Why not make the civil service social?

Interesting to read Sean Trainor’s post this morning about the Civil Service People Survey; the largest employee engagement study ever conducted in the UK, covering over half a million civil servants across 95 departments and agencies.

The bit that caught my eye was

However only

· half of staff are involved in decision making

· one third believe their opinions count

· one quarter believe change is managed well and is for the better

This would be such an opportunity to have a serious attempt to introduce social tools and reverse some of those stats but the scary thing is we are much more likely to see the blunt instrument of hacking staff numbers and more rather than less management initiatives.

3 thoughts on “Why not make the civil service social?

  1. Thanks for this thoughtful post Euan. I am in the glass half full camp, and I wonder whether the constrained environment will allow us to try new stuff and experiment with social tools, simply because they are both more efficient and cost effective. Here at COI, our IT and internal comms teams have given us some great new collaborative spaces and an internal microblogging tool to use and it is already joining up the organisation in ways that I don’t think we couldn’t have imagined.My other thought is that essentially the Civil Service is a social organisation. If you think about it we are great networkers and adept at finding information and analysing it! So, given a bit more IT flexibility and a fair wind, I’m confident that we’ll be right in there.


  2. I am half full too Alex and I agree – this is a great opportunity so make the most of the turmoil and try new stuff. Excellent news that the COI is already heading that way because once you get a toehold and people start seeing what is possible things get so much easier!


  3. I agree it’s not all bad news Euan. Speaking as someone who has worked closely with DEFRA; the Dti (as was); JC+ etc I’ve always been impressed by the commitment and capability of the people. The common problem has been the overwhelming weight of the systems; processes and undoubtedly hierarchical culture.I don’t think there’s any "silver bullet" solution. What you’re proposing here will help to loosen things up and increase engagement and innovation. But undoubtedly the time is rich with opportunity to reinvent the core culture; the role of first line managers and liberate the talented people from many of the restraints that they are doubtless as frustrated by as their stakeholders are.


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