Benchmarking board performance: 500 board reviews later

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City of Kingston – the top performing council

City of Kingston has embarked on a journey of continuous improvement to become Insync’s number one performing council in Australia. What does Kingston do differently to stand out from the pack? 


Download the full case study here (PDF)

City of Kingston, in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, has over 1,400 employees and an estimated population of around 150,000 people. Kingston is committed to best practice as demonstrated by their biennial Employee Opinion Survey and regular employee Entry and Exit Surveys. Kingston regularly gains and acts on staff feedback to improve organisational performance. Taking action using the survey results and reporting back to employees demonstrates a commitment to sustainable high performance and genuinely listening and caring about employees. The employee survey and its results helps Kingston with staff recruitment, induction and orientation because they’re able to communicate that they have a range of supportive policies and a culture that people enjoy working in.

Over the last three cycles of conducting a biennial Employee Opinion Survey, Kingston has improved by four to six percentage points in each of the seven best practice categories measured. In their last survey, Kingston achieved the highest overall score compared to all other local government councils in Insync Surveys’ benchmark database. Their greatest improvement areas included Leadership & Innovation, Strategy & Planning, and People.

Integrating the dissemination of results and subsequent action planning into the existing business processes is another key determinant of success. Each Manager receives a report that compares their department’s scores to the scores of the whole organisation, highlighting issues that may be specific to just one work group. Managers can then work on these issues with their teams and report back on their progress towards achieving improvements. Managers are held accountable for improvement initiatives based on the survey results. They go through a detailed understanding and planning process by looking at the feedback at an organisational level and then at departmental level to uncover what it really means for their team. Kingston integrates the results into their business planning cycle and makes reporting on initiatives and their success a part of each Managers’ KPIs.

Kingston choose to partner with Insync because of our expertise in stakeholder surveys and our proven experience in the local government sector. They also wanted a provider that could offer employee entry and exit survey measures to provide them with a comprehensive view of the employee life cycle.

Kingston have used the Employee Opinion Survey since 2008 and the Entry Exit Survey since 2009.

The surveys have provided insights into what attracts and retains staff in local government. These results have helped the City of Kingston understand their employer brand and reputation, and identify areas to increase the retention of top talent. Belinda Ayres, City of Kingston’s Manager People & Culture, said: “It’s a journey, not a quick fix. By the time we do our next survey we’ll be around the eight year mark which is a significant commitment for the organisation. There may be change in personnel along the way, but it’s about maintaining that focus to be a high performing local government organisation.”

Download the full case study here (PDF)

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