Facilities Management Division goes deep for employee survey, focuses on language, access and privacy

Judy Hairston, Customer Relations and Employee Engagement Manager, wants to make direct contact with all 324 employees in the Facilities Management Division (FMD) during the employee survey period. It’s important to her because she wants people to know she is accountable to them in her new role overseeing employee engagement.

“I know people have concerns about confidentiality and follow-up and I think being able to see my face and ask me questions helps.”

This is no easy task in a 24/7 operation, but FMD’s team of three is committed to improving on last year’s 58 percent response rate. Judy, Denise Gregory-Wyatt, Service Delivery Manager, and Confidential Secretary Gloria Fontenot, who normally work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. have flexed their schedules and stretched their hours to reach everyone in the division.  So far, they have reached 86 percent of the employees in their division –160 who received paper surveys and 120 who received electronic surveys.

They have paid particular attention to barriers that last year may have kept people from answering the survey: language, concerns about privacy, lack of access to computers and confusion about some questions on the survey.


Amharic translations for employees with questions.

To make the English language survey more accessible to their employees whose speak another primary language, FMD had the survey translated into Vietnamese, Spanish, Tagalog and Amharic. So far, Amharic has been the most requested.

To reassure people about confidentiality, FMD worked with Elections to get ballot boxes which are secured by red tape not to be broken until paper surveys are collected and sent to ORC at the end of the survey period. And, Judy, Denise and Gloria are able to reassure people in person that answering the demographic questions will not allow people to identify their individual survey responses.


An employee paper survey drop box helps make it easier to collect them.

“About one half of our employees don’t have access to email,” said Judy. So, to make sure the survey gets directly into the hands of each employee, Judy, Denise and Gloria show up at their staff meetings, when employees pick up their supplies and during breaks to personally hand each employee a survey and let them know their voice matters. Division leaders allow everyone to take the survey on work time.

“The other thing we did was create a cover letter that helps people answer questions that were confusing to them last year.” More clear explanations of who is meant by County Leadership, Department Leadership, Division Leadership and Managers/Supervisors are included along with help answering questions about the type of work you do.

Judy pulls out a chart and looks at it. “Later this week I’ll walk my floor to see if everyone got the survey and see if they have questions.” Her mind is already on the future.

FAQ: If I am the only person in my work unit in a certain demographic group how will my confidentiality be protected?

Any personal details in the questionnaire will not be used to identify how individuals have responded to the survey, but rather to understand any differences across employee groups within King County.

ORC is legally bound to ensure that no one from King County has access to identifiable raw data.

To maintain confidentiality, ORC reports only when groups of 6 or more people answer a question. This includes demographic groups. For example, if you are the only African-American person or person over 50 in your work group, results will not be reported for African-Americans or people over 50. The report will say “r” next to those categories instead of giving the percent positive for the question.

See the department report below for an example. This report shows the number of respondent in each age category and then reports the percent positive for each question only when there are 6 or more people in that category. You can see here that there are no people under 18 so ( r) appears. There are 73 people ages 18-35 so the percent positive for each question is given for that demographic.