In October 2018, Jemmott Rollins Group (JRG), Inc., an equity-focused consultant firm, delivered its recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for improving workforce equity at the County.

Before the Board of County Commissioners voted to adopt an Implementation Plan embedding JRG’s recommendations into the Workforce Equity Strategic Plan (WESP), the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) asked that employees have an opportunity to provide feedback. As part of a broad strategy of employee engagement, ODE hosted lunch and learns, continued its work with Employee Resource Groups, and the Communications Department administered a survey in January 2019 to all employees that asked them to select and rank their top three priorities from a list of 14 strategies.  


870 employees completed the first part of the survey (ranking the 14 strategies). The strategies that received the most votes were:

  • Strategy #5, Transfer Responsibility for Investigating Protected Class Complaints to a New Non-Departmental Unit  

  • Strategy #11, Design a Leadership Development and Accountability Model  

  • Strategy #1, Develop Communication That Supports Understanding of “Leading with Race”

  • Strategy #2, Create a Shared Language, Glossary, etc. for Terms, Frames and Concepts

  • Strategy #10, Develop an Equity Toolkit for Use by Departmental Diversity and Equity Teams

  • Strategy #14, Develop Metrics That Measure Progress Towards the Workforce Equity Strategic Plan   

Approximately 20% (almost 180) of the 870 employees who completed the first part of the survey also shared comments about the Draft Implementation Plan. The themes from the comments in this survey mirror many of the themes from the 2017 Countywide Employee Survey. Common themes that employees wrote about included:

  • The need for clear and effective communication

    • Including the desire for transparency and timely communication, the need to clarify terms such as ‘leading with race,’ and avoid jargon, etc.

  • The role of accountability for leadership

    • Leadership includes County Commissioners, Managers, and HR.

  • The need for evaluation and metrics

    • Employees emphasized the need to evaluate and measure things (though they did not specify what should be measured) and felt unclear about what the outcomes were.

  • A need for trainings and safe spaces

    • This was expressed from both those experiencing harm and wanting to feel safe as well as from those who have more privilege and expressed concerns about how to find a ‘safe space’ to learn.

  • A desire to avoid duplicating resources

    • For example, if resources like the Equity and Empowerment Lens: Racial Justice Focus already exist, we should implement it rather than create something new.

  • Concerns about the budget

    • Including a desire to invest in and fund this work, as well as concerns about how to fund this in a year with a budget constraint.

While the results of this survey provide a snapshot of the current thinking about priorities for WESP work, the strategies are interconnected. As such, investing in each of the strategies and recommendations provides a more comprehensive way of undertaking the work of systemic and structural change which will help promote and sustain the organizational changes and lead us to meet our goal of safety, trust, and belonging for all employees.


View the full results of the survey

View the full results of the survey (high-contrast version)

Next steps

The goal of this survey was to help identify priorities to guide the implementation timelines, inform the Chair and Board of County Commissioners through the budget process, and ensure that the implementation and investment timelines reflect what our employees have said are the most critical areas of focus. The results of this survey were shared with the Board of Commissioners on January 31, 2019.