City of White Rock a pleasant place to work but room for improvement, survey suggests

Staff critical of internal communications from ‘Senior Management Team’

Overall, the City of White Rock is a pleasant place to work, according to an internal employee survey conducted last year.

However, questions relating job enrichment, career ambitions and the city’s “senior management team” scored the lowest on the 39-question document, which Peace Arch News received Tuesday after a freedom-of-information (FOI) request made June 22.

The Employee Survey 2017 Data Report asked workplace-related questions to 156 city employees, equating to a response rate of 78 per cent.

The invitation to staff to participate was distributed on June 19 last year. The data gathering period ended two weeks later.

Departments involved in the survey included corporate/administration, RCMP civilian staff, financial services, fire rescue, planning and development, municipal operations and engineering, and recreation and culture.

The report presents the data in two primary measures, a “five-point Likert scale” and a percentage of agreement. The document notes that the five-point scale is the most reliable way to analyze the data.

A number below three on the five-point scale is labeled as “unacceptable,” and a number greater than three is considered “acceptable.”

The questions that yielded the most favourable responses – scoring 3.88 to 4.23 on the scale – include: “The people I work with treat me with respect”; “I am proud to be a member of my team”; “My supervisor treats employees with respect”; “My supervisor is approachable and easy to talk to”; “I understand how my efforts contribute to the City’s achievements.”

The question that yielded the poorest response (2.25 on the five-point scale) was “I am informed about what is happening in OTHER departments and locations.”

Other questions that yielded an “unacceptable” response included: “At the City, opportunities for development and job enrichment are good”; “The City seeks to understand my career ambitions”; “The Senior Management Team clearly communicates its plans and priorities”; “The Senior Management Team takes employee feedback seriously.”

The only other question specifically referencing senior staff – “The Senior Management Team has a sincere interest in the satisfaction and well-being of the City Employees” – scored a 3.04.

Respondents were asked to list the top three reasons of why they would want to stay employed at the city. The top reasons include: location (43.7 per cent); interesting and challenging work (37.7 per cent); and relationships with colleagues (32.5 per cent).

Respondents were asked to pick three characteristics that best reflect the city based on their working experience. The answers include; striving for improvement (64.7 per cent); trust and respect (26.9 per cent); and responsible to our environment (24.4 per cent).

Respondents were asked to pick one characteristic that they would like to see the city focus on in 2018. The most common answer was “trust and respect” at 22.6 per cent.

When PAN received the survey Tuesday, also received was a response to a separate FOI request made last month.

PAN had asked for “any emails relating to the budget of Memorial Park from April 1, 2018 (to) June 14, 2018 and timelines for the work.”

The city did not provide the information requested. FOI department manager Ken Overton responded that processing the Memorial Park request would take “significant time and resources” and would cost PAN $710.

The quote estimate was broken down into $120 for four hours of labour, $650 in “Binnie Civil Engineering” costs and $30 for preparing the records, (less $90 for three hours of labour at no cost).

PAN is appealing the cost based on the issue being a matter of public interest.

City of White Rock Employee Survey 2017 by PAN editor on Scribd

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