We conducted this survey to provide an opportunity for employees to communicate their experiences during the pandemic. This survey provides valuable evidence for our audit, across county departments. We wanted to provide an anonymous way for employees to communicate their thoughts and concerns. We hoped that, because the County Auditor is independently elected, employees would feel free to express concerns openly without fear of retribution. In addition to using the survey to inform this audit, we will issue a separate report with more detailed survey results in early 2021.

About the survey

The Auditor’s Office sent a survey to all county employees who had a valid county email address as of the day we released the survey, September 22, 2020. The survey was open on Survey Monkey for three and a half weeks, closing on October 16, 2020. We ensured respondents’ anonymity by not collecting any identifying information. When the survey went out we provided employees with an FAQ on how we would conduct the survey, including how we would maintain the confidentiality of responses.

The survey had five main sections – employee satisfaction, safety in the work environment, telework experience, comment sections to give employees the opportunity to share their opinions, and a section on department and demographics. Employees were directed to the telework and work safety sections depending on their responses to work environment questions. The majority of questions on the survey were optional. Because most questions were optional, some respondents did not answer all the questions, and employees were directed only to sections that were relevant to them, the number of employees who answered any individual question varied. In total, 3,374 employees participated in the survey.

We provided an opportunity for comments, which were wide-ranging

Throughout the survey, we included several comment boxes for respondents to share any additional concerns or comments about their experience during the pandemic. We have included some selected comments in the report to highlight findings and provide insights into respondents’ perceptions. In some cases, comments helped explain why people answered the way they did. We edited responses for clarity and to remove identifying references.

About the responses

More than half of the county workforce completed the survey. We asked respondents to identify their assigned department. Collecting department is important because each department has different practices, messages from leadership, and approaches to following policies, and we wanted to be able to illustrate these differing approaches in the data. This question was optional and many respondents did not provide a response or dropped off before that question. We received the highest number of responses from the Health Department, the largest county department. Response rates varied by department. Each department had at least a third of their workforce respond.

To better understand employees’ work experiences during the pandemic, we also asked respondents about the work settings where they spent the most time. Work setting is important because different work settings present different risks and county policies vary by setting. Many respondents had worked in more than one setting. We asked respondents to list the workplace settings that they worked in during the previous month. Three quarters of respondents named telework as one of their workplace settings. 

Respondents reported working in a variety of county work settings.

Source: Results from Auditor conducted employee survey of Multnomah County employees. Respondents could select more than one option.

Future survey report will provide additional information

Employees shared much more about their experiences than the focus of the audit on COVID-19 related safety. We are only reporting on a few select questions in this audit, and looking at responses by only department or worksite.

We believe that people will be interested in fuller survey results and publishing results are important for transparency. After this audit is complete, we will work on compiling a report of survey results with a goal of publishing that in early 2021. We will look at demographic responses with more analysis and depth in that report, in order to examine disparities experienced by groups of individuals based on their demographics. We will also look at the full range of survey questions.