According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), it pays to have engaged employees. Organizations with an engaged workforce and supportive leadership see increased sales, profitability, customer satisfaction and productivity.

I am thankful to work for one of those organizations.

A recent employee engagement survey conducted for the park board showed employees rated their overall job satisfaction at 97 percent — drastically higher than what is commonly seen at other United States employers. This is a great thing for all of us fortunate enough to work here, but it has even greater implications for the $1.1 billion tourism industry the park board efforts support.

“We know that satisfied employees on our end will ultimately lead to satisfied stakeholders externally,” Kelly de Schaun, park board executive director, said. “Our employees come in contact with millions of tourism customers each year so we are very intentional about this. It’s important to our organization that our employees find meaning in the work they do here and are happy about coming to work.”

The survey, which was administered by the SHRM, was anonymous and included participation from 98 percent of the park board’s 81 full-time employees. The 97 percent overall job satisfaction rating was up from 89 percent last year and 87 percent in 2015.

The survey compared results from the park board employees to those in similar industries and staff size in the United States, identifying the organizations strengths and opportunities in four specific areas: career development, compensation and benefits, relationship with management and work environment.

“According to the data collected, the park board systematically rates higher in nearly all categories of job satisfaction and engagement as compared to other United States employers,” Kimberly Danesi, Park Board human resources manager, said.

In order to keep this positive trend going in the same direction, Danesi and park board staff have outlined some strategies to be put in place during 2018. They include increasing job-specific training, participating with the city of Galveston in a professional third party compensation survey and improving communication across the organization.

“Our goal in making these improvements is to foster a good workplace environment that will touch everyone our employees come in contact with,” Danesi said.

Park board meetings are open to the public and the public may address the board of trustees during the meetings. Park board meetings are typically held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 1:30 p.m. at 601 Tremont St. If you are interested in seeing a park board issue discussed in this column, or if you have any questions, please send them my way. I can be reached at

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.

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