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Today we released the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Government-wide results. The results illustrate a snapshot in time of employee opinions on topics ranging from work environments to job satisfaction. It is one of the most valuable tools that OPM provides to agencies because it helps leaders understand how employees feel about their jobs, their ability to advance, their training opportunities and their sense of empowerment in the workplace.
The survey allows employees to comfortably share their opinions and it makes it possible for agency leadership to make changes based on real data about their employees’ honest and crucial feedback. We’ve seen government-wide how powerful the changes that come from analyzing FEVS results can be. For example, agency leaders can understand telework patterns or gauge the level of supervisors’ commitment to a workforce representative of all segments of society.
Earlier this year, OPM also gave the agencies an interactive dashboard that helps them more easily drill down into their FEVS results. We are working with the Chief Human Capital Officers Council and the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations to identify and share best practices from agencies that have achieved long-lasting change.
With this year’s survey, we are highlighting the work of three agencies that have improved their rankings in recent years by making good use of their analyses of the FEVS results: OPM, the Department of Transportation and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
OPM ranked fifth out of 37 agencies on the survey’s Global Satisfaction Index, an indicator of employees’ overall job satisfaction, and sixth on the Employee Engagement Index. We believe the most important element that has contributed to our results is a committed leadership that has made employee engagement a priority. Once the departments at OPM receive their data, managers develop targeted action plans to address their challenges. They may set out to improve information-sharing between work units through newsletters and the agency intranet, for example, or they open the lines of communication through informal “coffee chats.” We’ve discovered just how crucial it is to communicate, share information and create ways for employee to engage. These strategies are working, though we know there are still many ways to improve and we will continue to do so.
The Department of Transportation makes employee engagement a high priority. DOT managers know that better employee engagement means people work harder and smarter. Engagement leads to a connection to their organization and its mission. And the agency has had quite a journey of improvement. In 2008, faced with relatively low scores, DOT managers undertook several efforts, including regularly holding town halls and visiting field offices frequently. They also implemented employee ideas for improving the agency that they received through their online suggestion tool, IdeaHub. Agency leaders wanted employees to know that they valued their feedback. As they’ve implemented these changes, they have made considerable progress. But they are committed to continuing to grow engagement even more.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also made employee engagement a top priority. Managers listened to the issues that mattered most to employees, including better communication, more training and sufficient resources to do their jobs. Internal communication was key, which led to an initiative called “All Invested,” which brought management and staff together to open lines of communication. Agency leaders say they did more to support creativity and innovation, work-life balance, and a diverse workforce.
These stories are great examples of what the FEVS can do to help us make the workforce stronger for the American people. But the results show us that there’s more work to do. Over the last few years, Federal employees have endured furloughs, sequestration, a pay freeze, and a government shutdown. Agencies will be able to use the data from the FEVS results to identify areas to promote job training opportunities, avenues for employees to advance up the career ladder, and ways to ensure overall satisfaction in the workplace. With this year’s results, we will continue to do the best work we can to continue to engage and honor the Federal workforce across the world.
The Office of Personnel Management is proud to be part of the President’s effort to get long-term unemployed Americans back to work. As a part of his call to action, OPM this week issued guidance to Federal agencies that explains how we will be working with them to reduce barriers to employment, encourage recruitment and focus on hiring the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have the skills, experience and desire to serve the American people.
Americans who have been unemployed for a long time often have trouble finding a new job. We want to make sure that when they apply for Federal jobs, they are not passed over because of gaps in employment or because of financial circumstances beyond their control, like getting behind in mortgage payments during protracted periods of unemployment. We are also providing agencies with training and updated guidance on complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Act is used when applicants’ credit histories are reviewed as a part of determining whether they are suitable for employment. Also, to clarify Federal hiring policies, we've created a "myth buster"
fact sheet that is available on OPM's new Recruitment Policy Studio.
It is crucial that we ensure that everyone has a fair shot at Federal jobs. As the chief HR officer for the Federal government, I take our responsibility to be a model employer very seriously. We will do everything we can to ensure that Americans who have the talent, the experience, and the desire to serve have an equal opportunity to do so.
On Wednesday, the Indian Treaty Room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building became a showcase for the Office of Personnel Management’s initiative to attract the best talent in science, technology engineering and math to Federal service.
This “Datapalooza” was part of a celebration of the incredible work Federal STEM employees do now, and it was also a look to the future as we work to fulfill the President’s vision of growing a diverse, engaged and talented STEM workforce for the future.
Our team leaders here at OPM have forged an amazing partnership with Federal employees from across government and from the private sector. The idea was to find ways to use OPM’s valuable data to understand our current STEM workforce and to provide the tools and resources managers need to help them attract and recruit new STEM talent.
This work is so exciting and so important. Let me tell you about just a couple of the projects.
