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Sustainable PNNL - Balancing social, environmental, and economic needs for a more sustainable future

Stakeholder Engagement



Primary Feedback Mechanisms

There are several staff member feedback mechanisms used throughout the year to characterize the level of engagement and satisfaction with the PNNL work environment:

  • Quarterly, the Operational Excellence Survey solicits staff member input in the areas of engagement, leadership, and safety. The quarterly surveys are designed to gather feedback on the operational culture at PNNL.
  • The Research Productivity Sentiment Survey focuses on assessing how well the tools, processes, and services enable research (e.g., facilities, equipment, travel, acquisitions, training, project management, business development, etc.). The survey is given to each research staff member annually, with 25% of staff members surveyed each quarter.
  • Focus group interviews are conducted annually, with small groups of staff members sharing some point of similarity that is a variable of the assessment. Typically, focus groups are used to obtain additional information and context for survey data and therefore change depending on survey responses.
  • Directorate Safety and Operations Councils (DSOCs) serve as open forums for employees and managers to raise concerns, provide suggestions, and recognize staff for behavior that aligns with PNNL's strong safety and operational culture.
  • VPP Safety and Operations Mixers provides an opportunity for student interns, postdoctoral researchers, visiting scientists, and new hires to have face-to-face conversations with various subject matter experts on environmental, safety, and sustainability topics.
  • Staff members participate in efforts to improve our triple-bottom-line of environmental, social, and economic performance. Some ways employees engage in PNNL's sustainability efforts include taking advantage of flexible work arrangements, using alternative commuting, and participating in the Sustainability Pays, a program that solicits and funds staff generated sustainability ideas.
  • Two hotlines are available to our staff members: the Employee Concerns Program (ECP) and the DOE concerns hotline. The ECP is available for staff members to raise issues and concerns without fear of harassment, retaliation, intimidation, discrimination, or disciplinary action. The program is designed to promote problem resolution by direct communication, clear understanding, and a development of trust.

Key Topics and Concerns

Annually, PNNL evaluates the Laboratory's operational culture and performance. The strengths and opportunities for improvement based on activities conducted during 2017 are summarized below:

  • The Operational Excellence Culture Improvement Team is continuing to mature its processes to monitor and strengthen PNNL's operational culture.
  • Line managers are encouraging a questioning attitude toward safety and fostering constructive dialogue about workplace concerns.
  • Lab Work Planning Assessments are generating line management involvement in assuring and enhancing the integration of research activities and safety practices.
  • The Research Supervisor role is improving communications, increasing new staff members' awareness of the Laboratory's expectations for performing work, and encouraging them to have a questioning attitude.
  • Senior managers are setting an example of safety through their personal commitment to continuous learning and by being directly involved in the Battelle training academies, which reinforces the safe conduct of research.
  • Staff behaviors are not meeting the Laboratory's expectations for hazard identification and control.

PNNL Response

In 2018, PNNL made plans to improve areas related to leadership, risk management, and staff engagement. Progress towards planned improvements will be reviewed as part of the annual operational culture and performance evaluation.

PNNL Sustainability