Mar 5, 2018

‘Disappointing’ internal ABC survey shows staff distrust management

A survey from last year found that staff are unhappy with management but remain proud to work at the ABC.

Emily Watkins ā€” Media reporter

Emily Watkins

Media reporter

Even before the ABC was bungling its so-called cabinet files and throwing chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici under a bus, morale among staff at the public broadcaster had dropped even lower than two years ago, when the last staff engagement survey was taken.

According to a summary of results from the most recent survey — conducted in November last year — obtained but redacted under freedom of information, staff engagement has dropped from 52% in 2015 to 46% in 2017. Almost 2900 staff responded to the survey, conducted by Aon for the ABC. One of the worst performing criteria was whether action taken as a result of the previous survey had made the ABC a greater place to work — only 17% of respondents thought this was the case.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’sĀ terms and conditions


Leave a comment

16 thoughts on “‘Disappointing’ internal ABC survey shows staff distrust management

  1. graybul

    One wonders . . . at what percentage level would ABC senior management declare the level of disengagement by both or either the Australian people or, ABC staff . . . a CRISIS?
    In truth, at what percentage of staff; would senior management declare . . . there is no way back? One thing is absolutely clear. Attending focus groups and watching videos of the annual general meeting is truly a spit into a cyclonic wind. The Board has choices . . .

  2. old greybearded one

    Hardly surprising! The only way senior management will stand behind their staff is if they are holding a knife to stab them in the back.

  3. leon knight

    The management team can polish themselves as long as they wish, but they will not get a gloss – and the evil smell will continue.
    Only the next Labor government will be able to save the ABC from the corporate malevolence enacted by their LNP lap-dogs , and I await some announcements about that from Shorten with bated breath.

    1. AR

      To anyone with delusions that Labor would save the ABC I offer two words – David Downhill.

      1. leon knight

        He was pretty good compared to Guthrie..!!

        1. AR

          Cholera or typhoid – choose.

  4. John Highfield

    Any staff member watching Guthrie’s Annual Public Meeting video could only come away with reinforcement of their existing concerns. It was a highly-controlled, over-produced exercise in marketing-by-consultant. The consultants have ripped $$$$ which should have been given to experienced program makers who really understand what true, independent public broadcasting is. The recent Estimates-speak by Guthrie and Sunderland further reinforces the view that the senior management arrivistes attempting to run the place on marketing reports live in a bubble which separates them from reality.

  5. brian crooks

    the ABC, now the estapo headquarters of Guthries thought police, only compliant journalist may apply for recently vacated positions, any body of independent thought not welcome, and expect all offices to be randomly searched by Turnbulls AFP, to locate any left wing propaganda or opinion pieces that have not been cleared by Liberal H.Q.

  6. paddy

    Jonathan Shier was pretty dire as a leader at the ABC, but Michelle Guthrie is worse, because she’s dealing with a profoundly damaged organisation.
    The days of fighting back are apparently (& sadly) gone. While the relentless trashing of our beloved national broadcaster via budget cuts, overt political interference and just plain bloody bastardry continue, we can only hope for an early change of Govt.
    There will be blood, and it will flow freely. I really hope the funding and the independence will be restored quickly. Cos I sorely miss “our ABC”. šŸ™

  7. john OCallaghan

    The majority of things and policies conservative Governments try to enact invariably turn into disasters,and the ABC is a perfect example of it.
    Guthrie is a 1st class wacko and her executive “team”are the same,they are your typical incompetent Liberal party appointees, and the sooner the next Govt kicks their collective incompetent sorry arses to the asphalt the better off we all will be!

  8. Arky

    And this all predates the events of the last month. Deary me.

    Unfortunately, Guthrie is doing the job of the ABC’s ultimate bosses in the government, so no amount of incompetence or driving experience and institutional knowledge out of the building is going to get rid of her. Only an election will do that.

  9. archibald

    This really only demonstrates what a terrific MD Mark Scott was. Arguably the best in the Corporations history. One feels the current MD is a generic MD and not passionate about broadcasting and the ABC at all. Fortunately for her she has some senior managers who , despite being unpopular, seem to know what they are doing. I suspect much of the unhappiness is directly related to the belt tightening caused by Tony Abbott’s cuts.

  10. Dog's Breakfast

    The essential product of managerialism is disengaged staff. This is the direct outcome, not an unfortunate side effect.

    Professor John Quiggin says it best, “The main features of managerial policy are incessant organisational restructuring, sharpening of incentives, and expansion in the number, power and remuneration of senior managers, with a corresponding downgrading of the role of skilled workers, particularly of professionals.”

    The ABC, most government departments and every major university in Australia is on that well worn path.

    Disengaged, moi?

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details