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Our Director Director's Blog

Welcome! We are committed to recruiting and retaining a world-class workforce for the American people.

Take a look at our blogs and share with others. Once you are on a particular blog page, you can give us the thumbs up. Connect with Acting Director Cobert on Twitter: @OPMDirector and Facebook.com/OPMDirector. Also, find us on other social media channels.

Pink speach bubble with green background. Speach bubble contains the following 'WILL NEVER REACH YOUR SUPERVISOR OR COLLEAGUES'. Headline reads 'HOW YOU SPECIFICALLY ANSWER'. Lower corner right pink colored sub text reads '#FEVS'

Stephen Shih is Deputy Associate Director, Employee Services, Executive Resources and Employee Development at OPM. 

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) is one of the most important tools we have in government. It provides us with a tremendous amount of data on the experiences and views of Federal employees. In 2015, more than 421,700 Federal employees from 78 different agencies completed the FEVS, voicing their perceptions of leadership practices, training and development, work-life, and opportunities for career advancement.

We listened.

OPM has been working in partnership with agency leaders across government to help them make data-driven changes that will improve employee engagement, which in turn will lead to organizational success.  We're committed to fostering conversations about the drivers of engagement identified by the FEVS, sharing effective tools and strategies developed by agencies to improve employees' experiences, and creating government-wide resources to provide all employees with access to critical data and information.  For example, OPM recently released more no cost, online courses for Federal employees -- Maximizing Employee Engagement and Introduction to Leave, Work-Life and Workplace Flexibilities as well as a portal focused on employee engagement--UnlockTalent.gov.

OPM is not the only agency taking action.  Senior leaders and managers across the Federal Government gained insights from your feedback and are implementing innovative solutions to create a culture of engagement.  Here are just a few examples:

  • The Department of State's workforce said it wanted work-life supports, so their agency's approach to engagement involves maximizing the availability and use of work-life programs.  Through strategic partnerships among senior leaders, employee affinity groups, and unions, they've achieved progressive outcomes, such as the establishment of a back-up dependent care program, new lactation rooms, and the launch of a leave bank.
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) identified challenges with performance management from the FEVS results and is committed to making meaningful changes to address this area of employee concern.  One strategy NASA developed is  training for all second-level supervisors that stresses the need that performance measures are applied in the same way for all employees.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs answered its employees desire for more leadership training. The VA developed a very successful Leaders Developing Leaders program.  Since its inception, they trained 450 Senior Executive Service members and are bringing the program to many more employees.  The goal is to train 10,000-12,000 leaders.

Agencies across the Federal Government are making strides like this to build the workforce we need to serve the American people in the future.

But we know cultivating a culture of engagement is an ongoing process of listening to employees, identifying challenges, and working together to develop and implement solutions.  That's why it's critical that you participate in this year's FEVS.  We need you to tell us what's working and what still needs to be improved.

Leaders at every level from agency heads to front-line supervisors are listening. Take the survey today. Let your voice be heard.


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Each year, OPM’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) gives Federal employees across government the opportunity to confidentially tell their supervisors and managers what works well and what needs improvement when it comes to their agency, their specific job and their work environment. Many of you have received an email at your agency email address inviting you to participate in this voluntary, confidential survey. Now is the time for you to express your opinions.

It’s up to each agency to use this feedback, but rest assured, your managers and supervisors take these results very seriously. One of the most important pillars of the President’s Management Agenda calls on agencies to improve employee engagement. This survey is a key tool to help them do that. We’ve seen great change across government as a result of past surveys.

For example, at OPM as a result of the feedback we received from the 2015 survey, we:

  • Increased information about what is happening around the agency
  • Created workshops for employees and supervisors
  • Enhanced Employee Resource Groups
  • Re-launched the OPM Mentoring Program
  • Expanded Diversity and Inclusion Dialogues
  • Provided more opportunities to get to know senior leaders 
    through brown bag lunch series

I encourage all those who have been invited to participate in this year’s FEVS to complete the survey. We want your opinions regarding your job, your agency, and your workplace as a whole. Each employee’s voice can inspire change. Everyone’s responses help agencies identify areas that need attention. The more responses we receive, the better we understand your opinions and needs.

We make confidentiality of the results a priority. Every piece of feedback you give in the survey is confidential. Any information that would allow personal identification is always withheld when survey results are shared with your manager, others in the agency, or in publicly released reports regarding the survey.  So please be as honest as possible. If your agency’s leadership knows exactly how you feel, that’s when meaningful change can happen. 

The deadline for completing the FEVS is fast approaching. Different agencies have different closing dates, but the deadline for the first wave of surveys is the week of June 6; the second and final wave closes the week of June 14. If you have questions about your FEVS survey, send an email to the address included in the email message you received inviting you to participate.

The FEVS takes about 25 minutes to complete and can generally be filled out during work hours. Of course, participation in the survey is voluntary. But please consider lending your voice - this is your chance to give your opinions and let your leadership know the issues are most critical to you. 


- Photo of 3 marines during a memorial service at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. 6 golden stars beneath Headline: Memorial Day 2016.

Dan Thibodeau is a USAJOBS Program Manager 

With Memorial Day weekend upon us, Americans will be firing up their grills and shopping for a good sale. But let’s not forget what this holiday is truly about. It’s not about launching the summer season or even thanking our heroic veterans for their service to America. Memorial Day is a somber day of remembrance for the 1.8 million Americans who have given their lives in defense of this country.

Created after the Civil War, this holiday was intended to give Americans the opportunity to share their feelings, pride, respect, and honor for those who paid the ultimate price while serving in our nation’s military. This day, in particular, is especially meaningful for me. As a former Sergeant in the Marine Corps, I spent four years serving as an Aviation Ordnanceman before being medically discharged from the military. During my time in the service, and since getting out, I’ve wanted to do something to honor those who died while serving.

