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The Local Government Workplaces Initiative (LGWI) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only university-based center in the U.S. dedicated to local government workplace climate research. LGWI’s mission is to help local governments create great workplaces by listening to employees and acting on the feedback. LGWI is directed by Dr. Leisha DeHart-Davis, a professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government and National Academy of Public Administration Fellow. LGWI was originally started in 2004 at the University of Kansas’s School of Public Affairs and Administration and was formalized after Professor DeHart-Davis joined UNC. Over nearly twenty years, LGWI has surveyed, interviewed, or facilitated group discussions for nearly 16,000 employees in 35 local government organizations. 

Workplace Climate Survey

Our comprehensive workplace climate survey covers an array of topics identified through nearly twenty years of research with local government organizations. Survey topics are those that are important to local government employees, including teamwork, morale, exhaustion, workplace dynamics, structure, and satisfaction with job rewards. All survey questions are evidence based and local governments can request that questions be designed and added to meet their specific needs. The cost is based on the number of employees surveyed and the level of customization.  

Basic Plan

The basic employee survey package includes tailoring our standardized survey instrument to your needs by adding questions specific to your local government. The results are reported in the easy-to-use data visualization platform Tableau, depicting results both organization-wide and by department. The following analyses are included: 

  • Broad patterns in open-ended survey comments 
  • Comparisons with other local governments on select survey items 
  • Changes in results over time where applicable 
  • Demographic analyses of select survey results (e.g., race, gender, tenure, generation, supervisors versus non-supervisors, etc.)

Following all analyses, LGWI will deliver a presentation of results to key stakeholders. The presentation will synthesize qualitative and quantitative data to describe the overall workplace climate, including strengths and opportunities for improvement.  

Beyond The Basic Plan 

Based on the survey results, the LGWI team can work with your organization to identify additional services that may be useful, including the following: 

  • Pre- and/or post-survey focus groups with 8-10 employees each; these groups can be organized by department or employee type  
  • Departmental deep dives that that provide an in-depth look at a single department’s results, including a synthesis of survey results and comments and optional focus groups  
  • Training on optimal ways to create an effective local government workplace 
  • Workplace climate infographics, targeted for an employee audience, that summarize key findings and next steps  
  • Results-based action plan that is the product of facilitated discussions with leaders in the organization  
  • Customized training based on the results and identified needs of the organization 

Research Contract Services  

The LGWI team and affiliated consultants offer these additional contract services that may be deployed in conjunction with a survey or as stand-alone initiatives: 

  • Focus groups and 1:1 Interviews with employees: Facilitated focus group discussions and interviews can provide a deeper understanding of the organization from the employee perspective. 
  • Network analysis of communication: A network analysis is a useful way to map how communication and decision-making function in an organization. 
  • Training development: Customized training opportunities can be developed based on the needs and goals of your organization. 
  • Analysis of secondary data: The LGWI team can analyze your organization’s data related to human resources, including diversity, equity and inclusion.   

Great Workplaces Training

Great workplaces are created intentionally, by leaders who understand how to bring out the best in people. This intensive training will equip participants to do just that, by gaining an understanding of common workplace dynamics. Participants will learn from leading research from the LGWI Academic Fellows and how to translate it into practice. Topics include mission and values, employee voice, employee empowerment, effective rules, and procedural fairness. Topics can also be tailored to growth areas that are revealed in a workplace climate survey. 

To further explore any of these services, email to get started.