13 January 2023Analysis

Kreidler promises to listen at Washington OIC

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has promised to address issues that have been reported about the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s (OIC) workplace culture.

Staff at the OIC were asked in 2022 to comment on an anonymous basis in an independent evaluation of the OIC’s culture, and the agency leadership’s role in developing the culture.

Due to concerns about anonymity being preserved, in the wake of previous alleged lapses in past surveys, participation in the survey was not large scale.

One of the concerns raised by employees included the Commissioner and either media-reported behavior and/or his working style. According to the findings: “These employees largely do not feel the Commissioner listens to employees and makes autocratic decisions without input from employees or concern for the impact of decisions on employees.”

In addition, roughly a third of responding employees called the agency’s telework policy a ‘significant dissatisfier’, reporting that because many employees can perform their duties from home as well or better than at the office, they resented being mandated to return to the office.

In a letter to all employees responding to the findings of the survey Kriedler recognised that he had called employees back to the office too soon after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kriedler added: “The pandemic showed us that some amount of telework is an important part of the modern workplace. I think most of us agree on that. I believe we also benefit from time spent together, which is why I’ve been more conservative than many of you.

“I recognize that I’ve not always handled discussions well. As we continue to talk about telework, I will try to be more receptive to your ideas and clarify my position if we don’t agree.”

Kriedler said that he has committed to taking in the employee feedback and putting it into immediate action.