This document is part of the People matter survey 2021 resources resource.

Overall messages

  • The annual People matter survey reflects the Victorian public sector’s sincere commitment to listening to our employees.
  • The People matter survey is a safe and anonymous way for employees to tell organisations what they think and experience in the workplace. It asks for employees’ opinions on how our public sector values and employment principles are practised within their organisations.
  • Public sector organisations use the People matter survey to find out what they’re doing well and where they need to focus on improvements.
  • People matter survey results reveal how employees view different aspects of their workplaces, including equal employment opportunity, collaboration, learning and development, and diversity and inclusion, and helps the sector develop a high performing and engaged workforce.
  • People matter survey results provide valuable insights for organisations to devise actions that improve inclusion and wellbeing, eliminate negative workplace behaviours and ensure the public sector workforce reflects the diversity of the Victorian community.
  • We don’t shy away from survey results that tell us where we need to improve. We take responsibility for our results and use this information to plan and implement initiatives and changes. This is why we encourage our people to complete the survey.
  • Our action plans are developed in collaboration with our people. These plans lead to more effective, engaged workforces and safer, healthier workplaces.
  • Safe, healthy public sector workplaces with positive, ethical cultures result in better outcomes for the community we serve.
  • Employee participation is optional, but the survey is relevant to all employees regardless of whether they are working remotely, on the front line, or have returned to the workplace.

Coronavirus inclusions

  • Employees are encouraged to have their say to provide feedback on their workplace experience during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The 2021 people matter survey is another way organisations are continuing to support and listen to employees during this unprecedented time.
  • The People matter survey lets your organisation gain valuable employee feedback on public sector workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic to inform opportunities for improvement.

Survey background messages

  • The People matter survey is an independent survey run by the Victorian Public Sector Commission, employees from organisations across the public sector can have their say.
  • In 2019, 92,215 people (46% of all eligible employees) from 196 organisations took part in the People matter survey.
  • In 2020, the Commission offered the shorter People matter survey wellbeing check. A total of 191 organisations opted to take part and almost 46,000 employees (50% of all eligible employees) had their say.
  • The Victorian Public Sector Commission collects a rich data set about the Victorian public sector workforce, providing a holistic view of the sector and its people which is evidence-based to inform continuous improvement.
  • Access to timely, trusted data such as the People matter survey helps the sector collectively maintain an inclusive, high-performing and engaged workforce.
  • The Victorian Public Sector Commission reports on people, leadership, culture and inclusion across the sector and monitors diversity targets and their impact on inclusion outcomes.

Messages on transparent publication

  • In December 2020, the Victorian Secretaries Board re-endorsed the recommendation that the Victorian Public Sector Commission improve the transparency of the survey results by publishing high-level whole-of-public sector trends and results for individual public sector organisations online.
  • The public sector’s commitment to transparency is balanced with the need to protect the anonymity of survey participants. Within organisations, survey results are not reported for workgroups of less than 10 employees because the results may identify individuals.
  • All public sector organisations are committed to transparency within their organisations. Staff receive results for their organisation as a whole and for their workgroups, for a richer and more detailed view.
  • The Victorian public sector is on a journey toward full transparency of People matter survey organisation-level results.

Mandatory participation for organisations

  • All eligible public sector organisations are expected to take part in the 2021 survey.
  • Participation for individuals is optional, however, employees are encouraged to have their say.
  • Mandatory organisation participation improves the consistency of data collection across the public sector and improves annual reporting of whole-of-sector survey results.
  • Increasing the numbers of participating organisations from across the public sector supports accountability across the whole of government.

Gender Equality Act inclusions

  • The 2021 People matter survey includes new questions, developed in consultation with the Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector, to support Gender Equality Act reporting and action planning requirements.
  • The Gender Equality Act 2020 will improve workplace gender equality in the Victorian public sector, universities, and local councils. The Act commenced on 31 March 2021.

Where can I get more information

If you have further questions about the People matter survey, please visit the Commission’s website, or contact the People matter survey team on