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Employee Opinion Survey

Leila Ligon Christian Nichols2007 was a year of great change within Duke Energy. Our natural gas pipeline business was spun off in January. There were also many changes to familiar systems and programs as we consolidated the company. As we do each year, employees were given an opportunity to complete an opinion survey. In 2007, 65 percent of our employee population replied.

Headlines from the survey:

Supervisor-employee relationships: This aspect of work life received high marks in many areas. The overall “supervisory skills” category received a 72 percent positive rating.

Response: Although we are doing well, we are determined to do better. A variety of training programs are available, and will be required for new supervisors, to further develop the skills needed to lead employees effectively.

Company strategy and leadership: Slightly less than half of the employees who responded to the survey felt they understood the company’s strategy.

Response: In 2008, the company’s updated mission, values and direction are being broadly communicated. Additionally, executive management members host monthly “Open Forums” and other employee discussions at various locations throughout our service areas. We are experimenting with other communications, such as internal blogs, to address employee questions and comments.

Workload and resources: Employees felt their workload was increasing due to cost and workforce reductions.

Response: To improve efficiency, we are identifying unnecessary work to help eliminate the “we’ve always done it that way” problem. We are also hiring additional people in selected areas and targeting specific work that can be completed more effectively by contractors.

Productivity: Sixty-six percent said they had the right knowledge and skills to be productive at work, which is a slight improvement since the previous year’s survey.

Response: We seem to be on the right track, but again, there is room for improvement. We have an increased commitment to employee training and development through online and hard-copy resources, as well as classes, seminars, and craft and technical training opportunities.

Rewards: Many employees felt they were not rewarded for good work.

Response: Since the survey was taken, job titles and pay structures have been standardized across the company. Most jobs have been matched to external market surveys. And, new performance management processes are in place for 2008.

Although the positive responses were not as high as we would have liked in many areas, the negative ratings were generally in the single-digit or low-teen percentages. Responses that were neutral made up a large middle segment, which may be expected as employees become accustomed to the new company.