Department makes strides in diversity, promotional opportunities, employee retainment

SANTA FE — The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) released its 2022 Employee Engagement Survey Report highlighting our employees are committed and engaged professionals who work hard for New Mexicans and our environment. While the department has made considerable progress in improving many aspects of its work culture there is still room for improvement.

The report contains data from responses to 88 questions that were included in this year’s survey. Key findings from this year’s report include:

  • 89% of our employees like the work they perform and 96% of our employees are willing to put in extra effort to get the job done.
  • 92% of employees say their supervisor supports their employees needs to balance work and other life issues - up from 85% in 2019.
  • Employees remain highly engaged in the work they do at a rate well above the national average, a maintained 3-percentage point increase from the first survey three years ago.
  • The sharing of knowledge between employees in work units remains consistently high despite the changing work environment over the last three years.

An overwhelming number of employees cited state-implemented telework as one of the key benefits to working at the Department. NMED’s telework policy has resulted in greater recruitment and retention efforts.  

“I proudly stand with and support our employees all over New Mexico who are committed to our mission, our values, and improving the workplace culture at the New Mexico Environment Department,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “We plan to hire over 100 new managers and staff across the Department and across the state this year, so I encourage anyone interested to join our team.”

The survey revealed improvements in several key areas, such as support of diversity in the workplace (a 15% improvement since 2020), the ability to earn a promotion within the department (a 12% improvement since 2020), and rewards for creativity and innovation (a 7% improvement since 2020).

Survey results show that overall employee engagement in NMED, as measured by the percentage of positive answers, is rated at 65.55%, nearly twice the national average of 34% as measured and reported by the annual Gallup poll last published in 2022.

Secretary Kenney instituted NMED Employee Engagement Survey shortly after he was appointed in 2019 in an effort to measure employee engagement and begin rebuilding the Department which was demoralized after a 30% budget cut in the previous administration. Such cuts resulted in significant decreases in staffing and the loss of institutional knowledge. Today, the Department continues to rebuild, and its staff are once again nationally recognized leaders when it comes to our work on climate change, air quality, water quality, solid and hazardous waste management, occupational safety, radiation control, oversight of federal facilities, and more. The Department continues to rebuild its compliance and enforcement efforts to hold polluters accountable as well.

As in the past two years, the employee engagement survey revealed areas for improvement, such as the need for more meaningful employee recognition, a better salary structure to link compensation to performance, the need for more promotion opportunities, and focused efforts to prepare employees for potential security threats. Such feedback provides NMED management with targeted areas to work on while we sustain positive momentum in other areas.

Previous survey reports led the department to focus on improving diversity, equity, and inclusion across the workplace, solidifying telework as an option for employees, advocating for and securing an increased budget across the Department, streamlining administrative processes, and increasing pay for employees through a department-wide workforce audit. Past Employee Engagement Survey Reports, as well as other department performance reports, can be found here.

The department currently has 532.3 full time employees and is actively recruiting applicants for a wide range of open positions. Candidates can find job openings at NMED by selecting “Department of Environment” here and here. NMED’s social media feeds – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram – feature information on the Department, its employees and vacant positions. 

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