Employee Satisfaction Survey Obtains High Staff Response

By:  Dr. Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health


The Northern Kentucky Health Department (NKY Health) is a data-driven organization, seeking quality improvement in all we do; therefore, it is extremely important that we receive feedback from our greatest assets – our own staff – to help identify Health Department improvements. NKY Health asked its employees to complete the fourth iteration of the Employee Satisfaction Survey between September 3, 2018 and October 3, 2018. The same survey was conducted in 2012, 2014 and 2016.  In 2018, NKY Health obtained a response rate of 86%, which is the highest rate ever obtained on this survey and a 22% increase in participation from 2016! We are pleased that so many employees took the time to provide input. Let’s take a closer look at how the results were analyzed, what the key findings were and what solutions were identified for future improvement.

Survey Analysis

Once the survey closed in October, Debbie Young, Public Health Informatics Manager, began analyzing responses and developing a final report. The final report includes both text and visuals to identify differences and trends from past survey iterations. Responses were reported by percent positive and segmented by employee division, longevity and location. Attention was given to responses that were plus or minus ten percent (10%) of the average. Open-ended responses were coded into similar categories and reported cumulatively, as well as by division.

Survey Highlights

Key highlights include:

  • Similar to 2016 results, My Supervisor, My Role and Environment categories obtained the most positive responses.
  • Just as in 2016, Pay and Benefits, as well as Rewards and Recognition categories were at the bottom of the list; both decreased from the 2016 survey. Dissatisfaction with pay and lack of advancement opportunities are areas that respondents indicate negativity. A thorough reading of the open-ended questions provide feedback that infers that although the new pay plan addressed issues of performance-based raises, the pay bands (primarily the upper limits) worked in many cases to increase frustration and decrease motivation.
  • Ratings surrounding Engagement, Communication, Leadership and Planning showed the largest decreases from 2016 to 2018. Engagement and Communication categories dropped from 4/5 ranking to 6/7 ranking.
  • Although divisional segmentation of results identified significant differences in responses, no differences were found when segmenting by longevity and location. Future surveys may eliminate longevity and location to alleviate employee anxiety over identification from demographic questions.

Leadership Response

NKY Health senior staff were provided with a presentation of the final report by Debbie Young at their January meeting. Senior staff read the report in its entirety and identified common themes, then discussed strategies for improving, especially in the categories of “Communication”, “Engagement” and “Leadership and Planning”.  From these discussions, the following overarching action items have/will be implemented:

  1. Enhance communication efforts across the district (varies by division, but may include more frequent staff meetings and/or more prompt email communication concerning Health Department matters)
  2. Continue to enhance supervisors/managers leadership and communication skills
  3. Review customer satisfaction survey results and identify solutions

As an agency, it is crucial to work on areas that warranted improvements, however, we must also focus on the positives (which were many!) included in survey responses, such as: work environment, fellow colleagues and employee benefits. I, along with NKY Health senior staff, encourage all staff to continue to help improve the Health Department functions and operations by making suggestions to your supervisor. NKY Health appreciates your support to fulfill our mission. A copy of the 2018 Employee Satisfaction Survey Report can be found on the HR Site for Employees.

Thank you for your continued efforts to fulfill our mission!