A new opinion survey of ICBC employees shows a steep drop in job satisfaction in 2012, with high workloads and layoffs cited as a major factor for low employee morale.
The survey pinpointed the worst department for morale as the department that processes accident claims, where only 20 per cent or workers reported job satisfaction.
David Black, the president of the workers' union, the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union Local 378, said many ICBC employees are unhappy and disengaged.
"Unfortunately, there's a number of them that are facing layoff and this is a terrible time to be going through that, and certainly these scores don't indicate that that's the proper course for a company that is very successful, provides very good value and should get the resources to let them do their job," Black said.
The union president says the provincial government has to stop painting ICBC workers as lazy and bad at their jobs, and instead invest in its staff — especially with what he calls "a crushing workload."
"With the snow we've had last week, the terrible news from the Port Mann Bridge, the number of claims people are asked to take is just astronomical and [our] people can't do that with the resources they're given. ... They can't do that with the staffing levels we have at ICBC right now," he said.
ICBC issued a statement that said workplace changes have been occurring in order to better serve customers.
"ICBC continues to focus on improving its business to serve customers better and this means changing the experience for employees. We'll do that through better communications, increased involvement, and increased training and development."
Joti Samra, a psychologist, said layoffs and job uncertainty can create an unpleasant workplace and can hurt the customer's experience.
"When satisfaction goes down, the quality of service individuals give also declines," Samra said.
"As public citizens, we should care when employees that are working in the public sector are being impacted and when they're not engaged and satisfied with the work they've been doing, because it has the potential to have a negative impact on us."
The outlook for unionized staff, who had been negotiating a new contract with ICBC since June 2010, may already be brighter for 2013.
In November, ICBC employees agreed to a new four-year deal that includes wage increases.