June 15, 1998
City staff takes survey
by Andrew Walgamott
WOODINVILLE--City of Woodinville employees filled out a 144-question survey last week that asked how they felt about their job, management and the City Council. Called a "timely opportunity" by the city manager, the survey was offered for free to the city by Dr. Nicholas Lovrich of the Program for Local Government Education at Washington State University.
Woodinville's results will be compared with twelve other cities across the state, as well as state and federal norms. Staffers were asked to rank how they felt about the work environment, quality of the leadership and how satisfied they were with pay and recognition. Also, they were asked for essays on what is good and bad about working for Woodinville.
According to city officials, 100 percent of full and part time staff took the survey. Contract employees weren't surveyed. Jason Foster, a research assistant for Lovrich, said the real value for Woodinville would be to take the assessment again in a few years to measure how things have changed. The survey was developed by the federal government and made available to Fortune 500 companies who used it to develop benchmark data for employee development and customer service efforts, according to Lovrich.
Woodinville will be compared with large, small, new and old cities including Tacoma, University Place, Mount Vernon and Lakewood among others. Results will be compiled as surveys come back and will be made available to the city by the end of the summer, Foster said. He expected 2,000 surveys in all to be returned. "I think we will be shocked by the results," said City Manager Roy Rainey.
The city jumped on the chance to survey its staff, partly because the first ten cities to apply received it at no cost and also because of nagging questions about morale at City Hall. Previously, the council had considered taking an "attitude" survey of staffers after a number left the city, but the responsibility was handed back to the Executive's office.