mar-19 15:00:16

Couldn’t disagree more with the above poster.

Bluetrews25 Sun 31-Mar-19 14:27:55

HR will always side with management.
They are there for the company (= management) not for the general employees.
All these surveys are only for appearances, aren't they? So they are seen to be listening to the staff. I have known many to complain, but nothing ever changes,
Seriously, look for another job if it's that bad.

Jebuschristchocolatebar Sun 31-Mar-19 14:24:38

We do this in my organization and we get team results for more than 6 people. Gallop run our surveys and they are anonymous but if 6 people do a survey it’s fairly easy to guess who filled them in. If anyone raises anything with you just remember to point out the anonymous nature of the survey

stopfuckingshoutingatme Sun 31-Mar-19 14:21:00

Just be honest OP

It sounds awful awful and I think sometimes it’s worth speaking up

It’s so frustrating they can’t realise how negative and counter productive it all is flowers

Daffodildainty Sun 31-Mar-19 14:17:32

Don’t worry! I’m a manager in a large corporate. We take the staff survey really seriously to drive positive change and address poor management practices. Data is produced by department- not small teams - this is the norm for surveys. Our survey was grim last year and it really drove change for the better with 2 managers in particular. This year is much better - tho there are still some who complain they haven’t had promotions, high bonuses etc who are poor performers or are simply average- staff surveys won’t eliminate that sort of venting. They are important as is honesty - well done and relax x

blueshoes Sun 31-Mar-19 13:09:05

If you had only just filled it in, there would be chance you could ask the survey company to withdraw and let you re-word your feedback. However, as it is a few weeks ago, it might be too late.

Did the company change the goalposts such that what was previously described as anonymous is now going back to the team managers? If so, based on data protection and privacy, I think it is worth making a case to ask for your survey answers to be removed because you did not agree for your comments to go directly to your line manager. That might raise some eyebrows and it is whether you have a change of heart bad enough to warrant doing this.

Otherwise, you will have to style it out and own it. The question is whether you want to launch a pre-emptive strike and ask for a meeting with your manager to discuss your feedback, because they are your concerns whether in a survey form or not.

Do you have an ally in HR? Perhaps you could ask them what is the best course of action in this case, depending on whether you wish to withdraw your comments or leave them but tackle the issues raised with the manager.

BTW, if what you wrote in the survey form is as you had described in your OP, that is like gold dust because most people don't take these things seriously. If your manager is very senior, you would probably have dropped the equivalent of a small bomb on the new HR Director's desk. It depends on how committed the organisation is to this new 'engagement' drive or whether they are just paying lip service. The survey could also be a trophy initiative by the new HR Director make an impact coming in. Either way, it is hard to gauge how welcome the feedback is and whether the organisation will take it in the right spirit or brand you as a disgruntled employee (sorry, this is the reality and I know it is not fair).

Either way, being the risk averse person I am and chickenshit in filling in staff surveys and exit interviews, I would suggest quietly casting around for a transfer or new job.

Good luck with it. Your heart is in the right place.

minionsrule Sun 31-Mar-19 10:40:10

I think we work for the same organisation grin
One of our questions was 'we learn from our mistakes' which was often answered negatively, actions plans and work groups later we are still not learning from our mistakes lol.
OP sorry, you should not be identifiable and if you are pulled up i would point out it is supposed to be anonymous..... but you do need to own it and be proud you were honest

Shiverrrrmetimbers Sun 31-Mar-19 10:20:16

@chipsandhummus we’re always hiring!

Really though the values of an organisation come from the top and these shouldn’t be moveable by whomever comes in below. My company is clear on its values of diversity, collaboration etc and we hire on this principle - if you don’t agree with these principles you don’t get in.

It sounds to me like your management may be embracing and encouraging this work environment so maybe, as hard as it is, you’re the one who doesn’t fit in anymore and it’s time to get a better job

NoShitHemlock Sun 31-Mar-19 00:21:54

Do you have Dignity at Work policy? Or a Union Rep? I would advise keeping notes about the bullying - I am in public sector too, and once the words "bullying" and "harrassment" are mentioned, senior managers shit a brick.

If you can, document everything and do not attend meetings with your manager about your conduct/survey alone - it can too easily become a he said/she said.

And keep looking at interdepartmental transfers - something will come up.

Wishing you good luck for Monday morning OP flowers

chipsandhummus Sun 31-Mar-19 00:11:53


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’

That's good to hear. Are you hiring? I promise that I am a lovely, hard-working employee 99% of the time wink

This manager is also incredibly old-school so that likely has an impact as well as his background.

chipsandhummus Sun 31-Mar-19 00:09:13


I've seen others from similar backgrounds get really competitive and it's just not appropriate in this setting.

Exactly and whereas previously that behaviour was nipped in the bud and the newcomers adjusted to the environment they were in, now there are enough of them it's allowed to run riot. It's leading to things like presenteeism, people not leaving the office until their manager does, savage disagreements in meetings over things that really don't matter all that much, and of course my personal bugbear: taking sole credit for work.

...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.

That's a wonderfully eloquent way of saying what I think is bothering me.

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.

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 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.

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.

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