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Light blue background with an open lock to the left. On the lock it says FEVS. In the top right corner are graph icons in circles. On the bottom is a dark blue footer that says: OPM.GOV/FEVS and #FEVS. In the middle of the graphic in white text it says: UnlockTalent.gov. Underneath it says: Visualization Tool, in all caps in dark blue text. Underneath it says: Agency level results now available in white text.

Having an engaged workforce is critical to each agency’s ability to achieve its mission of providing excellent service to the American people. The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) results provide a window into how engaged and satisfied the Federal workforce is.

Today, the Office of Personnel Management is releasing agency-level results of the 2016 FEVS. The results are available at UnlockTalent.gov, the comprehensive, interactive visualization dashboard that helps government leaders make data-driven decisions and design initiatives to improve overall engagement and employee satisfaction at Federal agencies.

Last week we previewed the FEVS data which, for the second year, shows Federal employees are more satisfied with their jobs and feel more engaged in their workplaces.

Below, two of my colleagues whose agencies have worked hard to respond to their FEVS results outline what steps they took to sustain and improve their engagement scores. Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, shares the work he and his team have done to improve their FEVS results and Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, describes how his agency consistently maintains high engagement scores, Their perspectives are just two examples of the continuing commitment of leaders across government – working with their staffs and in partnership with labor – to improving employee engagement of their workforce.

From Secretary Johnson:

Improving morale within the Department of Homeland Security has been one of my top priorities as Secretary.  I have said many times that, this year, morale will improve.  Our aggressive campaign to improve morale across this 22-component, 232,000-person workforce has produced results.

Today the Office of Personnel Management released the 2016 results for the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS).  These results reflect that employee engagement at DHS, after six straight years of decline, went up three whole percentage points this year – from 53 percent in 2015 to 56 percent this year.  This is no anomaly.  It is regarded by OPM as statistically significant, and compares favorably to the 1 percent increase across the entire U.S. government.  This increased morale at DHS was the result of some very hard work, and is the largest increase of any Cabinet Department our size.   

Hopefully, these improved results are the beginning of a new, upward trend.  I hope the next Secretary of Homeland Security continues to make employee morale a top priority.

Of particular note:

  • DHS leaders told our employees that their views mattered to us, and that we wanted to hear from them this year.  In response, DHS’s participation in FEVS went up from 47.1 percent last year (compared to 49.7 percent government-wide) to 50.1 percent this year (compared to 45.8 percent government-wide).   
  • Survey results for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (a 19,000-person agency) went up 7 percent --from 48 percent last year to 55 percent this year. Much of this increase came from within ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).  Over the last two years, ERO has responded effectively to my new immigration enforcement priorities that have focused more sharply on public safety and border security.  At the same time, we have reformed the pay scale for ERO officers, to reflect the good work they do for public safety.  
  • The Secret Service ended a multi-year slide in employee satisfaction.  In 2013, it was 62 percent  in 2014 it was 56 percent; in 2015 it was 49 percent.  This year employee satisfaction at the Secret Service came in at 50 percent.  Within DHS, the Secret Service saw the biggest survey participation increase, from 41.8 percent last year to 59.0 percent this year. 

From NASA Administrator Bolden

“NASA is proud to have been named the “Best Place to Work” in the Federal Government (among large agencies) for the past four consecutive years by the Partnership for Public Service. Using the FEVS as a focal point for guidance, over time we have developed a positive work culture with a high level of employee engagement through deliberate, proactive initiatives.

I’ve always told our employees that their voices matter.  At NASA, it’s especially critical, as much of our work is difficult and dangerous and sometimes lives are in the balance.  We must have a culture where speaking up and providing feedback is encouraged.  I’ve made nurturing that culture a centerpiece of my leadership and we created a Workforce Culture Strategy to communicate and codify these values. 

With some 18,000 employees at NASA, getting feedback can be daunting and the EVS helps provide a vehicle where people feel they can be candid and offer constructive comments without putting themselves or their jobs at risk.  We use it to help offices within our organization to improve and to share their successes. At NASA, we consider ourselves a family and, like any family, there can be some bumps in the road.  The EVS helps us get past them.

Based on last year’s employee feedback, we focused this year on second-level performance reviews to support and encourage fairness in ratings and we created a Leader’s Handbook to guide supervisors and employees, and to foster organizational health.

I’m still listening – and feel privileged to be working with such a talented, creative workforce.  The best part of serving as NASA Administrator continues to be witnessing how open and honest opinions and ideas have changed NASA for the better.  Our entire NASA senior leadership team sincerely cares about our workforce’s opinions and is ready to take action.”

I want to thank my colleagues and their teams for using the FEVS to make progress on employee engagement. I know agency leaders across government are using this important tool to make similar strides. All of us need to work each and every day to make sure the talented people who work for the Federal Government feel valued, included, and engaged in their jobs.

 


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