Ray Parr, OPM’s data guru in our Office of Diversity and Inclusion, developed a heat map that shows where our STEM applicants are coming from. His map showed us that the four states contributing the most applicants for Federal STEM jobs are Maryland, Virginia, California and Texas. And, his team produced an applicant dashboard that provides insights into the interests and experiences of job applicants.
At another demonstration, Gary Lukowski, who manages our Data Analysis Group, enhanced the rich data from OPM’s Fedscope with charts and graphs to illustrate the relationships between STEM employees and their agencies. This kind of information will help hiring managers predict trends in the Federal STEM workforce.
We at OPM know that the Federal government is in competition with the private, non-profit and academic sectors for key STEM personnel. One way that OPM, OMB and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy are working together to close skills gaps is to remind agencies about some pay flexibilities that can help attract the best talent.
As we say in the Critical Position Pay Authority Memorandum for Chief Human Capital Officer, the critical position pay authority is a potentially underutilized flexibility that can support our efforts. We are encouraging agencies with mission critical STEM positions to better educate agency staff about this opportunity.
Go to the Pay and Leave Flexibilities for Recruitment and Retention Fact Sheet and the Students, Recent Graduates, and Pathways Fact Sheet for additional information on applying to and recruiting for Federal STEM positions.
This exciting STEM event was just the beginning. I am committed to making sure that together with our partners across government, OPM will continue to innovate and expand the tools and resources we provide agencies so they can bring on board the best talent possible to serve the American people.
As I’ve begun to look at the results of the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, I’m happy to report that there are more than 336,000 people under the age of 33 in our workforce and most of them say they are satisfied with their jobs. They also strongly believe that the work they do is important and that they have real opportunities to improve their skills.
I am not surprised. I have traveled around the country meeting with young Federal workers, veterans and college students. They all have something in common: They are looking for work that is purpose-driven and where they feel they can make a difference. And the new FEVS survey results show many millennials are finding just that in Federal service.
The results have encouraged me to make sure that we at OPM redouble our efforts to attract, develop and retain these talented young people. We are doing that in several ways: OPM is working hard on a new initiative called REDI to Connect. REDI stands for recruitment, engagement, diversity and inclusion.
A key feature of this initiative includes OPM’s work to enhance our Pathways programs, which provide internships to students in school and to recent college graduates. Both the Pathways program and our Presidential Management Fellows program are great ways for millennials to try out Federal service to see if it’s a good fit for them.
As part of REDI, OPM is also expanding the use of social media so that we can reach millennials via the platforms that they use in their job searches. And we’re reaching out to the young users of our main job portal – USAJOBS – to see how we can make is more user-friendly.
I am so gratified to see that our Federal millennials have opportunity with us in government. And I am taking seriously the areas where the data shows we can do better.
Thank you to all in our Federal family who responded to this important survey. Stay tuned for more results in the coming weeks.
Today, I am excited to announce that the overall average premium increase for employee health benefits provided through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program will be 3.2 percent for 2015.
The health insurance increase means employees with self-only coverage will pay an average $2.93 more in each bi-weekly pay period. Employees with family coverage can expect an average increase of $6.89 per pay period. The actual premium increases depend on which plans they choose.
These rate increases are proof that OPM continues to provide Federal employees, retirees and their families with the best possible coverage options. The FEHB Program delivers competitive rates and high quality benefits through an efficiently run system. These benefits also help us to attract and retain top talent in the Federal service. In 2015, there will be 257 health plans, with 11 of them available nationwide.
Also, as a result of the President’s Affordable Care Act, the FEHB program covers more than 400,000 young people between the ages of 22 and 26 under their parents’ plans. The ACA has not only expanded coverage for uninsured Americans, it has increased competition and accountability. Those improvements, along with the increased efficiency in the health care system, have resulted in lower cost increases in the FEHB and elsewhere. The FEHB Program offers comprehensive preventive services at no cost, also mandated by the ACA. And many plans provide incentives for participation in wellness activities.
This fall’s Open Season for health, dental and vision insurance, as well as for the flexible spending accounts, will be from November 10 to December 8. During that time, employees and retirees will have the chance to review their current plans and make any changes they desire for the following year. Eligible employees who are not currently a part of FEHB may also enroll for the first time. I urge all Federal employees to take this time to review their plan choices and decide what is best for their families.
This is also the first time employees will be able to enroll in the flexible spending account program for just a $100 minimum deposit. And for the first time, participants in the health care flexible spending account will be able to carry up to $500 of unused funds into the following year.
More detailed breakdowns of the FEHB Program premium rates and the FEDVIP rates are available at OPM.gov. Employees can also use some handy comparison tools on the site to find the plan that works best for them.
It is so important to me that everyone in our Federal family has the peace of mind to know that they and their loved ones are protected and covered for life’s health emergencies and for the preventive care that helps keeps us all safe and secure. I’m happy to report that once again, your FEHB Program is providing these benefits at a cost that is affordable to our deserving, hard-working Federal workforce.
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