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Administration looks to improve state employee culture

Administration looks to improve state employee culture

February 9th, 2018 by Bob Watson in Missouri News

The Harry S Truman State Office Building in Jefferson City, Mo.

Photo by News Tribune /News Tribune.

Missouri's "organizational health" needs to be improved, administrators said Thursday.

Drew Erdmann, Missouri's chief operating officer in the Eric Greitens administration, said a web-based survey taken last summer provided an "X-ray of how the workforce behaves, what leadership behaviors, what management behaviors could be seen at a certain point in time."

The survey was taken by McKinsey & Company, Erdmann's former employer.

Erdmann said he couldn't share most of the survey's specific results because of McKinsey's trade secrets and proprietary information.

But, in general, he said, the survey studied whether employees "feel they have strategic direction (and) the capabilities, the core components of organizational health."

It found, generally across all departments, state employees think they have important jobs but don't feel they're being recognized for good work, nor do they have an understanding of overall goals to be met.

"The pattern and consistency in basic across all departments suggests that this is deeply embedded, long-term, multi-year (problem)," Erdmann said. "We have, by every indication, a workforce that wants to do a good job and comes to work every day to do a good job.

"What the survey results highlighted is that there are basic management failures — for years."

He couldn't say — and the survey didn't ask — the impact over the years due to changes in administrations after elections.

The survey was offered to employees of all 16 state departments and was kept confidential so administrators can't connect any specific answers to individual employees, Erdmann said.

But participation was high for a survey of this type, he said, with an overall response rate of 75 percent of the 47,427 state employees surveyed.

Department-by-department responses ranged from 49 percent of the employees in one department to a high of 92 percent in another agency.

"This level of participation suggests a widespread desire among the workforce to be heard and be part of the change," a project overview explained.

The administration's first response, Erdmann and Commissioner of Administration Sarah Steelman said Thursday, is to have all departments to "get back to basics."

Erdmann said: "We are moving forward as a team."