The Need

On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian hit the west coast of Florida as a Category 4 hurricane and was the deadliest hurricane to hit Florida since 1935 with at least 157 fatalities. 

Marco Island experienced 8 feet of storm surge and had 304 residential buildings and 63 commercial buildings with significant damage. While Marco Island was not impacted as severely as some other communities, Hurricane Ian was a major event for the city.

In the weeks following the hurricane, after the roads were cleared, traffic signals repaired, power restored, and the Island mostly cleaned up, the after-action process began. By this time, most of the city employees were exhausted and everyone had opinions about what had gone well and what had not.

The OnPointe Solution

 In March of 2022, the City of Marco Island had conducted a CityPOV citizen survey, which was a smooth and insightful process. Casey Lucius, Assistant City Manager of Marco Island reached out to OnPointe-Insights after Hurricane Ian and asked about doing a CityEVENT after-action survey for their city employees in order to capture their experiences before, during and after the hurricane. She wanted to use their feedback to develop an improvement plan that would be incorporated into a final after-action report.

The survey was developed rapidly and distributed to employees on October 18th. The results were compiled and accessible through an online dashboard by October 28th. Casey described the survey process as remarkably smooth and timely, with eye-opening results.

The Outcome

The survey revealed that communication before a major incident is extremely important for employees, but that the city did not meet their expectations. Marco Island leadership realized that their focus had been on communicating with citizens and they missed the mark with their employees.

The survey results dig in further to show that scheduling and feeding the employees turned out to be highly important, but the city did a poor job in this area.  Many employees were on stand-by waiting for the storm to pass and they did not necessarily know when they would start work, where they would sleep on site, or where their next meal was coming from. Clear communication about sleeping quarters, food, and work schedule would have alleviated much stress and frustration for the staff.

However, the results of the survey did show that when it came to getting the work done, such as debris pick up, welfare checks, water services, and cleaning the waterways, they performed well as a city team and had much to be proud of.

Casey Lucius

Assistant City Manager, Marco Island, Florida

“Getting this structured feedback from our employees has been invaluable. The results are not what we hoped they would be, but the results direct our leadership team to take a hard look at our hurricane planning process and our communication strategies. We now know what items to include in the improvement plan, and our employees know that their input has been heard.”

“I recommend doing an employee survey for any cities that are working on their own after-action plan following Hurricane Ian, or for those that may go through a future crisis.  We know how important our employees are and we couldn’t plan, respond, or recover from any crisis without their commitment and hard work.”

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