Senior staff at Heritage Tasmania are undergoing management training as part of an effort to overhaul a troubled workplace culture.
It comes after serious unrest among Heritage Tasmania employees came to light in a leaked staff survey, outlining a culture of bullying and harassment within the government body.
The Community and Public Sector Union conducted the survey, to which 14 Heritage Tasmania employees responded.
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A consistent theme emerging from the survey results was a lack of faith in the leadership of the organisation, which some staff have described as “toxic”.
In Right to Information documents obtained by The Examiner, Heritage Tasmania’s 25-point cultural change action plan is detailed, with a component of the plan being additional training courses to be undertaken by the managers.
These include training programs called ‘Managing People’ and ‘Mental Health in the Workplace’, which senior staff participated in last year.
Heritage Tasmania director Pete Smith, who, according to the survey, appears to be particularly unpopular among staff, is set to participate in ongoing ‘Manager Essentials’ training, currently on hold due to challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an email to Mr Smith regarding the cultural change action plan, sent on May 13 this year, Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment natural and cultural heritage general manager Louise Wilson wrote that she was “confident we’ll have some new momentum in no time”.
“It is essential that we maintain momentum from this point to retain credibility and maintain staff engagement,” she wrote. “A structured and disciplined approach is particularly important given that the actions are evolving (and number growing) and we need to deliver on them in this strange new COVID-19 impacted environment.”
Under the plan, Ms Wilson and DPIPWE deputy secretary Deidre Wilson are now required to regularly attend Heritage Tasmania staff meetings, at least once every three months.
It is essential that we maintain momentum … to retain credibility and maintain staff engagement.
DPIPWE natural and cultural heritage general manager Louise Wilson in an email to Heritage Tasmania director Pete Smith
Labor heritage spokeswoman Alison Standen said the staff survey was “a damning reflection on the Liberal government”.
“The recent staff survey results are … a direct result of the government’s under-resourcing of Heritage Tasmania, years of inaction, a revolving door of ministerial responsibility and sweeping problems under the carpet,” she said.
“Ultimately, Elise Archer must take responsibility for low staff morale and dissatisfaction.
“With such a toxic culture, the question is whether any level of investment will deliver the cultural change needed, or whether it’s time for Elise Archer to take more immediate and decisive action to reset the culture of the agency.
“In the meantime, the staff of Heritage Tasmania, who care deeply about the significant sites they are employed to protect, are unable to focus on that important work.”
In a statement, Ms Archer said the government was committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all its employees.
“The [cultural change action plan] will continue to be adjusted in response to feedback from staff and the CPSU,” she said.
“I have confidence in Heritage Tasmania to deal with these important issues in an appropriate and timely way.”
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