The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has released results of the 2012 Employee Viewpoint Survey, deemed the largest administered since first launched a decade ago.
“These results show that federal employees continue to be as dedicated to their agencies, their mission, and to public service as ever before,” said OPM Director John Berry. “Agencies can learn a lot from the greater detail and granularity in this year’s report and I know that this survey will be used to identify strengths, address weaknesses, and better serve the American people.”
Reaching more than 687,000 employees, this year’s survey was the most inclusive and detailed yet, allowing agencies to more deeply explore and learn from their results, according to OPM. Nearly all employees responded that their work is important, they are constantly looking for ways to do their job better, and they are willing to put in the extra effort to get the job done.
Additionally, 80% like the work they do, understand how their work relates to the agency’s goals and priorities, and rate the overall quality of the work done by their unit as high. More than two-thirds of employees recommend their agency as a good place to work.
John Palguta, vice president of the Partnership for Public Service, noted the bigger dip in morale was likely due to pay freezes and budget cuts as well as the timing of the survey coinciding with the negative public perception of government during election season. He also said it reflects federal workers’ increasing workload amid decreasing resources.
“In some cases, they’ve had to just stop doing things,” he said. “Clearly, that has an impact.”
However, Palguta also noted agencies such as the Department of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget show increases in employee satisfaction and serve as examples for struggling agencies.
Palguta said those details reflect a recurring message from the partnership, which uses the annual survey data to develop their Best Places to Work rankings. The rankings provide a roadmap for agency leaders to build a more committed workforce and, ultimately, more effective agencies.
“It reinforces the message that the externals you have to deal with are going to be there, such as budget cuts. But managers and leaders can still engage with their employees and figure out how to cope with the cards you’re dealt and that makes a difference,” Palguta said. “This is the time to be investing in innovative ways of how government gets its job done and instill some creativity in employees.”
Telework serves as one example of successful government innovation and efficiency. According to survey results, participation in telework has increased governmentwide. More employees note that they are telework-eligible, from one out of four in 2011 to one out of three this year.
This year’s record-breaking response rate was more than double the number of respondents from any previous employee viewpoint survey, according to OPM. This year’s results will be provided to a greater number of components within agencies, providing them with more information to assess performance and drive improvements than ever before.
Specific highlights from the survey results include:
- Nearly all federal employees report that their work is important, they are constantly looking for ways to do their job better, and they are willing to put in the extra effort to get the job done. This finding is consistent across the 82 federal agencies that participated in the 2012 FEVS.
- Eight out of 10 employees like the work they do, understand how their work relates to the agency’s goals and priorities, and rate the overall quality of the work done by their work unit as high.
- Employee engagement scores are relatively consistent with the 2010 levels. Approximately two out of three employees report positive conditions for engagement still exist in their agencies.
- Employee responses were down two percentage points when recommending their organization.
- as a good place to work (67%) and down three percentage points with their satisfaction with their job (68%) and organization (59%).
- Satisfaction with pay (59%) had the greatest impact on the global satisfaction scores, as it decreased by four percentage points. This is pay satisfaction’s lowest level since the 2004 survey administration.
- Two out of 10 employees feel pay raises are related to their job performance.
- Three out of 10 employees feel that their performance is recognized in a meaningful way and that promotions are based on merit.