Happy Camps for JaCS?

johnboy 20 March 2009 22

Brendan Smyth’s War On Waste marches on.

This time he’s discovered that the Department of Justice and Community Services has budgeted $40,000 on team building exercises.

    ““The Chief Minister Jon Stanhope continues to suggest only external factors are the reason for why ACT economy is in recession and why the budget may be as much as $200 million in the red.

    “Yet under his Treasurer Katy Gallaghe

    r’s eyes, we see this monumental waste of ACT tax payer’s resources with a $40,000 contract for team building exercises on how to be happy and have fun in the workplace.

    “For someone that has been made redundant or can’t see a doctor this level of government waste is pretty hard to swallow.”

It was perhaps unwise to tag the exercises as ‘art of fun’, but (without wishing to do the Government’s job for it) is Brendan seriously suggesting that there should not be team building exercises?

Out in the private sector a similar sized organisation wouldn’t be spending much less.

Be it taking every one out for dinner, Friday afternoon drinks, a day at the paint ball, or more structured activities, there’s nothing stupid about setting aside time for people to learn to work better together.


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22 Responses to Happy Camps for JaCS?
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Felix the Cat Felix the Cat 4:52 pm 21 Mar 09

Mr Waffle said :

The closest thing we get to “team building” is us chucking our own morning teas…

Wow you get time for morning tea, I dream about such luxury. I work for one of the biggest private sector employers in Canberra and there is no team building exercises done. We don’t even have a Christmas Party let alone days/nights at the movies/cricket/paintball/other activity. I doubt if (m)any people would attend a movie or other event, especially if it was out of hours and they had to pay for it themselves, as there is a fairly broad range of people working there (as there is in most large organisations) that it would be next to impossible to get an event/activity that the majority would be interested in.

I did work for a govt organisation for many years and we did have a team building session one day and as someone else already posted it was a total wank and waste of time and money. It was just like being at work because the bosses who have NFI how things happen in the “real” world wanted to run everything instead of working as a team and letting people with more knowledge and experience use their expertise to get the job done.

deye deye 12:28 pm 21 Mar 09

We tend to pick a movie that we all want to see every few months and go to that. Usually it’s just out of work hours, but occasionally we use flex to take an early mark by an hour or so to see it. Given the nature of our work when that happens one of us always goes back to the office to check if anything urgent has turned up.

However we each pay our own tickets.

As an activity it suits us better than going out for drinks, or golf, or paintball or one of the other possibilities and is definitely more enjoyable than one of those facilitated events.

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 11:57 am 21 Mar 09

Oh my god, they have a company poem!~

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 11:53 am 21 Mar 09

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

If you think having happy staff is a matter of luck, you’re doomed.

It’s not a matter of luck, which no one has claimed it to be, but good management.

One apsect of good manaagment is not imposing activities, especially extra curricula activities, on hard worked staff who neither want nor need them.

The art of Fun;

The Art of Fun
Category: Physical

Aim: This course is a fun filled introduction to the value of strengths and positive energy within the workplace. Positive energy is contagious and a necessary corollary to improving or stimulating performance. A range of challenging activities are provided to provoke participants to think and feel differently about themselves, others and their environment.

Audience: Team leaders, managers and HR staff that can translate the outcomes into their work environment.

Watch them work! http://www.o2c.com.au/video.shtml

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 8:46 am 21 Mar 09

Ah Woody, you’re a revelation, as always

Because I can read and do basic math and see that $40K over 166 people = pocket change? Or because I actually know something about organisational psychology and developing budgets for large organisations?

I would suggest that ALL small business people think of nothing other than improving their business. If you have good staff, you are a lucky person.

If you think having happy staff is a matter of luck, you’re doomed. Ditto if you think improving your business is different to improving your staff, and if you think improving your staff is a free tin of Nescafe at the start of the month. Australian and international research shows that even a very small improvement in staff morale results in drastically reduced employee costs and substantial increases in profits.

Woody, I may not be clever enough to earn $100K PA, but you are an arch bastard for denigrating my efforts!

I’d denigrate your efforts if you were on $40 million a year instead of $40K. “My staff are happy to get paid and get free coffee” is just bad management practice. I’d also denigrate your logic that the government should take your income into account when it plans its budget or that $240 per person is excessive. But you keep up with that ‘poor bugger me’ attitude – I’m sure things will get better.

deezagood deezagood 7:24 am 21 Mar 09

$40,000 is ridiculous; as Kieren pointed out, a few arvos of paintball (or lawn bowls, a game of cricket, ten-pin etc…) would achieve the same result for about $39,000 less! Very hard to justify this waste in today’s economy (or ever really).

