Following the city’s decision to gather information regarding the level of job satisfaction within city departments, the results of a survey conducted by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley were presented at a workshop this week.
The survey, taken from Sept. 26 through Oct. 5 last year, was a project Mayor Armando O’caña and former City Manager Martin Garza worked on earlier in 2018.
Uhrbrock and Mullapudi work for the Data & Information Systems Center at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and have previously conducted a resident survey for the city of Pharr.
The survey was made available at the Speer Memorial Library computer lab on the survey dates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Employees received a number from the Human Resources department that they would input in the system in order to keep the results anonymous.
“There were two objectives of doing the employee survey,” Uhrbrock said. “One was to measure employee satisfaction, how satisfied they are with the work environment, engagement, conversation, relationships, benefits. The second goal was to get employee suggestions on to they can provide better service to residents and improve operations.”
A total of 663 employees in Mission were able to complete surveys, which consisted of 32 statements that they would rate on a scale of one to five, one meaning they strongly disagree with the statement and five meaning they strongly agree.
The statements were broken down into several categories, including career development, work engagement, compensation, relationship management and work environment. The highest rated statement overall was “I am determined to give my best effort at work each day,” and the lowest rated statement overall was “I am satisfied with my overall compensation.”
Council members Jessica Ortega-Ochoa and Gus Martinez both had things to say about the results of the survey. Martinez found the top five highest and lowest rated statements interesting.
“The five highest are ‘I am determined to do my best,’ ‘I am completely focused,’ ‘I constantly protect people’s lives,’” Martinez said. “And the five lowest are problems and issues with senior leaders and employees, management, senior management.’ I find if curious how the five highest are self-congratulatory and the five lowest are pointing fingers at management.”
Ortega-Ochoa said that there have been changes in the city since the survey was taken.
“I believe that when this survey was done, a lot of great things have [since] happened in our beautiful city of Mission,” Ortega-Ochoa said. “And I think that a lot of the issues that some of our staff members and employees have answered on this survey, I think if we were to do this survey again today, the survey [results] would be very different.”
The survey also broke down the average scores within each city department, with legal rating the highest average (with only two members in the department) and the police, fire suppression and prevention and the municipal court giving the lowest average ratings.
Employees who took the survey also got the opportunity to provide comments about how they would like to see operations in the city improved, how they could provide better service to Mission residents and more general other comments. Uhrbrock said they had received almost 500 comments.
The top keywords Uhrbrock pulled from the comments were “training,” “equipment,” “communication,” “customer service” and “pay.” The top departments providing these comments were the police, fire suppression and parks.
The mayor and council members received the full reports with more extensive details about the results and all the comments that were made but are not sure based on the anonymity of the survey whether they can release the comments if requested.
“Because it was anonymous, I think we’re getting the attorney general’s opinion on whether we can release those comments as an open records request,” Martinez said. “If only because there is some sensitive information that needs to be protected.”