Wild Planet Trust carried out its fourth annual staff survey in late 2019 following a one year break in 2018.
Why do employers carry out staff surveys? They’re important for measuring the mood of an organisation. They’re also really useful tools to help Human Resources and Managers identify what’s working and where more effort needs to be directed. It’s really useful to have the comments, as these provide the qualitative data to back up the numbers.
This year, 235 people completed our survey – that’s 75% of all staff across our three zoos and a 10% increase on 2017. Increased numbers completed the survey at both Living Coasts and Paignton Zoo, although there was a slight drop at Newquay Zoo. The completion rate by seasonal staff was not very high, although many of our seasonals were finishing during the survey period or only working at weekends. We hope to improve the survey return rate for our seasonal staff next year.
Overall, the results make positive reading. Some figures aren’t as good as we’d hope – but working together and communicating across departments and between zoos can be difficult. We’re a complex organisation, with different sorts of people, separated by miles and carrying out different roles.
Five results increased this time around – job security, pride in the organisation, opportunity for progression, communication across all three sites and health and safety training. Pride in the organisation is a useful benchmarking figure and can be compared with other charities. The annual Charity Pulse survey reported an average of 77% of staff being proud to work for their charitable organisation in 2016. Wild Planet Trust reports a fantastic 95%, which is itself a 5% increase on 2017’s healthy figure.
We report positive results for health and safety, with 100% understanding their health and safety responsibilities, 98% believe that health and safety is important in the organisation, 97% believing there is sufficient health and safety training available and 97% able to report health and safety issues. Strong results of over 90% were also reported for line managers being approachable; job roles being understood; staff understanding the strategic aims and objectives of the organisation; and the objectives of individual’s teams.
Communication is an area that we continue to work hard on. As it is, 97% now report having access to regular updates about the organisation. Weekly updates are shared across the three sites to keep staff in the know about everything from animal moves to which new vegan cakes are on the menu. Communication between departments and across our three sites is continuing to improve through regular team meetings, monthly newsletters, staff talks and smaller, more informal coffee and cake meetings.
Training is important to this charity. Needs are identified in annual performance reviews and the six-month follow-up meetings. 1,493 online training courses were completed last year and 152 staff attended face-to-face training in courses as varied as Coaching and Mentoring, Oxygen Administration and Fire Warden. We look forward to what 2020’s survey will tell us.
Sarah Wyatt, HR Manager