May 30th, 2009

Just fill this in, leave it on my desk

There was a time when people you worked with knew what you were like. They knew whether you were good at your job or not, what your strengths & your weaknesses were. They knew how you worked, & if they were your supervisor, they knew how well you worked.

This went by the board some time ago; they introduced what they now call PDRs, or Performance Development Reviews. This replaced the need for supervisors to write about you, with an evidence-based approach in which you had to show them that you had the required skills for the role. You had to do all the work all of a sudden, then present it to the supervisor. Appraisals were done away with. Now nobody knows who does what unless it’s written down by the person doing it. Nothing is personal any more, it’s all done by proforma.

Theres more but that’s just a basic summary to get me to the point I want to make in todays blog entry.

I got asked to fill in a form this week. The management have finally cottoned on to the fact that there is a high level of stress in the control room. The fact that they have caused most of it by the way they staff the place has probably slipped seemelessly by their glass walled offices.

So I got asked to fill in a form which is designed to measure how much stress I’m under. This, of course, will not measure my stress level in any meaningful way. I am limited to answering the exact questions they ask. “Do your colleagues value your contributions?” Agree Strongly/ Agree/ Neither Agree nor Disagree/ Disagree/ Strongly Disagree.

There are, of course, many such anodyne, airey-fairey, non-specific examples of questions. Nowhere do I see questions like “How often do you have to work on your own under high pressure situations?” “Can you get the leave you are entitled to, when you want it?” “How often do you have to work for 7 or 8 hours at a stretch without a break?”

They will gather in the forms & some bean counter will analyse the to determine how much stress I am under. They will see that I am not under much stress at all. Nobody will come and ask me what I think about stress in the control room. None of the bosses will come & sit with me for a busy late turn to see first-hand the stresses placed on me.

They will look over their forms & know the cost of everything & the value of nothing.

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3 comments

  1. Alpha Tango says:

    Have filled in a similar form, which changed nothing ( no meal breaks on many shifts, etc). However, some months later reciept of a global email saying that the survey showed that over 80% of officers and staff felt that ***** Police was a considerate employer who addressed the welfare and concerns of it’s employees and it was a great place to work.

    That may explain why 29 percent of new officers leave before the end of their probabation.( Highest out of the 43 forces)

    Police officer turnover, transfer’s out and those leaving is at 26 percent pa.

    Police staff turnover is slighlty higher

    2008 figures

    Stroll on

    May 31st, 2009 at 07:09

  2. Stan Still says:

    You think that’s bad?

    West Mids Police regularly conduct online surveys on the intranet. The latest is a cracker.

    “If West Midlands Police came alive as a person, what sort of person would it be?”

    You then get about thirty different personality traits e.g. ‘aggressive’, ‘loyal’, ‘friendly’ and have to decide whether or not you agree or disagree.

    How the hell that’s going to help me resource three scenes at 3 o’clock in the morning, I really don’t know! However, a psychotic, sorry, psychologist, developed it, so it has to work.

    May 31st, 2009 at 08:54

  3. Alpha Tango says:

    Stan Still

    Nothing surprises me anymore, don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
    On DC’s site the latest post, is similar in tone !.

    It must be time for Chief Constables across the country to stop moaning about the current financial grant and how they will have to cut front line numbers to accomodate the budget.

    Stop wasting money!!!!

    Get rid of these survey’s, iniatives etc, stuff the outside consultants and psychologist’s.

    Put the money into resources so that you won’t have trouble resourcing 3 jobs at the same time.

    May 31st, 2009 at 10:36

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