Methods: A 9-item measure of workplace environment was administered via an online survey of 860 social service professionals in Wisconsin. The sample includes 660 CPS staff in 52 county child protective service (CPS) agencies and 200 home visiting staff in 22 home visiting programs that serve low-income families with young children. Job satisfaction and intent to quit were each measured using a single item, while job burnout was measured using the work-related subscale of the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory.
A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) assessed whether the items aligned with three hypothesized constructs of workplace environment: interpersonal harmony (IH), supportive leadership (SL), and extrinsic rewards (ER). To test between-agency effects, we calculated intraclass correlations coefficients (ICC) using random-intercept models. Lastly, we performed multivariate regression analyses to analyze the extent to which the measure predicted job satisfaction, intent to quit, and job burnout.
Results: Scores for the measure ranged from 0 to 36 (M = 23.03, SD= 5.23). CFA results confirmed the hypothesized three-factor structure (χ2(24) = 109.46, p <.001, CFI =.96, TFI =.94, RMSEA =.07, SRMR = .04). The factor loadings for each subscale demonstrated adequate internal consistency (Standardized estimate range: IH = .84-.88; SL = .68 - .74; ER = .48 - .67). Results from random-intercept models suggested that agency-level effect contributed to the measure’s variance (ICC: Total scale = .18; IH subscale = .22; SL subscale = .21; ER subscale = .14). Controlling for age, race/ethnicity, job position, experience, education, and agency type (CPS or Home Visiting), workplace environment was strongly associated with job satisfaction (β = .52, p < .001), intent-to-quit (β = -.37, p < .001), and job burnout (β = -.36, p < .001). Additional multivariate analyses indicated that all three subscales were strongly associated with the three workforce outcomes.
Conclusions and Implications: An initial validation study indicates that this brief measure is a promising assessment of workplace environment that predicts salient workforce outcomes in different social service settings. Pending further replication, this brief measure has practical significance given that it is free, publicly available, and easily integrated into agency self-assessments and multi-site evaluations. We will discuss its potential application for implementation studies as well as directions for future testing.