Surveys Help the NRC Assess Itself

Recently, the NRC’s Inspector General released the preliminary findings of an internal “safety culture and climate” survey that canvassed employee opinions on a wide range of workplace issues. This survey is conducted every three years by an independent consulting firm.

While the survey answers are still being analyzed, the results are generally positive—especially in the categories of workload and support, and training opportunities. The quality of internal communications also scored well, although it seems we have more work to do explaining why decisions were made.

We have also identified areas where the agency slipped compared to recent years, and will require special attention. These include: the ability to raise different professional opinions or challenge the prevailing view; recognizing and respecting the value of human differences; and developing people to their full potential. I do want to emphasize that while we are identifying areas for improvement, the overall results for the NRC are above industry and national norms.

These findings generally confirmed what we have learned so from the government-wide Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey—conducted earlier this year. According to the preliminary results, the NRC ranks first among federal agencies in both Leadership & Knowledge Management and Talent Management; second in Job Satisfaction; and third in Results-Oriented Performance Culture. Like the internal safety culture survey, there are also areas we are identifying for focused improvement.

The details of both surveys will continue to emerge during the next several months. The agency’s senior managers will be assessing the information in a coordinated manner to identify specific focus areas. Agency-wide action planning has already begun, and office and regional level action planning will begin at several “Results to Action” workshops in mid-January.

The bottom line for me and the other managers at the NRC—no matter how well the agency does on surveys—is to keep examining how to improve as leaders in this agency and, ultimately, as government civil servants entrusted with a serious and important role in the safety and security of this nation.

Bill Borchardt
Executive Director for Operations
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