Thursday, 24 April 2008 - 9:45am |
National News

Police announce results of Employee Engagement survey

5 min read

Police today announced the results of the first round of an ongoing process to measure staff engagement and satisfaction.

"The Employee Engagement Survey was undertaken as a part of police commitment to deliver on the recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry into police conduct," Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope said.

The survey, undertaken by The Gallup Organization, takes into account factors such as staff opinions on the New Zealand police as a place to work, staff satisfaction, and how engaged staff are to their work.

"We are seeking to improve the way we do things and this initial survey provides us with a benchmark, or baseline, against which to measure our progress over time."

The overall conclusion by Gallup was that the needs of all employees are not being met in a way that provides for a strong and healthy workplace.

"The results were consistent across all parts of the organisation and provide a clear indication of where work is necessary."

Gallup found overall that half as many staff were engaged and nearly twice as many police staff were actively disengaged compared to the New Zealand working population; ranking police in the bottom quartile in overall engagement across clients surveyed throughout the world.

Positively, very few staff, only one percent, were extremely dissatisfied with most respondents having a reasonable level of satisfaction with the police as a place to work.

"The survey was, and will continue to be, an opportunity for staff to have an honest say about what's working well and what could be done better within police," Mr Pope said.

Those things that rate best about working for the police included the collegial camaraderie, helping communities and catching criminals, variety and career opportunities.

Those considered to be hindering staff in doing their best included a too heavy workload, a lack of staff and resources.

A separate Gallup survey of Criminal Investigation Branch staff undertaken in August as part of an agreement under the last bargaining round produced very similar results.

"The findings from the two surveys were closely aligned and thus provide an additional surety and validity as to how accurate the findings of the larger survey are," Mr Pope said.

All staff will be invited to take part in the ongoing yearly audits with the process overseen by the State Services Commission with the next survey being conducted in August 2008.

The New Zealand police are the first policing organisation in the world to have undertaken the Gallup survey.

"We are in new territory as the first policing agency to be audited by Gallup and it will be a powerful tool for driving and measuring change in New Zealand police culture over time," Mr Pope said.

"The findings of future surveys will be used to plan and assess work designed to improve the working environment for all police staff.

"This won't be a quick fix. Other organisations have taken many years to get to where they want to be.

Mr Pope said the current year's focus arising from the survey results was further dialogue with staff on how to ensure that staff had the materials and equipment to do their job, that they received recognition for doing good work and how they could better trust the organisation to be fair.

Mr Pope said it was pleasing to note that in recent external measures such as the Kiwis Count survey and the UMR Mood of the Nation 2007 survey police rated very highly.

"These external common measurement tools will give us further insights into the drivers of public satisfaction so that together with the engagement survey we will have very powerful insights into our services, how they are delivered and what we can do to further improve."



A random sample of 6700 police employees were invited to participate in the initial survey with 4880 staff members, both sworn and non-sworn, returning the questionnaire.

The audit consisted of 23 scaled questions. Of these, one was on overall satisfaction with the New Zealand police as a place to work, 12 were standard Gallup questions scientifically researched to measure employee engagement and satisfaction, eight were specific New Zealand police questions to monitor issues relevant to the COI recommendation and two were open ended questions to give staff the chance to express their views about working within the police.

In the CIB survey, 988 of the 1143 staff participated, an 86 percent response rate. Staff responded to a subset of 13 questions. This separate survey arose out of a separate process to the COI recommendations and will not be repeated but will continue to be a part of the survey as the results of CIB staff can be extracted from the main findings.

The priority areas for CIB are defined as materials and equipment, recognition and staff having the opportunity to do their best every day.

The next survey which will be for all employees will be in August 2008.


The overall engagement, the degree to which individuals are involved and enthusiastic in their work, had a mean of 3.40 putting police in the 17th percentile of respondents. In order to be world class the police would need to have a mean of 4.21 or more.

In overall satisfaction, which is used as a measure of the general impression of an organisation, the mean was 3.49 ranking police in the 23rd percentile.

The survey identified many areas of strength for police: staff are clear of what is expected of them; respect the professionalism and quality of their work colleagues; have a strong sense of camaraderie and collegial support; see their colleagues as ethical and acting with integrity; are treated with respect from their leaders; and are slightly more positive if female or from an ethnic minority

There were also areas identified as needing improvement these include: staff have comparatively low perceptions of the police as a place to work; staff do not believe they are equipped to do their work well; are not receiving recognition and praise for doing good work; hold little trust in the organisation to provide an environment of fairness for employees; and are not optimistic about the future of the police as portrayed by the leadership of the organisation.


Gallup was chosen for its independent expertise and reputation in the area of assessing organisational health. Gallup has been conducting organisational health surveys for many years. In the last three years alone, Gallup has audited over 455 organisations, 538 working groups, surveying 5.16 million respondents representing 15 major industry types, collected in 124 countries using 45 different languages.

Commission of Inquiry recommendation 51 specifies: The Commissioner of Police should invite the State Services Commissioner to carry out an independent annual 'health of the organisation' audit of the police culture (in particular, whether the organisation provides a safe work environment for female staff and staff from minority groups). The need for the audit should be reviewed after 10 years.

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