February 5, 2006

World Bank staff survey shows general satisfaction

By Lesley Wroughton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Despite rumblings of discontent in
the World Bank, the first staff survey since Paul Wolfowitz
became bank president in June shows similar satisfaction with
the institution compared to the prior survey in 2003, but less
understanding of the bank's direction.

In categories such as overall satisfaction, pride in the
bank and its work, and ability to serve partners and clients,
the survey, conducted every two years by a private research
group, recorded overwhelmingly positive responses.

However, in two categories -- understanding of the bank's
direction and recognition of job performances -- more than half
of the responses were negative.

In a letter to the staff late on Friday Wolfowitz lauded
the results.

"Research experts tell us that this high degree of
stability and continuity is a sign of a healthy organization,"
he said.

"While these are positive and encouraging results, we are
well aware that with a transition in leadership comes
challenges," he added.

Eight months into his tenure and as Wolfowitz begins to
exert his influence, internal tensions have come to a head with
the World Bank Staff Association questioning procedures
followed in the appointments of two senior managers and a
general lack of consultation.

The bank's board of member countries has urged Wolfowitz to
be more transparent and speed up the global search to fill the
bank's No. 2 position, left open in December by Shengman Zhang,
who went to the private sector.

The survey by the Gelfond Group showed that fewer staff --
48 percent compared to 68 percent in 2003 -- had a good
understanding of the direction in which the bank's senior
management was leading the institution.

Wolfowitz's letter pledged to improve overall understanding
of the bank's direction through more effective communication,
including speeches, seminars, and staff meetings, such as one
scheduled for Monday.


In addition he said in the letter "we obviously need to
improve" on recognizing job performance, as only 38 percent of
respondents said they were rewarded according to job
performance. In the 2003 survey, 44 percent of the respondents
gave that answer to the same question.

"Although this has been a continuing problem, I hope we can
show significant improvement by the time of the next survey in
two years," Wolfowitz said.

In a question personally added by Wolfowitz to the latest
survey on whether staff had read his first policy speech at the
bank's annual meeting last year, a majority of respondents --
55 percent -- said they had.

Of those who read the speech, some 96 percent said they
"generally agree" its direction and priorities.

"Needless to say, I was pleased to see such strong support
for our program among those who had read about it," he added.

Some 80 percent of the staff -- or 10,299 -- responded to
this year's survey.