May 25, 2001

Employees will get chance to assess their workplace when survey kicks off

Survey Questions and Answers

When the employee survey, "Assessing the Workplace," is released next week, it will provide the opportunity "to find what the ground truth is on the floor of the Lab," said Director Bruce Tarter.

During his state-of-the-Lab address last Friday, and in a separate interview, Tarter urged all employees to take the time to fill out the survey, which will be available to employees beginning May 29. Over the last two days employees should have been mailed a list of instructions from International Survey Research, which is conducting the survey, a password allowing access to the survey Website and a memo from the Lab director. (Note: employees who have already received their passwords will not be able to access the survey site until May 29.)

As Tarter explained in his televised talk, over the past two years the Lab has become a different workplace due to new polices and procedures regarding safety and security, a booming economy and competing pressures from Silicon Valley that have hindered the Lab’s ability to recruit and retain, and numerous review panels and external oversight.
"People have made numerous comments on ways to respond," Tarter said. "Some we can respond to and some require trade-off."

Tarter said a survey is the best way to find what that tradeoff is. Tarter called for the survey back in January as a way to measure broad Laboratory views, identify employees’ priorities; identify specific local issues for potential local solutions; solicit data; and benchmark against other laboratories.

"In order for us to make positive impacts, we must know what you are experiencing, what you think about your work environment and how you view the quality of life at the Lab," Tarter said.

The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete, can be conducted via the Web or in booklet form, and will be completely confidential. Questions focus on issues such as job satisfaction and work environment; growth opportunities, career development and retention issues; diversity and equal opportunity issues; work/life balance issues; and overall management of the Lab.

In putting the survey together, ISR consulted with a Lab steering committee, various employees and employee interest groups, post-docs, foreign nationals, first-line supervisors and senior management in order to formulate questions that will guarantee a "broad range of responses."

"There will be a lot of issues in this survey that will be of vital interest to some groups but not as much interest to others," Tarter explained. "But as we learned during the presidential election in November, one vote does matter." Through the survey the Lab will be able to respond to interests "that didn’t get the majority vote."

"We need to better understand the needs of today’s employees in order to assure that we maintain the high-quality workforce that has served the Laboratory so well," Tarter added. "Our understanding of these issues, which is also central to our ability to take advantage of the increasingly diverse workforce of the 21st century, is critical to the future of the Laboratory."

The survey will be available to employees via the Web through June 22. For those who wish to take the survey via booklet form, the survey is due June 15. For more information on the employee survey, see the accompanying story, page 7.

Survey Questions and Answers