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First-ever Montgomery County Government Employee Survey Indicates High Levels of Job Satisfaction and Key Areas for Improvement

For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 16, 2020

County Executive Marc Elrich is committed to improving the way government operates. He believes in hearing directly from employees about what is operating well and what needs change. The County is now releasing the results of the first comprehensive survey of its approximately 10,000-member workforce, a cooperative effort with the County’s three labor unions—the Montgomery County Government Employees Organization, International Association of Firefighters and Fraternal Order of Police.

Approximately 69 percent of the County’s employees completed the survey, which was administered by the CountyStat Office, from Sept. 18 to Oct. 21, 2019. 
Overall, the survey results were positive with 87 percent of the respondents indicating that Montgomery County is a great place to work; 84 percent saying that they understand the vision, goals and priorities of Montgomery County Government; and 82 percent believing they are provided with the necessary tools (supplies, software, equipment, etc.) to perform their work overall. 

“This is an important first step, because we needed to better understand how employees feel about the work they do and the environments they are working in,” said County Executive Elrich. “Even though the overall results are encouraging, we have work to do to improve the quality of their work life.  These men and women are providing service to the people of Montgomery County and I need to know what we can do to help them do their jobs better. Ultimately this will lead to the government providing better service to our residents and businesses.”

Berke Attila, director of the Office of Human Resources, said that the goal of the survey was to better understand the issues facing the County’s workforce (management, union and nonunion) so the County could begin to take steps to improve employees’ work life. 

“Over the next six months, we will collectively focus on improving our communications with employees, providing them with clearer direction and goals, as well as looking at ways for them to grow through training,” said Attila. 

Survey results also showed that a large majority of employees feel respected at work. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said that their supervisor gives them timely or ongoing feedback on their job performance and 88 percent stated that their supervisor treats them fairly. Eighty-four percent of respondents stated that County Government does not tolerate discrimination against employees based on sex, race, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, ethnicity, age or cultural background.

The survey showed that County employees are highly aware of how their work impacts the public. Ninety-four percent of respondents agreed that “Providing excellent customer service to our residents and other customers is a priority in my department.”

Employees did indicate areas where the County had greater room for improvement.

The survey showed that 39 percent of respondents said that the County lacks honest two-way communication between workers and management and 33 percent of the respondents felt that County government does not work as a team across departments and agencies (contrasted to 24 percent of respondents who feel that lack of teamwork within their department).

Training and growth opportunities issues also were highlighted by employees. The survey showed that fewer than half of respondents reported having access to mentoring and coaching, and 29 percent are not satisfied with the training opportunities available to them. In addition, 47 percent of employees believe that the most qualified individuals for advancement are not being promoted.

 “The high level of participation in the survey indicates that our employees are deeply invested in the work they do,” said Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Kleine. “The overall results show pride in the organization, high job satisfaction, and good relationships between employees and their supervisors. The survey also points to areas that we need to improve such as communication, training and career advancement. I look forward to working with department heads, union leaders, managers and employees to make Montgomery County Government the best it can be.”

The organizations that represent County employees also are looking at how the results of the survey can lead to improvements.

“Local 1994 looks forward to working collaboratively with the County Executive and his team to capitalize on the positive aspects of the survey,” said Gino Renne, president of UFCW Local 1994—the Montgomery County Government Employees Organization. “Moreover, the union is anxious to begin working on solutions to the identified areas for improvement with a focus on enhancing services while improving employee morale.”

Jeffrey Buddle, president of the Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters Association of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said, “A critical element of finding areas of improvement is to get the feedback of the employees who are providing the day to day services to County residents. Through this input, the County Government in conjunction with employee labor unions can identify methods to improve both government services and labor/employer relations."

Torrie Cooke, president of the Fraternal Order of Police of Montgomery County, Lodge 35, said, "The employee survey is a start to improving Montgomery County police officer morale. I encourage County leadership to objectively consider the feedback and use it to make continuous improvement. I look forward to collaboratively working to improve employer/employee labor relations, as well as creating a healthier and more stable work environment for police officer employees.” 

View the survey results online, go to https://tinyurl.com/qoj5llq.

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Release ID: 20-018
Media Contact: Barry Hudson, 240-777-6528