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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.
OPM has released a new data tool to the agencies called UnlockTalent.gov. I am excited about this powerful new interactive dashboard because I think it will help Federal leaders foster a culture of excellence and high performance at each and every agency.
With UnlockTalent.gov, agency leaders can take advantage of the valuable information from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and other HR resources, including Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) data. It will help them better understand the data and it will give them the extra support they need to create the most effective engagement programs for their employees.
The dashboard is exciting for another reason. It is one of the many ways we are working to meet the President’s Second Term Management Agenda goal of creating a culture of excellence and engagement, leading to higher performance.
There are some great features available as a part of the dashboard that makes it particularly helpful and unique. It is customized to each individual agency’s data with personalized pages. And when users sign in, they have access to five separate tabs: Agency Overview, HR Core Metrics, Employee Engagement, Global Satisfaction, and Community of Practice. Each tab offers a different type of data analysis or set of resources. The Community of Practice serves as a hub for agencies to explore best practices from the Federal Government and elsewhere. The combination of data and resources is a powerful way for agency leaders to be able to think about their engagement programs and office cultures.
We didn’t create this tool alone. OPM teamed up with 14 Federal agencies and the Office of Management and Budget so that the dashboard would be designed based on real input from potential users. We’ll also continue to improve it by gathering user feedback and applying it to updates that will add information and features in the coming months.
I am very proud of the team here at OPM and our government partners for this great product. It is proof of what innovation and teamwork can create and it’s happening all across government. I look forward to hearing from agency leaders about how UnlockTalent.gov is helping them bolster their efforts to engage our talented Federal workforce.
As I work to make sure we continue to build a model workforce for the 21st Century, I have been traveling around the country meeting with Federal employees, college students, faculty members and community leaders to learn from their experiences. This week, I spent some time in Silicon Valley talking to technology industry leaders about recruiting, retaining and engaging our employees.
What I learned is that cutting-edge companies like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google share many of the same goals and face many of the same challenges we do. The leaders I met with shared some compelling insights based on their experiences. We also shared best practices that are common to private industry and government.
Like the Federal government, businesses in Silicon Valley are competing for the best talent in their fields. And also like us, they know that attracting and retaining talent is vital. Each company has found its own, innovative way to tackle these challenges. One executive I met with talked about the need to find qualified candidates where they are. Another said that his company uses staff to act as recruiters on their own social networks.
It makes sense in today’s media environment to find ways to reach potential employees across social media platforms. We need to target qualified candidates by using the communications tools that they are already using. In order to recruit the most talented candidates in the hyper-competitive Silicon Valley environment, employers aggressively pursue candidates rather than wait for applicants to come to them.
Just as diversity is one of my highest priorities, the same is true in Silicon Valley. I talked with officials at several companies about how important it is to have a diverse and inclusive workforce. Many of these firms are using similar tactics. Some work with underprivileged and underrepresented communities to cultivate interest in IT and related fields from an early age. Most rely heavily on internship programs as a pipeline for talent. And others turn to advocacy groups to help recruit to underrepresented groups.
Officials at these companies also agree with me that an engaged workforce is vital. They are looking for creative ways to not only improve the workplace culture, but to use that culture to attract talent.
Some technology companies use an equivalent of our Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey to provide insights into employee morale and job satisfaction and as a vehicle for employee feedback. Company officials know that employees who believe in their mission and see a collegial workplace will want and encourage others to join them.
These companies really are a lot like the Federal government. We have the same goals and the same challenges. Our collaboration can only help to make our own efforts that more powerful.
My conversations with these companies, and others like them, are just beginning. We have agreed to maintain an ongoing dialogue and to continue to share best practices to help each other be model employers of 21st century.
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