Nov. 9, 2001

Action teams devising survey recommendations

After extensive analysis of survey data, action teams have pinpointed issues and are now devising recommendations for change in response to the Employee Survey, "Assessing the Workplace."

These changes include more flexibility in the work schedule, the addition of timesaving services, career training and development, and better communication regarding pay, benefits, recognition programs and performance management, among other issues.

What follows is a summary of the various actions the teams have taken.

Salary/Compensati on
The Survey Action Team is changing its name to Pay, Benefits and Recognition, in response to concerns the group was dealing with issues regarding salaried employees only. After analyzing the data, the group has determined that overall compensation at the Lab is competitive with other institutions. However, the Laboratory has not effectively communicated how employees are rewarded for their work.

The group is looking into ways to enhance communications and better promote benefits packages and recognition programs that carry monetary rewards.

Training/Career Development
Survey results show a general perception that training is supported to different degrees across the Laboratory. The Survey Action Team will explore ways to make training opportunities consistent across the Lab. The team will also suggest methods for making cross training more readily available, and providing retraining for employees between assignments.

With regard to career development, the team will clarify career-planning responsibilities between employees and their supervisors, provide for more consistent application of the career development process and suggest better succession planning processes.

Performance Management
While this Survey Action Team continues to study benchmark data, analysis of the employee survey shows many inconsistencies in how the Lab’s performance management system is articulated. The survey also found senior management lacks an understanding of the Lab rank and file’s perceptions toward the current performance management system.

In addition to possible improvements to the performance management system, the team will recommend ways to better communicate the process.

Work/Life Balance
This team has reviewed the survey in detail and decided to concentrate efforts in three areas: flexible schedules, employee services, and communications and training.

The survey showed that a majority of employees value flexible work schedules. "Many employees wanted more flexibility in their schedules while others appreciated the flexibility that they have," said Bruce Warner, deputy AD for NIF Programs and SAT co-chair.

The SAT found that Lab policy allows for considerable flexibility, but judging by the survey results, it doesn’t seem to be applied consistently across job classifications or work environments. "In addition, alternate schedules, such as 9/80s or part time, are attractive to a large fraction of our employees. The team is working to better understand the barriers to more flexibility and are developing approaches to overcome them," said Warner.

The group is also reviewing the responses to the survey concerning employee services. Four service areas are repeatedly highlighted in the survey; timesaving services such as an onsite post office, improved food service options, childcare services, and enhanced exercise facilities. The next step is to look into the feasibility of adding services that address these areas. The SAT team is looking at short and longer-term solutions.

Finally, the group is exploring methods to better communicate currently available schedule flexibility and employee services to the Lab population, including management. Many employees are unaware of existing work/life balance enhancements, from LLESA programs to services available through Human Resources.

Employee Empowerment
Lack of communication is one of the biggest issues in this area. "Employees know that they have to be informed if they are going to be empowered," said Bruce Goodwin, AD for Defense & Nuclear Technologies and SAT co-chair.

In addition to pursuing ways for managers to better communicate to their employees, Goodwin said his team will address a "lack of respect" and an "inability to speak out" that some groups of employees perceive. The group will also explore ways to improve the Lab’s system for complaint resolution.

This Survey Action Team will address many of the issues of the other action teams, with a specific look at how they can be applied to the 800/900 job classifications. The group is focusing on recommendations to improve training and career development, employment security, empowerment and communication.

The Survey Action Team, which is studying post-doc issues raised by the survey, will be inviting post-docs to participate in focus groups over the next couple of weeks. The focus groups will discuss salary, career feedback and support, and supervision.
Committee co-chairs Bill Goldstein and Laura Gilliom are requesting that supervisors encourage their post-docs to attend their scheduled session.