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Feedback contained in budget proposal

TDCJ employees voice pride in job, dissatisfaction with pay in survey

illustration of closeup of mouth talkingWhile TDCJ employees are rightfully proud of the role they play in protecting public safety, they are not satisfied with the pay they receive in return.

That sentiment was expressed in response to questions put to them earlier this year in the Survey of Organizational Excellence (SOE). As in previous years, pay ranked lowest in employee satisfaction. Employee benefits, meanwhile, again got high marks.

“The message was loud and clear as to their opinion regarding their pay,” said TDCJ Human Resources Director Carol Johnston. “Even though someone may be very proud to work for this agency and feel what they do is important, they’ve said that they should be compensated for the important job they do. In a nutshell, that is what this survey is saying.”

The SOE is distributed to TDCJ employees every two years. Results are forwarded to the state’s legislative leadership and used by agency administrators to identify the agency’s strengths and address its weaknesses. Feedback from this year’s survey was, in fact, incorporated into the agency’s legislative appropriations request that calls for pay raises of approximately 20 percent for all correctional officers, parole officers, and their supervisors. The request also expresses support for salary increases for all TDCJ staff.

“We look at our strengths and we look at the areas where we have opportunities for improvement,” Johnston said. “Our lowest score for the survey and the previous survey in 2006 was fair pay. The agency used that feedback as well as other dynamics to put together the legislative appropriations request, which contains a very aggressive pay raise for correctional officers, parole officers and their supervisors.”

Approximately 28 percent of the TDCJ workforce responded to this year’s survey, about the same percentage as in 2006. Eighteen of the 20 categories contained in the survey showed improvement over 2006. Overall, average scores for each category rose about 3 points.

“The survey responses this year indicate a more positive feeling overall,” Johnston said.

The agency received high marks this year in the area of career development for providing employees with expanded training opportunities. Employees also feel like the agency is cohesive and that its workforce works well together. Positive responses to a question that asked employees how they think pieces fit together within TDCJ rose 7 points this year.

“I think one of the positives from the survey is that this agency has put a lot of effort and resources into employee development and training, and I think those efforts have been noticed,” Johnston said.

Johnston said that 84 percent of those participating in the survey indicated they still plan to be working for TDCJ two years from now.

“Even in the areas where we have opportunities for improvement, employees had a more positive perception of the agency,” Johnston said. “So I think, overall, employees are feeling better about what they do and the importance of their job. And because public safety is such a critical issue, it’s just real important for the employees of this agency to be proud of what they do and for whom they work. These improving scores, I think, are a reflection of an agency continuing to improve.”

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