2020 Engagement Survey changes  

Every year, the employee engagement team recommends improvements to the data and survey process that enhance the employee experience, increase the effectiveness of the data, and provide more useful analysis. That said, the team always retains the two most important elements of the survey: trending data, and the confidentiality and anonymity of participants.

Changes to this year’s Employee Engagement Survey are:

  • Everyone will take the survey electronically
  • Data will be available four weeks sooner, creating more time for action planning
  • Demographic questions are optional, will be more specific, and the option for “prefer not to disclose” has been removed. Instead, people who do not want to answer a question can skip it.

In 2020, the biggest change will be everyone taking the survey electronically. With the move from paper to electronic for all participants, data will be available four weeks sooner and there will be more time for action planning.

The move from paper to electronic surveys was identified early on as a way to provide more time for action planning. This was a request raised consistently for the past couple of years, but it prompted questions about how participation might be affected by employees’ perceptions of privacy and their comfort with iPads as the vehicle for taking the survey. Alleviating these concerns, an electronic survey pilot in Metro Transit showed employees would be more likely to participate in the survey using a tablet, and would also feel more comfortable answering the questions honestly.

This year employees in Metro Transit, the Solid Waste Division and the Roads Division will take the survey on iPads. Eliminating the time it takes to process paper surveys means data will be reported back in three weeks, one month sooner than last year. This provides more time for action planning, which has been a major concern for many. It will also save 80 reams of paper, or roughly five trees each year.

Survey participants will also notice changes to demographic questions. After hearing back from employees who felt the categories did not accurately reflect their identity, and in consultation with the King County employee affinity groups, the demographic questions now offer more choices under each race/ethnicity. To lower the risk of losing demographic data in categories with few responses, categories may be combined together as needed, but where possible, will stay more specific. As always, these demographic questions are optional to answer.

Thank you for your continued feedback and get ready to take the 2020 Employee Engagement Survey!

King County Executive visits Wastewater Treatment Division 

Water Treatment Tour-1On the final day of one of the rainiest months in the region’s recorded history, King County Executive Dow Constantine took a day-long tour of several wastewater treatment facilities. He was able to meet employees who work on the front lines, keeping treatment plants and pump stations operating 24/7 under adverse winter conditions.

He started in Georgetown where construction of a major new facility, the Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station, is underway. It will treat polluted stormwater that currently flows directly into the Duwamish River during severe rainstorms.

Afterwards, he was briefed on actions being taken to make the regional wastewater treatment system more resilient to address frequent rainstorms as the result of climate change. In addition to ensuring that capital projects factor in the changing climate, it is important to ensure employees have the training and support needed to effectively operate facilities during longer, more frequent rainstorms.

The final stop of the tour was at West Point Treatment Plant where staff briefed the Executive on improvements made since the 2017 major flood event. This includes upgrades to the control room with the latest technology to help employees better prioritize emergencies, installation of a new system for emergency shutdowns, and working with Seattle City Light to ensure there is a reliable power source at all times.

View video and photos of the Executive’s tour below.


2020 Worksite Fund application coming soon  

The Balanced You Worksite Fund is back for its third year. Beginning in mid-February, employees will have the opportunity to learn more about the project and apply. Previous applicants are also encouraged to re-apply. So, start connecting with colleagues and brainstorming ways you’d like to create positive change in your workplace this year.  

Visit the Balanced You blog  for more information and a slide show of 2019 Worksite Fund projects. 

Recipients of the 2019-2020 ESJ Opportunity Fund announced  

The ESJ Opportunity Fund is a competitive process overseen by the Office of Equity and Social Justice that provides resources to King County employees to develop and implement projects that work to advance equity and social justice and complement the ESJ Strategic Plan.   

This year, 33 applications were received totaling more than $185,000 in requests, with a 2019-2020 ESJ Opportunity Fund budget of $75,000. This was a highly competitive process that highlights the commitment across the County to equity and social justice work, not only at the department and agency level but also of our employees as individuals.   

The selected projects come from all across King County and are doing a range of ESJ related work throughout the County. Learn more about the 2019-2020 recipients here. 

Featured Job: Facilities Electrician I 

Salary: $38.32 – $42.13 Hourly 

Location: Seattle, WA 

Job Type: Career Service, Full Time, 40 hrs/week 

Department: DES – Executive Services 

Job Number: 2020TM11251 

Division: FMD – Facilities Mgmt 

Closing: 2/20/2020 11:59 PM Pacific 

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

Pet of the Week: Trap 

Hi! My name is Trap and I am available for adoption. My personality color is RED. I am a spirited dog with a fun-loving personality! I am still working on my manners, so I would do best with a family who is willing to work with me and help me become the best dog I can be! 

Read more and view all available pets at www.kingcounty.gov/adoptapet. 

