Has staff morale and satisfaction improved at DFAT?

By Lisa Cornish 29 September 2015

AusAID representatives supervise the loading of supplies in response to flooding in Pakistan in 2010. Has staff engagement improved since the AusAID-DFAT merger? Photo by: AusAID / DFAT / CC BY

It has been almost two years since the Australian Agency for International Development was amalgamated into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, a move that even now continues to sow controversy.

Last year, a document leaked to the Australian media showed just how difficult the transition had been for former AusAID staff. The results of a staff satisfaction survey showed a clash of cultures — two-thirds of former AusAID staff did not feel they were part of the team, they had high dissatisfaction with management and, compared with DFAT staff, they were more likely to leave the department.

The DFAT-wide survey released this year, as part of questions on notice at the request of Labor Senator Anne McEwen, suggested slight improvement in morale and satisfaction toward management and leadership.

A reduction in the number of staff participating in the survey, from 65 percent in 2014 to 58 percent in 2015, makes the results questionable — while improvement could have been made, it was also possible that there has been no improvement or morale is so low staff has simply refused to participate in the survey.

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About the author

Cornish img
Lisa Cornish@lisa_cornish

Lisa Cornish is a freelance data journalist based in Canberra, Australia. Lisa formerly worked with News Corp Australia as a data journalist for the national network and was published throughout Australia in major metropolitan and regional newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph in Melbourne, Herald Sun in Melbourne, Courier-Mail in Brisbane and online through news.com.au. Lisa has recently been awarded the 2014 Journalist of the Year by the New South Wales Institute of Surveyors.


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