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Employee Q&A about the employee survey

The Washington State Employee Engagement Survey gathers feedback on practices that influence job satisfaction, engagement, leadership, customer value and job support. Responses help leaders, managers and supervisors guide and measure their improvement efforts.

Survey results are also used to improve Washington state government as an Employer of Choice, as reported through the Results Washington Employer of Choice measure.

Yes. The survey is now conducted annually. From 2006 to 2013, however, the survey was conducted every two years.

Conducting the survey every year enables us to get employee feedback on a timely basis for ongoing improvements.

All permanent and nonpermanent executive branch employees are eligible.

This excludes legislative and judicial branch employees as well as employees at the public higher education institutions. This also excludes Work Study students and nonemployee work contract employees. Nonemployee groups include pages, retired firefighters, board/commission members on stipend, Ecology Youth Corp, reservists, emergency firefighters and National Guard in the Human Resource Management System (HRMS). The HRMS Nonemployee Coding Reference Guide is available on the HRMS Data Definitions website.

Prior to the opening of a new survey, State HR contacts the deputies of executive branch agencies (minus higher education) and previous survey contacts to announce the upcoming survey. They are asked to provide a survey contact name if they wish to participate in the survey.

State HR updates the Survey Contact list with the names provided. This updated list is used for all further communication on the new Survey.

The survey is administered by the Washington State Office of Financial Management, State Human Resources Division (State HR).

Agencies have the option of administering their own survey and providing that data to State HR. Agencies who wish to administer their own survey (electronic or paper) may contact the survey administrator at State HR to coordinate plans.

Surveys are primarily collected on the Internet using SurveyMonkey®, a web-based survey company. Paper copies are also available for employees who do not have computer access or feel more comfortable submitting a paper survey. Please contact your agency survey representative if you prefer a paper copy.

No. While survey participation is voluntary, and all questions included in the survey are optional, we strongly encourage you to complete the survey.

Employee views are crucial for agency managers and statewide leaders to make improvements that benefit state employees and their customers. Hearing from as many employees as possible will ensure that the feedback we act upon is representative of the range of employee viewpoints. This is your opportunity to let us know what is going well and where we need to improve.

Yes. We do not collect IP addresses or any other personally identifiable information.

The survey is analyzed on a collective — not individual — basis. We are interested in learning about broad trends in employee views on the workforce, not in individual responses. Reports of past surveys can be found at

State HR will provide agency summary reports only if an agency has 10 or more responses. In addition, answers to the standard demographic questions (geographic location, supervisor status, and state and agency tenure) will be shared only in summary form and only if there are 10 or more responses for each demographic group.

Some agencies choose to add questions to the survey, including open comment questions. Your answers will be anonymous unless you choose to self-disclose by providing identifying information in an open comment question.

The survey has 26 questions and takes about five to 10 minutes to complete.          

 Yes. The survey is optimized for use on smartphones and tablets (including iOS and Android).

The survey includes five standard questions that ask for information about certain employee characteristics. Like all other questions in the survey, answering these demographic questions, listed below, is optional.

  1. In which area of the state do you work the majority of the time?
  2. Are you a supervisor?
  3. How long have you worked for the state?
  4. How long have you worked for your current agency?
  5. Which agency do you work for?

Information from these questions allows us to make comparisons to see if there are differences in survey responses based on certain characteristics. Comparing results from these large-scale categories makes it possible to learn from the experiences of groups who do well and to identify unmet needs that may be common to other groups.

No. There are no open comment questions in the standard survey. However, agencies have the option of adding agency-specific questions to the standard survey, including open comment questions.

When an agency adds an open comment question, we send responses back to our agency representative without editing or in any way altering the comments.

Yes. You can change your answers on any survey page using the SurveyMonkey® “Back” button that appears below the survey question. (This will not work if you click your web browser “Back” button instead of the SurveyMonkey® button.)

You will not be able to change your answers after you complete all questions and select “Done.”

No. Please complete the entire survey in one sitting. It should take about five to 10 minutes.

SurveyMonkey® supports the following browsers:

  • Chrome 16 and later
  • Firefox 13.0 and later
  • Safari 5.0 or later
  • Internet Explorer 9.0 and later


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