Karen Higginbotham runs EPA's Office of Civil Rights.
Within the next few weeks the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) will launch an Agency-wide survey. The purpose of the survey is to obtain statistically valid feedback from the (approx.) 17,500 people that comprise the Agency's workforce. This is not a survey that folks in OCR created. Using the competitive procurement process, we sought out a business entity that has demonstrated experience in the development of survey instruments and is recognized for their ability to administer surveys and interpret survey results.
The survey will ask questions with respect to the (Equal Employment Opportunity) EEO process, affirmative employment, special emphasis programs, workforce diversity, and reasonable accommodation. The survey will also ask for information on the race, national origin, gender and disability status of each respondent. All information collected will be “anonymized” much like my photo has been “Simpsonized”. (Oh, alright! “anonymized” is not a real word.) All responses will be provided to the contractor. OCR will only see the survey statistics, feedback, and results.
Yes, I have a genuine interest in the results and feedback. In part, the survey results will tell me if OCR is “doing a good job.” That would be quite an affirmation; but what I really want to know is where we can improve upon our service and processes. I want to know how you perceive the work we are charged to accomplish. Do we treat employees with respect? Is the EEO process fully explained to aggrieved individuals? Do our special emphasis observances resonate with the various constituent groups? Do these programs help to eradicate misperceptions with respect to different cultures, races, or ethnic groups? Do our diversity programs seek to create a more inclusive culture within EPA? Is the reasonable accommodation process used effectively?
This is my “science fair” project! The hypothesis is: “OCR has made incremental changes in its organizational structure and in work processes in order to deliver more effective services to EPA employees.” This survey is an “experiment.” The survey will put the hypothesis to the test. Like all good science fair projects, I will post the results of the (experiment) survey. The results will help me, the OCR management team and my senior managers to keep doing the things that work really well and to improve upon those things that are not working so well.
So when you get an email from WESTAT Inc. (the contractor) do not delete it as potential spam. Please take the time to read and respond to the survey. It's OK to be open and honest. When it comes to OCR, like Dr. Phil, I really want to know what you have to say when asked, “So, how's that working for ya?”