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New state employee survey shows significant improvements

March 30, 2016

Summary 

A new survey of more than 42,000 state employees showed record-high scores on some key questions and the highest response rate in nearly a decade.

Quotes 

“Our ultimate goal is great service for our citizens. This is really encouraging.”
Governor Jay Inslee

“Getting this feedback from employees is incredibly important.”
Tracy 
Guerin, Deputy Director of the Office of Financial Management

Story 

A new survey of more than 42,000 state employees showed record-high scores on some key questions and the highest response rate in nearly a decade.

Some 42,669 employees from 78 agencies responded to the annual survey, which went out to employees late last year. It includes measures for employee engagement, customer focus, job support and satisfaction. 

“Our ultimate goal is great service for our citizens. This is really encouraging,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. Inslee led a discussion of the survey results at his monthly Results Washington meeting on Wednesday.

The response rate to the 17-question survey rose dramatically to 72 percent, the highest it’s been since at least 2006. The response rate in 2013 was 56 percent; in 2014 it was 52 percent.

Two key questions were at record highs:

  • 86 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “My supervisor treats me with dignity and respect.”
  • 68 percent agreed with the statement “My supervisor gives me ongoing feedback that helps me improve my performance.”

Given the size of the survey, Inslee noted that even small percentage increases equal input from thousands of employees.

“These are huge numbers that we’re moving the needle on,” he said. “Those small percentage numbers are really meaningful for me in what it’s doing for people across the state.”

The biggest increase, a 3 percent gain, was agreement with the statement “I have opportunities at work to learn and grow.”

The only question to which response ratings was “I know how my work contributes to the goals of my agency.” That declined by 1 percent.

“Getting this feedback from employees is incredibly important,” said Tracy Guerin, Deputy Director of the Office of Financial Management, which leads the survey and analysis.

The OFM team said that the results suggest higher levels of employee engagement at agencies that have most embraced Lean principles to make improvements. Inslee has championed Lean, a customer-focused philosophy of employee-led continual improvement, as a way to make state government more efficient and effective.

Inslee asked agency directors to convey his thanks to employees, and urged them to keep improving. Employee engagement, he said, is essential to recruiting, retention and effective service for Washingtonians.

“This is a persistence effort,” he said. “We’ve had real progress here. We’ve got to keep these numbers going up.”

Media Contact 

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office
360.902.4136