Sergeant Joshua James Frazier was tragically killed by a sniper in Iraq in February, 2007. The 24-year-old Marine from Spotsylvania, Va., had recently been promoted and was scheduled to head home in just two months when his life was cut short.

To honor my Marine brother, I will spend two years raising a black Labrador retriever, who is currently in training to become a service dog with Warrior Canine Connection. His name, fittingly, is Frazier.

Frazier, who will celebrate his first birthday this October, is on track to become a mobility service dog with Warrior Canine Connection, an organization that enlists recovering veterans (like myself) to train service dogs for fellow wounded veterans. These dogs help wounded warriors reconnect with life, their families, their communities and each other in many ways. They are trained to help open doors, retrieve items, and turn on lights, among other duties.

Frazier is a busy boy. He goes everywhere with me, including my office here at OPM.  He even has his own Facebook page, if you would like to stay up-to-date on his adventures.

Last weekend, we attended a motorcycle ride honoring Sergeant Frazier and Army Sergeant Nicholas Mason. More than 600 motorcyclists participated in the annual ride, which was designed to honor and remember Virginia’s fallen service members and to reach out and help those veterans who are wounded, disabled, or in need.  

For those OPM employees who live near Washington D.C., we are lucky to have the opportunity to visit multiple memorials dedicated to those killed in action, including Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Veterans memorials. My personal favorite is the veteran’s exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

But even if you don’t live in D.C., cities across the country have memorials, cemeteries, and museums dedicated to our country’s fallen service members. If you have the chance, please take time on Monday to visit one of these landmarks and reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day. 

 Photo of a man and his dog posing in front of OPM's building. Photo of a dog looking into the camera.

Photo of The Missing Military Service Member TablePhoto of the Vietnam War Memorial.


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By Dean Hunter, Director of Facilities, Security, and Emergency Management, OPM

Last month we celebrated the forty-seventh annual Earth Day – a day for celebrating the world around us and raising awareness for the many environmental issues that need our attention in order to have a clean, healthy world. People across the globe recognized the day with service opportunities and awareness events to continue to make the crucial environmental changes we all need.

Here at OPM, the celebration and commitment to sustainability continues year-round. I am proud to announce that OPM was nominated for a Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships award. The Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships is a non-profit dedicated to accelerating energy efficiency in the building sector through public policy, program strategies and education throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. We were nominated by the District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) as one of their business partners for the work we’ve done with them to reduce our energy and water use.

We’ve been making strategic changes for several years to curb our energy use and employ various energy efficient strategies. We’ve seen a significant decrease in our energy use as a result. Our partnership with DCSEU enabled us to obtain rebates for our energy and water reduction efforts. We’ve also installed new high efficiency chillers for the air conditioning system, optimizing air handler and cooling tower performance, and improving lighting, including installing dimmable lighting in stairwells.

I am honored that our team has been recognized for their leadership in energy efficiency as well as for their innovation in their solutions. We are in an old building that presents many challenges and the sustainability team helped create solutions that are effective and long lasting.

We hope that for many years to come we will continue to be a part of the solutions to the environmental problems our world faces.





graphic with Shades of tan background. Primary image is a sphere colored orange. Dark brown colored headline: ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH 2016. Dark colored subtext: EMBRACE DIFFERENCES- MANY CULTURES, ONE WALK.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month and is the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate the vast contributions AAPI communities make to both our nation and as part of the Federal workforce that serves the American people.

In the first year of his administration, the President signed an executive order reestablishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) and the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs.

The President’s commitment to this fastest-growing racial group in our country has extended to every corner of his administration.

At OPM, I’m grateful that Kiran Ahuja, who for six years was the Executive Director of the WHIAAPI, now serves as our Chief of Staff. Michelle Lee serves as the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Chris Lu is the Deputy Secretary of Labor. Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy is the nation’s Surgeon General. Nani Coloretti serves as Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Deputy Secretary. And Esther Kia’aina is an Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Interior. These are just a few of the AAPI members who serve throughout the Administration.

As the President reminded us in his proclamation celebrating this month, AAPIs make up “one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse groups in America.” We should celebrate this diversity and also work to make sure that the Federal Government is providing the appropriate level and type of services to these varied communities.

“We are working across government to improve data collection to counter existing stereotypes and to shed light on the realities faced and resources needed by the AAPI community,” the President also said in his proclamation. 

As the AAPI population has grown, it has become increasingly clear that AAPI communities vary by immigration patterns, socioeconomic status, educational attainment, wealth accumulation, and much more.

In order to provide more accurate and meaningful information on the AAPI community to both policymakers and the public, Federal agencies are working to provide disaggregated AAPI data – that is data by individual ethnicities – whenever possible.

For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s American Housing Survey now includes AAPI subgroup data. The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity report includes unemployment rates and other labor force estimates for seven Asian subgroups.

Here at OPM, our AAPI employee resource group (ERG) engages in a number of activities to support AAPI employees including brown bag luncheons, panels, other internal events for OPM staff, and shares vacancy announcements with its members. We have partnered with our AAPI ERG to encourage and promote participation in career development programs. And, we are looking forward to its upcoming AAPI Heritage Month event on Tuesday, May 24 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This wide-ranging panel discussion on diversity and the Federal workforce will feature some of the talented AAPI leaders in the Administration.

I encourage all Federal employees to celebrate the contributions our AAPI colleagues make every day to the Federal Government’s ability to fulfill its mission. And we should all encourage more AAPIs to join our Federal family.


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