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2023 Employee Engagement Survey executive summary

The annual Washington State Employee Engagement Survey (EES) provides a reliable source of feedback from executive branch employees in the areas of general engagement, communication, diversity, resources to carry-out the work, growth/ development, inclusion/ belonging, manager effectiveness, recognition, work-life balance, change management, and pro-equity anti-racism. The survey was conducted in October 2023 and was administered to all executive branch agencies and two higher education institutions. Participation in the survey increased from 66% in 2022 to 68% in 2023: 50,758 employees (1,343 from higher education).

This year’s survey consisted of the 37 questions:

  • 26 of the questions were Likert type questions asking respondents to rate their agreement to the question statement on a five-point scale from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”.
  • The remaining 11 questions concerned employee demographics. 

2023 marked the implementation of a new EES where both the questions and response scales were updated to reflect best practices in employee engagement research. Though some questions on the survey are similar to prior years’ questions on the EES, the wording and rating scale changes make any comparison to prior years’ surveys unreliable. The 2023 survey results serve as a new baseline for survey results moving forward.

What we found

Our successes

  • 86% of respondents felt their immediate supervisor treated them with respect.

  • 79% of respondents felt their immediate supervisor created an environment of openness and trust.

  • 78% of respondents agreed that their immediate supervisor is a good leader.

  • 76% of respondents indicated that they are satisfied with their telework and remote work opportunities.


Areas for improvement

  • 56% of respondents indicated they are appropriately involved in decisions that affect their work.

  • 51% of respondents indicated they had opportunities for advancement.

  • 48% of respondents indicated senior leadership at their agency did a good job of communicating the reasons behind important changes that are made.

  • 48% of respondents felt supported during organizational change at their agency.

Demographic data

We collected demographic data for nearly all state agencies in the 2023 State Employee Engagement survey. While demographic data is voluntary for respondents, it helps us understand the experience of all employees. We also work to build trust in sharing this voluntary information to improve employee experience and foster a work environment where all employees feel heard and included. This data is important for agencies and the enterprise to ensure we gain insight about our diverse workforce. Some key data points include

  • 13% of all survey respondents self-identified as having a disability. This is 8% higher than the 5% currently reported in the Human Resource Management System (HRMS).
  • 10% of respondents identified as a Veteran. This is 4% more than what is currently reported in HRMS as the total percentage of veterans in the workforce.
  • 22% of respondents identified as a person of color. This percentage is 1% lower than what is currently reported in HRMS.

Next steps

These survey results contain valuable information allowing us to better understand statewide and agency engagement levels. We strongly encourage agencies to act on these results specifically related to creating an environment of belonging where employees feel valued, supporting employees through organizational change, and continuing to demonstrate inclusion in all agency activities. We also encourage agencies to supplement this information with agency-specific action like additional limited scope surveys and focus groups targeting areas for growth or improvement. This can help agencies assess steps as they begin to act based on their 2023 Employee Engagement Survey results.

See our dashboard for more information on the 2023 State Employee Engagement Survey.

Last updated
Thursday, February 8, 2024
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