What we heard from employees

Dear King County employee,

Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about one of our King County values—We respect all people. At King County, we show respect by actively seeking to learn and understand all perspectives and engaging people in decisions that affect them.

As we seek to stabilize during the pandemic and adapt to change, we surveyed more than 1,000 Executive Branch employees to better understand their current challenges, fears, and hopes for the future. We also held listening sessions with frontline employees and King County affinity groups to get an even deeper perspective of their experiences. You can view the survey results here (SharePoint).

Here’s what we learned:

  1. You want King County to center equity and racial justice in the recovery effort.
  2. Remote workers see many benefits in working remotely, and report feeling more productive and engaged with their work. Most want to continue working remotely at least some of the time after the pandemic subsides; their challenges include ergonomics and screen fatigue.
  3. Frontline staff and emergency responders working onsite report feeling less valued and engaged than teleworkers. Their challenges include workplace safety, mental health and well-being, and communication with their managers and supervisors.
  4. Your interest in growth and development opportunities remains strong, and you don’t want to stagnate during the pandemic.
  5. The pandemic has created communication challenges, especially with the loss of onsite interaction.

Here’s what we will do:

  1. Lead with Racial Justice from the top of the organization.
  2. Continue to make ESJ training and tools available so you have the knowledge and tools to center Racial Justice in your work.
  3. Establish employee well-being advisory groups for employees working onsite and those working remotely.
  4. Continue to work on communication and support for employees working onsite – and check how this is working, and adjust where needed.
  5. Continue our commitment to employee well-being with Balanced You programs that support your mental health, financial well-being, and physical health.
  6. Update our Learning Management System by the end of this year so we can better support eLearning throughout the County.

The Executive and all of us on his Senior Leadership Team are committed to listening and acting on what we hear from you. We will continue to conduct regular surveys and listening sessions to better support you throughout this pandemic and beyond.

This is challenging time. We will get through it by listening to and supporting one another, acting on what we learn, and adjusting as we go. I am so grateful for everything you do for our customers and community, and for one another. I hope you can take some time this summer to rest, relax, and recharge. Your well-being is important!

Sending you my best (virtually) –



Whitney Abrams,
Chief People Officer