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Home » State Human Resources » Workforce data & planning » OFM SHR data protection

OFM SHR data protection

This survey asks about your work experiences. We added a demographic questions this year, and that means you may have some questions about how we will use and protect your data.

  • This survey is voluntary. You choose to take the survey, and you can choose to answer each question. If you feel uncomfortable answering a question, you may skip it or select “Prefer not to say”.
  • This survey is confidential. We will not publicly disclose individual responses to sensitive demographic information. Demographic information is removed from the raw data files before they are delivered to your agency. Demographic information will only be released in summary form—for groups of 10 or more.

For more information, contact shrplanning@ofm.wa.govLast updated 5/11/2021.


On this webpage, you will find:


In this document you will find:

What platform we use for the survey. 1

The survey is voluntary. 1

Anonymous versus confidential responses. 2

Demographic data. 2

Disability status. 2

Could I have a disability?. 2

What are the benefits of reporting a disability?. 2

Who can access the raw data?. 3

What data is exempt from public disclosure?. 3

What OFM publishes. 3

What data agencies receive. 3

Self-administering agencies. 4


What platform we use for the survey

Currently, OFM-SHR uses SurveyMonkey. Regardless of if we track IP addresses or not, SurveyMonkey does. They collect, analyze, and store IP addresses of survey respondents for 14 months. IP addresses are used to improve the survey experience and can be combined with cookies to advertise to respondents and users. Here’s SurveyMonkey’s private policy. We are currently exploring other survey platforms, tools and methods to better protect your IP address.

In the meantime, we recommend taking the engagement survey while in the office or while using the VPN. This will ensure that the IP address is associated with the state and not your personal network.

The survey is voluntary

Our surveys and each demographic question in them are voluntary. Employees can choose to take the survey or not, and they can also choose to skip a question or select “Prefer not to say”. 

Anonymous versus confidential responses

For the Statewide Employee Engagement Survey, survey responses were considered anonymous before 2020; we did not collect identifiable information. With the addition of demographic questions, now we consider this data to be confidential. While we do not ask for uniquely identifying information, some employees might be identified through their survey responses. That’s why we’re taking extra steps to protect this confidential data, such as creating higher data thresholds and not disclosing sensitive demographic information.   

Demographic data

Before 2019, OFM-SHR was unable to connect engagement survey responses to employee identity. This means that we had no way of knowing whose experiences were being neglected in our conversations around engagement. We want our enterprise to work for everyone. By analyzing engagement data in context of demographic data, we can more equitably allocate time and resources for action planning.

If people are uncomfortable self-identifying on the survey, respondents may select “Prefer not to say” or skip the question.

Disability status

For more information about the Disability Inclusion Network email us at DIN@OFM.WA.GOV.

Could I have a disability?

If you have an impairment or condition (physical or mental) that can significantly limit a major life activity, or if you have a history or record of such condition, you could have a disability. Some examples are: 

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Autoimmune Disorders (Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, HIV/AIDS, etc…)
  • Blindness or low vision
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular/ Heart Disease
  • Celiac Disease
  • Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders (Crohn's Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome etc…)
  • Intellectual Disability;
  • Missing Limbs or Partially Missing Limbs;
  • Nervous System Condition (Migraine Headaches, Parkinson’s disease, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, etc…)
  • Psychiatric Condition (Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Personality Disorder, PTSD, ADHD, etc…)

What are the benefits of reporting a disability?

Reporting a disability is not disclosing and no one will know you as an individual reported having a disability. Reporting has many benefits, including:

  • Move towards a culture where employees feel comfortable sharing.
  • Helps communicate your agency’s focus on inclusion.
  • Promotes more access to accommodations. With the right accommodations, an employee with a disability can perform their job at an optimal level.
  • Can allow for the creation of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) within your agency to focus on helping and empowering those with disabilities excel in their jobs.
  • Helps agencies better recruit, retain, and offering training and promotional opportunities for those with disabilities.
  • Helps agencies create mentoring and coaching opportunities for those with disabilities.

Who can access the raw data?

This policy only applies to the surveys that OFM administers. A list of agencies that self-administer are at the end of this document.

Currently, the complete raw data is only available to OFM-SHR staff, who clean and conduct analysis. While agencies do receive some individual level data, they do not receive all the raw response data. Demographic information is removed from the raw data files before they are delivered to your agency. Demographic information will only be released in summary form—for groups of 10 or more. The only people who have access to the raw demographic data are OFM-SHR staff.


















What data is exempt from public disclosure?

After you receive a public disclosure request, OFM-SHR may be required to release some data. In 2020, the governor signed 2SHB 1888, which protects sensitive demographic information. Our data that is exempt from a public disclosure request includes:

  • Gender
  • LGBTQ+ status
  • Disability status
  • Race and/or ethnicity

No one will have access to this data outside of OFM, unless your agency self-administers their engagement or exit surveys.

What OFM publishes

OFM-SHR will only publish summary data. Data is only available for groups of 10 or more, with most publications using groups of 30 or more.

What data agencies receive

Our agency contacts receive their partial raw data (see Raw Data Access), pre-packaged reports, presentations and dashboards, all with built-in filters and data protections.

Statewide Employee Engagement Survey

  • Interactive agency roll-up reports — This is a web-based format that allows agencies to apply demographic filters to their data to look for trends. The data will not display for groups under 30. Agencies can only view summary survey data.
  • Static agency roll-up reports — Agencies can request a static (PDF, Excel, word) version of their roll-up report. The data will not be shown for groups under 10. Agencies can only view summary survey data.
  • Agency data — Agencies will receive individual survey responses to the engagement survey, excluding all demographic question responses. This does not apply to agencies that self-administer. To see if your agency does this, see “Self-administering agencies”.

Statewide Employee Exit Survey

  • Interactive dashboards —  Agency contacts have access to the same exit survey dashboard that is public. The only difference is that they have an agency filter. The only demographic information included with this is supervisor status, location, and tenure.
  • SurveyMonkey shared views — Agency contacts have access to SurveyMonkey shared views, where they can see summary data and comments.
  • Agency data — Agency contacts may request raw data, but they do not receive raw demographic data. They do receive job classification and name, as the survey lets respondents know that these are the only items that will be shared with their agency.

Self-administering agencies

Some of these protections apply only to the surveys OFM-SHR administers. Agencies that self-administer may share their data with OFM. You can find data policies for self-administering agencies below:

Statewide Employee Engagement Survey

  • Department of Children, Youth, and Families (contact John Rogers)
  • Department of Commerce (contact Rebecca Stillings)
  • Department of Labor and Industries (contact Ben Kauffman)
  • Department of Social and Health Services (contact John Rogers)
  • Health Care Authority (contact John Rogers)

Statewide Employee Exit Survey

  • Department of Financial Institutions (contact Gerri Davis)
Last updated
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
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