Excel as a High-Performing Agency

Survey response by August 19th: 2019 National Work Environment Assessment- Protecting confidentiality of participants

Protrait photo of Leslie Weldon. U.S and Forest Service glags in the background
Leslie Weldon, Senior Executive for Work Environment and Performance

Dear Forest Service Employees,

You recently received an email inviting you to participate in the 2019 National Work Environment Survey. If you have completed the survey, I thank you for your valuable feedback! If not, I encourage you to respond and make your voice heard. Aggregated results from this survey will be used to establish a baseline, to track progress toward improving the agency’s work culture, and to identify the most effective next steps.

Several of you have expressed concerns about the confidentiality of your responses to the survey. I want to take a moment to emphasize that your confidentiality is a top priority. We have taken multiple steps to ensure your confidentiality, including partnering with Fors Marsh Group, an independent research firm, to conduct this survey and to analyze the results. All data will be reported in the aggregate and no individual-level information will be shared with anyone at the Forest Service.

Some employees have suggested that by cross-referencing responses to the demographic questions, it could be possible to identify individual respondents. We will not report results from combinations of demographic questions that would results in workgroups of less than 10 individuals. This is the same reporting standard as for the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. Supervisors and managers will not be provided with the raw data and there will be no way for them to track responses. In addition, no verbatim quotes will be used.

Additionally, we have received a Federal Certificate of Confidentiality (CoC) that will protect survey responses from subpoena or release. More information about the CoC can be found here: https://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/regulations-and-policy/guidance/certificates-of-confidentiality/index.html.

Your honest feedback is essential to our ability to identify any workplace issues and promote a positive culture. Please feel reassured that your survey responses will be kept confidential and your responses will not be linked to you in any way. Taking the survey is voluntary however more participation provides us all with the clearest picture of the current Work Environment for the Forest Service.

If you have not already done so, please follow this link to access the survey: https://nwes-survey.fs.usda.gov/. Your PIN can be found in your email invitation (Subject line: Make your voice heard: Take the 2019 Forest Service Work Environment Survey).  If you have trouble accessing the survey, please contact FSsurveyhelp@forsmarshgroup.com.

If you have any further questions about the survey, please contact Erin O’Connor (erin.oconnor@usda.gov). The survey will remain open until August 19, 2019.

Thank you again for participating.


Leslie Weldon
Chief Executive, Work Environment and Performance