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

Stakeholder Engagement

PNNL's primary stakeholders are the groups that are most directly affected by, or that most directly affect, our approach to operations and our performance. For purposes of strategic stakeholder engagement, PNNL has identified the following four primary stakeholder groups: our employees, our customers with a focus on DOE (with which we have a contractual relationship to operate the Lab), our suppliers, and our community.

Specific factors we consider when identifying our key stakeholders include the following:

  • our statutory/contractual responsibilities (DOE customer, employees)
  • their influence on our performance (customers, employees, suppliers)
  • our impact or potential impact on them (customers, employees, suppliers, community)
  • their dependence on our viability (customers, employees, suppliers, community)
  • their relevance to our strategic intent (customers, employees)
  • the potential for creating shared value (customers, employees, suppliers, community)
  • geographical proximity to our operations (employees, community).

We engage our stakeholders throughout the year, through various formal feedback mechanisms and informal communications. The primary feedback mechanisms used for each stakeholder group during the 2011 reporting period are summarized in the table below.

Primary Feedback Mechanisms

The Operational Excellence Culture survey solicits employee input on key elements of the PNNL operational culture in the areas of leadership, risk management, continuous improvement and engagement. In 2011, the survey was distributed quarterly to a random sample of 25% of the staff rather than as one annual survey. The new quarterly format has doubled the amount of staff feedback and provided timelier and more specific comments than in previous years.

The Directorate Safety and Operations Councils (DSOCs) are an open forum for employees and managers to raise concerns, provide suggestions and recognize staff for behavior that aligns with our strong safety and operational culture.

Written request for feedback from select staff members on PNNL's 2010 Sustainability Report.

An employee commute behavior and preferences survey is conducted bi-annually (conducted in 2010 for 2010-2011 reporting).

A team of senior managers provided an internal sustainability program review.

Priority Issues Raised

Generally positive feedback was received from staff via the Operational Excellence Culture survey. The following are a few priority issues raised:

  • whether staff members were fully aware of venues for raising safety concerns, such as the DSOCs
  • about four percent of eligible staff did not receive formal face-to-face staff development reviews
  • a small but significant number of staff voiced dissatisfaction in areas of safety as a work priority, valuing opinion, and issue resolution
  • staff members are being expected to do more with fewer resources, causing potential for added pressure and stress.

Key feedback on the 2010 Sustainability Report included emphasis on performance relative to goals and better demonstrating how we "walk the talk" by integrating our research into our own operations.

Strong employee interest expressed in telework arrangements via the employee commute survey.

Building energy use, business travel, and employee commute GHG emissions were identified as priority issues needing action plans.

PNNL Response

PNNL management takes feedback from employees via the Operational Excellence Survey seriously and uses this to inform management action and policy. To address concerns identified in the 2011 Operational Excellence Culture evaluation,

  • Focus group and interviews will be conducted in 2012 as follow-up on management accountability and reporting concerns.
  • A video that addresses safety leadership and expectations was developed for all managers, with plans for release in 2012. Other communications are planned to raise awareness of DSOCs for all staff.
  • Plans in place to perform predictive modeling analysis of survey data to identify work groups at-risk for low engagement in safety culture.
  • Plans in place to increase awareness and availability of stress management tools and services (e.g., Employee Concerns Program, manager training).

Feedback on the 2010 Sustainability Report resulted in a revised format for the 2011 report, with performance summary in the front.

In response to senior management identification of sustainability priorities, the following actions have been taken:

  • Formed an employee commute cross-Lab task force to develop an alternative commute and telework action plan.
  • Formed a cross-Lab task force to develop an action plan to reduce business travel emissions.
  • Budgeted resources to establish a continuous commissioning program and core operating hours in most buildings on our campus.

Primary Feedback Mechanisms

Review of Lab performance against Performance Evaluation and Measurement Plan (PEMP) goals between PNNL senior management and DOE customer occurs every trimester.

Written assessment of PNNL's performance against the PEMP goals is provided by DOE annually.

Written requests for feedback from select DOE customers on PNNL's 2010 Sustainability Report have been made.

Priority Issues Raised

Overall, customer feedback provided through our PEMP reviews was very positive. PNNL received its highest grades ever in several categories of science & technology performance and management & operation performance. This included mention of demonstrating leadership across the DOE Office of Science complex in sustainability.

While we met our safety targets and have safety performance for three consecutive years, DOE did identify electrical safety as a concern in their feedback to PNNL.

Sustainability report feedback from DOE was also very positive. It was recommended that we better describe energy management efforts in our large data centers, as a material issue for PNNL.

PNNL Response

Actions to improve electrical safety included the following:

  • Completed Comprehensive Electrical Safety Action Plan summarizes the measures that PNNL implemented to ensure continuous improvement in this area.
  • Implemented an engagement and awareness campaign, including an electrical safety video (recognized for its high number of views), DSOC presentations, and electrical safety awareness training.
  • Augmented technical capabilities by contracting a nationally recognized electrical expert.
  • Increased workplace inspections related to electrical safety.

Included discussion of data center efficiency efforts in 2011 report.

Primary Feedback Mechanisms

An annual business review meeting is held with our Business to Business (B2B) suppliers of commercial off-the-shelf products. This involves reviewing sales figures, process improvements, environmentally preferable purchasing requirements, and areas of focus for the next year.

Suppliers can contact the with any concerns related to procurement or send comments via the feedback form.

The proactive outreach program encourages small businesses to work with PNNL.

Priority Issues Raised

No significant issues related to PNNL's performance were raised by suppliers in the 2011 business review meeting. Most feedback was related to getting greater sales access to PNNL.

The ombudsman received one inquiry about how to challenge a procurement award. PNNL responded with information on the process for doing so.

PNNL Response

Provided suppliers with equal access to opportunities by allowing one supplier show per year and directing all inquiries on bid opportunities to the PNNL solicitation website.

Provided small business training to employees.

Supplier outreach included the following:

  • attended several small business conferences (e.g., Bridging Partnerships Small Business Symposium)
  • met with small businesses in the Tri-Cities whenever requested
  • publicized PNNL Small Business Program on PNNL and various external websites.

Primary Feedback Mechanisms

PNNL is committed to building mutually beneficial relationships and implements strategies to promote economic vitality that generates goodwill and advocacy for the Laboratory, the community, and the region. We have established relationships that are positive and ongoing.

Examples include the following:

  • PNNL leads and participates in the Three Rivers Community Roundtable, where community leaders come together to achieve a common vision of regional development.
  • Staff members participate in leadership positions on numerous community boards that influence the community and state (e.g., United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties, Delta High School, Habitat for Humanity).
  • Staff members present science and technology to the community through the Community Lecture Series, where attendees can provide feedback through anonymous feedback forms.

Priority Issues Raised

No significant issues have been raised. Evidence of the positive relationships include the following:

  • The Regional Chamber of Commerce recognized PNNL's associate Lab director for Organizational Development with an ATHENA Award for her community service and role helping women to achieve their leadership potential.
  • Community Lecture Series feedback and attendance has been positive.
  • PNNL has been invited to speak at Regional Chamber of Commerce events.

PNNL Sustainability