DES Looks to Take Pulse of Workforce

In an effort to strengthen the workplace, the Department of Environmental Services is in the process of fielding a confidential employee survey.

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 leadership at DES (Chapter 50) strongly supports the agency’s efforts and recommends all employees complete the survey, which is open until Jan. 16. Chapter 50 President Ana Ford said DES is already a good place to work, but it speaks volumes that senior leadership is still focused on improving the work experience.

“This is a great opportunity for us to let management know what’s working and what’s not, and to make suggestions on what would make us more efficient and effective in our jobs or on how we can make life better here at DES,” Ford said.

Vicki Quiram, the assistant commissioner of DES, helped spearhead the survey. She said the idea is nothing new — other agencies have undertaken similar efforts — and the goal is to build a great place for people to work.

“We’re looking for a strong and vibrant workplace, where people are happy to come to work,” Quiram said. “That makes a huge difference in productivity and it allows you to keep the people you have and attract new people.”

Mike Wimsatt, the director of the Waste Management Division, said the survey was a part of the agency’s strategic plan, to achieve and maintain a status as an employer of choice — a place where people really want to work.

“We think that in order to do that, you need to take the pulse of the organization and find out what people like about working in the organization and what they don’t like — and most importantly the things that can be looked at to make it a better place to work,” Wimsatt said.

Ford said the way the agency went about creating and sending out the survey shows they’re looking for good, honest feedback from everyone.

“Management went to great lengths to ensure that individual responses would remain anonymous by using an outside firm to compile the results,” she said. “I hope everyone will complete the survey honestly so that the results will be meaningful.  And everyone’s input is important.”

Ford noted that the survey coincides with the re-establishment of a labor management committee at the agency.

“Our labor committee members are looking forward to working with management to implement any suggested changes that may come about as a result of this survey,” she said.


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