Employee discounts to Seattle Symphony for February performances 

King County employees are welcome to take advantage of discounts for upcoming Seattle Symphony performances. Use code VIOLIN20 to save 15% on Orchestra Level Seats on performances of Dvořák Symphony No. 8 on Thursday, Feb. 6 and Saturday, 8, and Mozart Concerto for Two Pianos on Thursday, Feb. 27, Friday, Feb. 28, and Saturday, Feb. 29. Employees can also use code LOVE30 for $30 Orchestra Level Seats for The Best of Quincy Jones performances on Friday, Feb. 14, Saturday, Feb. 15, and Sunday, Feb. 16. Visit www.seattlesymphony.org to purchase tickets and for more information.   

See all available employee discounts at www.kingcounty.gov/employeediscounts. 

Plan for more time for security screening at courthouse 

Starting Wednesday, Feb. 5, security screening at the King County Courthouse will take longer. New security equipment has been set to a sensitivity level that ensures a more thorough screening process. Items such as loose change, keys, underwire in bras and shoe shanks may require secondary screening such as wanding. To speed up the process, please remove all metals from pockets. 

As a side note, beginning this Friday, Feb. 7, the Fourth Avenue entrance will open from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., and noon to 2 p.m. 

King County employee Metro commuter van pilot: Four-month update 

In October 2019, the Employee Transportation Program (ETP) launched a one-year pilot program offering 100% Metro Vanpool and Vanshare benefits to all King County employees.  Since the launch, employees formed eight new vanpools and one vanshare.  This pilot is an effort to decrease the drive-alone rate to King County worksites not served well by transit as well as provide all employees with an additional ORCA Passport fare-free mode to get to and from work. If the pilot program’s success continues through September, ETP plans to request that this benefit be a permanent transportation benefit for all King County employees.

With more than 14,000 employees at more than 130 King County locations throughout the County, having fully covered Metro commuter van fares opened up a new, fare-free transportation option.  Most County locations in downtown cores have multiple transit choices while other County worksites have limited fixed route options.  Sharing the ride to work in a Metro Vanpool or to a transit connection in a Vanshare is often the best alternative to driving alone for employees, especially those without access to fixed transit due to geographical or scheduling limitations. Vanpools provide a reliable, convenient and affordable one-seat ride for employees.

Since the pilot started, more than 55 King County employees have partnered to form eight new Metro Vanpools and one Vanshare at multiple locations.  So far, vans have formed by employees who have a long commute averaging an 85-mile round trip each day.  These employees commute from locations such as Arlington, Bonney Lake, Lynwood and Puyallup and work at various County worksites including Metro Transit Bases and the Adult Detention Center.  We now have 20 King County vans heading to multiple locations – visit our King Count Metro vanpool list and see if there is a van going your way!

Employees have multiple choices with this new, fare-free mode. Employees may join an existing Metro van along their commute route if there is space, or form their own vanpool with at least four other people. Employees may also form a van to link to or from transit to make that first/last mile connection. Each van needs to have at least two approved volunteer drivers and a bookkeeper for reporting. The free pilot fares cover the van, fuel, maintenance, insurance, roadside assistance and an emergency ride home program. The pilot offer is valid only with King County Metro commuter vans.

So, what are King County employees saying after vanpooling for a few weeks? Employees working at King County Metro’s Transit East Base facility expressed their enthusiasm for their new commute:

  • “I save wear and tear on my personal vehicle, saving money on fuel and toll fees, it’s great being in a vanpool!”
  • “I haven’t had to put gas in my car in two weeks.”
  • “A huge plus side to this program is the effect it has on traffic – reducing the cars on the road and cars parked at East Base, it’s pretty cool”

Concerned about being stuck at work when you have a sick family member or unexpected overtime? Not to worry as all King County employees have access to a  Home Free Guarantee program which provides a ride home during an illness, emergency or unexpected overtime, up to eight verified trips each year. The County reimburses for these emergency trips home to employees who come to work via bus, rail, streetcar, carpool, vanpool, biking or walking.

Learn more about King County Employees 100% subsidized Vanpool/Vanshare program.  If you or your employees have any questions about employee transportation benefits, contact your ETP manager, Hossein at Hossein.Barahimi@Kingcounty .gov.  Share this link with your staff and workgroups today! Current List of Metro Vans to County worksites.

Four things you need to know for the Census  

Every 10 years in the United States, a national census takes place, and King County is partnering with community-based organizations, philanthropies, other governments, and stakeholders across the region to support and promote a fair and accurate 2020 Census.

Starting March 12, people will receive letters in the mail with instructions on how to complete the 2020 Census. Until July 31, you can complete the census online, by mail, or over the phone. The results inform how funding is distributed for things like our schools, affordable housing, hospitals, and public transportation for the next decade. The count also determines how many representatives we’ll have in Congress.

Here are four things you need to know:

  • The census will not ask if you’re a citizen.
  • It is illegal for the census to share information with law enforcement or other agencies.
  • You have the right to privacy in the census—all answers are confidential and used only to produce statistics.
  • The census and its staff will never ask you for your social security number, bank information, or money. Official census workers wear census badges to help you identify them.

Help us get the word out by learning more about the 2020 Census. Because we all count.