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 11:01 pm 20 Mar 09

Nicest place I worked in, we went out to lunch for special occasions and once in a while there was a dinner with spouses included. And none of it was done at taxpayers expense.
Worst place I worked in, no amount of “team-building” would have built that lot into a genuine well-functioning team, and a small minority were classic examples of every bad thing you’ve heard about public servants.

futto futto 9:36 pm 20 Mar 09

aghh team building days. I can’t stand them.

If I have to walk into another room with marker pens and butchers paper, I will punch someone in the throat.

Kudos to the opposition in this case! 🙂

Mr Waffle Mr Waffle 8:47 pm 20 Mar 09

Well, JACS need to spend the mountains of cash they got after the ’03 bushfires somehow… obviously the fleet of Mitsubishi Pajeros all their management got wasn’t enough.

The closest thing we get to “team building” is us chucking our own morning teas…

cranky cranky 8:42 pm 20 Mar 09

Ah Woody, you’re a revelation, as always.

Small business, as you obviously know, has all this money they hide from the tax man, and instead of building their business, improving staff moral, training for the future, fritter it away on cars, boats, holidays and nags.

I would suggest that ALL small business people think of nothing other than improving their business. If you have good staff, you are a lucky person.

Woody, I may not be clever enough to earn $100K PA, but you are an arch bastard for denigrating my efforts!

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 8:23 pm 20 Mar 09

Quick, everybody stop spending! Cranky is poor.

That way we can have miserable employees who leave, and then we have to pay $40K x whatever to recruit new staff, plus the cost of downtime, plus the cost to train them, plus the drain on productivity while they get up to speed… Or worse, they could stay while miserable and drag down productivity over an extended period.

Or you could spend the equivalent of $240 per person (166 staff in the Office of Regulatory Services according to the department’s 07/08 annual report) and maybe save on some of these other costs.

But hey, whatever – I’m sure thinking small and in the short term is working out fabulously for you all. Well, except you, cranky.

cranky cranky 6:11 pm 20 Mar 09

As a very, very small businessman, this spending practically reduces me to tears.

$40K is more than I earn per annum, and to have Labor lauding the expenditure, when they refuse to pay bills incured during the last election campaign, is simply rubbing salt into the wound.

Team bonding in my place is the employees getting paid each week, and the boss providing coffee and milk.

Sonic, Gallagher and Co, you are on a diferent planet to some.

Thumper Thumper 5:09 pm 20 Mar 09

Team building exercises?

What a total wank. Suck it up, harden up, learn to work in a team. Afterall, you are getting paid for it…

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 4:49 pm 20 Mar 09

Although 40 grand wouldn’t go far towards…well… much actually…I still resent my tax dollars going on this, as I find such activities counter productive.

Mind you they may as well spend it on this and just annoy a few pubes, rather than spend it on “art” and annoy just about everybody eh?

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 4:43 pm 20 Mar 09

I wonder what the cost is for the time spent by all those pubes playing these games? Don’t forget, we still need to pay to get the work done, and time spent at games (this was on during work hours, right?) is time for which people are being paid, but their work is not getting done.

Start adding up the staff time cost and I bet it’s a lot, lot more than 40 thousand bucks…

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 4:42 pm 20 Mar 09

Its true that they haven’t had anyone ejected from the party in a while, but acting as a unified team?

jakez jakez 4:37 pm 20 Mar 09

sepi said :

woulda thought the local libs could do with some team building…

One of the things that most amused me about being involved in the campus liberal clubs is that one year one of the items given to the clubs to be put in showbags were ‘Don’t Berry Canberra’ stickers. That’s right, stickers that were 10 years old. Needless to say, they did not find their way into the UC Liberal Club bags.

In my opinion, you just put a Don’t Berry Canberra sticker in this thread.

sepi sepi 4:31 pm 20 Mar 09

woulda thought the local libs could do with some team building…

kieran AP kieran AP 4:25 pm 20 Mar 09

I personally think that all government departments and private enterprise companies should be encouraged to participate in approved team building activities (of course in this fantasy world, the only approved team building activity would be paintball, at my fields 🙂 )

On a serious note, this year alone we have had a large number of private and government organisations out doing paintball or the lasers as a structured team building and leadership development activity.

The general consensus has been:
1. that paintball/lasers are much cheaper than most faciliated activities
2. the activities are inclusive (lasers and paintball) rather than exclusive (golf or a night out)
3. people tend to have a much more intense experience that is then a shared experience which contributes to a better result for team building or leadership training.
4. that the patrons we have had will be back.

Of course I could be a bit biased.

Kieran AP.

johnboy johnboy 4:25 pm 20 Mar 09

PB, now we’re debating what to spend the money on.

Brendan is arguing that no money be spent at all.

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