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As we take a deep dive into the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results, I am proud to see the data proves that our talented workforce is always striving to get better. When some of our innovative analysts in the Office of Planning and Policy Analysis examined education attainment patterns evident in the results, they found that a large proportion of our employees take advantage of additional training and education opportunities in a quest to better serve the American people.
Their findings are summarized in a report, Making the Grade: The Story of an Increasingly Well-Educated Federal Workforce, which is now available on opm.gov.
When looking at the educational progress that Federal employees have made in the past decade, we see that 39 percent have increased their education levels. When looking solely at those who entered Federal service with only a high school degree, we find that a remarkably large share --86 percent--increased their education by earning anything from a certificate in a skill area to a college degree.
The Federal government can help employees advance their education in a number of ways -- from tuition discounts, like the one OPM initiated with the University of Maryland University College this year, to granting CHCOs the authority to help employees pay some of their educational costs. It’s a win-win investment: Employees develop critical skills that the government needs. And, as employees expand their roles and responsibilities, they are more likely to feel vested in their organizations and motivated to continue their service to the American people.
OPM’s analysts found that as employees further their education, their odds of moving into the managerial ranks and increasing their salaries also increase significantly.
Supervisors and employees often work together to make new educational opportunities possible. That’s a special dynamic in our workforce: Employees feel supported to develop their skills and managers know that their agencies will have committed and more highly skilled workers.
We want agencies to have the best tools available to make these collaborations possible. Through HR University, Federal HR professionals and managers have one-stop shopping for tools and resources available government-wide. We are planning to expand upon this successful model of employee training to other government professions with GovU.
So take a few moments to read OPM’s new report on education in the Federal workforce. You never know where your next spark of inspiration will come from!
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.
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.
Calling all Federal employees: Have you taken the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey?
The FEVS, which OPM administers, is a powerful management tool that helps your senior leaders and managers drive change at your agency. The data we get from your responses tells us what is working and what we can do better. While taking this survey is voluntary, your responses are crucial to helping us make your workplace the best it can be.
There are a few myths associated with the FEVS. The video above addresses the most common of them. Most importantly, I want to assure you that your responses are kept entirely confidential. Your supervisor will never know how you answered.
Most employees will receive a link inviting them to participate in the survey. But especially in larger agencies, not everyone will. The FEVS is administered to full-time and part-time permanent, non-seasonal employees of departments and large agencies, as well as the small/independent agencies that choose to participate. This year, more than 800,000 employees have been asked to fill out the surveys. So check your inbox. See if there is a link waiting for you.
If you’re not sure if you received an invitation, look for an email from opm.gov. Be sure to only click on your own link, not one forwarded to you by a colleague. They are personalized specifically to you.
I know how hard you work. Despite the challenges we face, we have persevered and continue to get the job done for the American people. That’s why your input is so important. This survey gives you the opportunity to share your opinions, your concerns, and your praise. Tell us what’s working and what’s not. Help your leadership help you. When it comes to understanding what it’s like to work in your agency, you are the expert.
The survey closes this Friday, June 13. Don’t wait. Your response will make the difference.
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