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    employee engagement

    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.


    graphic with bright yellow background. Primary image on left is a large speech bubble filled with different sizes of vibrantly colored people icons. Headline: Let your voice be heard. Subhead: Take the survey today. Blue box below Headline and Subheadline has white text that reads: Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, Employees Influencing Change. Pink footer has white text that reads, from left to right: OPM.gov/FEVS, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, #FEVS

    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. 


    At the Office of Personnel Management, every day we work to support the President’s Management Agenda’s goal to recruit, hire, and retain a world-class workforce. We develop human resources policies for everything from benefits to employee engagement to performance management to diversity and inclusion. And we believe strongly that the policy decisions we make must be grounded in research.

    Connecting research to policy is so important to us that it’s a goal in OPM’s Strategic Plan. This week, OPM partnered with American University to host its first research summit. We brought together researchers and policy experts from 20 Federal agencies, 19 colleges and universities, and partners from industry and the non-profit sector. We focused on six specific human capital policy areas: work/life issues; benefits; performance management; diversity and inclusion; leadership; and employee engagement.

    Our goal was to determine the current state of research in each of these areas.

    At this summit, we wanted to determine where there are gaps in the research we need to make the best informed decisions about human resources policies for Federal employees. We looked at the challenges to closing those research gaps and what research we need to best inform our policy decisions over the next several years.

    This summit will lead to enhanced collaborations. OPM already works with researchers around the country as they look at human resources issues in depth. We provide researchers will access to selected OPM data. For example, by accessing the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey data, which contains insights on employee engagement, productivity, innovation, and other employee concerns, researchers have written at least 60 academic papers in recent years.

    We must plan and make policy for the Federal workforce of the future. The way we all work is constantly changing. Employees are teleworking more. Workspaces are becoming more open and collaborative. We are asking employees to be more innovative and to think out of the box.

    By making sure that our human resources policies are informed by the most rigorous and up-to-date research, OPM can better design more effective human resources policies and help the Federal Government move to the forefront as an employer of choice.

    The ultimate goal of this summit and of the work of OPM’s Office of Planning and Policy Analysis is to use these collaborations to help us establish a research agenda for Federal human resources management that will shape human capital policy for years to come.


    Text rich graphic with a hand maneuvering a computer mouse, with text that reads: Unlocking Federal Talent  UnlockTalent.gov is a comprehensive data visualization dashboard created by the US Office of Personnel Management to help Government leaders make data driven decisions and design initiatives to increase employee engagement and satisfaction. Employee engagement is the employee's sense of purpose that is evident in their display of dedication, persistence, and effort in their work or overall attachment to their organization and its mission.

    The People and Culture pillar of the President’s Management Agenda emphasizes the need to develop and sustain an engaged, innovative, and productive Federal workforce. Strengthening employee engagement was also the subject of a joint White House-Office of Personnel Management memorandum.

    “We believe that employee engagement is a leading indicator of performance and should be a focus for all levels of an agency - from the front line employee to the agency head. Employee engagement is not only a Human Resources function, but a cross-cutting leadership effort that is directly tied to mission success,” the December 23, 2014, memorandum states.

    To further this goal, we are sharing a white paper on employee engagement entitled, “Engaging the Federal Workforce: How to Do It & Prove It.” To access the paper, login to www.unlocktalent.gov and go to the Community of Practice page.

    The paper summarizes OPM’s review of classic and recent employee engagement research, including definitions, models, measurement practices, and interventions. The paper then presents a definition of employee engagement as it specifically relates to the Federal workforce:

    “Employee engagement is the employee's sense of purpose that is evident in their display of dedication, persistence, and effort in their work or overall attachment to their organization and its mission,” the paper states.

    Of particular interest for Federal agencies is that the white paper examines the key drivers influencing Federal employee engagement. The research spotlights the important role that performance feedback, collaborative management, support for merit system principles, training and development opportunities, and work-life balance can have in developing a workforce that is more innovative, productive, committed, satisfied, and more likely to remain at their job.

    While in 2015 the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey’s Employee Engagement index increased for the first time in three years, there are still substantial opportunities to improve this important workplace indicator. In releasing this white paper, we hope that OPM’s new Federal definition and model will serve as a foundation for capturing and sharing best practices to drive and sustain future employee engagement efforts.


    The results of the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) are in and they show that employees across the Federal Government are more engaged in their workplaces and more satisfied with their jobs than they were a year ago. While there is still plenty of room for improvement, there are signs that the Administration’s focus on employee engagement is beginning to pay dividends for the workforce, and ultimately for our customers, the American people.

    I’d like to share some highlights of the government-wide results as well as share an important update on how you can access some of the data. The employee engagement and global satisfaction results of this year’s FEVS can now be viewed by the public in visual formats on UnlockTalent.gov, OPM’s innovative digital dashboard. This tool, which allows customized views of the data, was previously available only to the leadership of Federal agencies.

    One highlight in the government-wide results that is especially meaningful for me and other leaders this year is a 1 percent increase in the employee engagement index score, to 64 percent from 63 percent in 2014. Although the change may appear to be small, it is in fact statistically significant, and many individual agencies experienced larger gains.

    The FEVS provides a powerful way for agency leaders to evaluate their engagement programs and office cultures. As leaders, we know that employee engagement drives performance and is closely tied to mission success in the Federal Government, which translates into better customer service for the American people.

    Agency leaders have actively responded to feedback from prior years’ surveys and those efforts are reflected in the results. Compared with 2014, more employees in 2015 perceive their agency conditions as conducive to employee engagement, which is defined as an employee’s sense of purpose, manifest in the level of dedication, persistence, and effort that he or she puts into the work and into the overall commitment to an agency and its mission.

    Internal engagement efforts are more likely to be successful when employee feedback is used to make workplace changes. That’s why these results are crucial. Agencies that experienced increases in employee engagement of 3 percentage points or more also saw an increase in employees’ confidence that the survey would be used to make the agency a better place to work.

    Another important index also increased by 1 percent government-wide: The global satisfaction score in 2015 was 60 percent, up from 59 percent in 2014. That score tells us that employees are more satisfied with their jobs, their pay, and their organizations and that they are more likely to recommend their agency to others.

    This year, 50 percent of the employees who were surveyed responded, for a total of 421,748 responses from 82 agencies. The response rate was 3 percentage points higher than last year’s 47 percent.  Overall, 75 percent of responses to the individual survey questions were more positive than they were last year.

    And the results underscore the dedication of Federal employees. The survey found that 90 percent or more of employees view their work as important, are willing to commit extra effort when necessary to get their jobs done, and consistently seek out ways to do their jobs better.

    Other trends remained strong in 2015: By and large, employees expressed that they  enjoy good relationships with their supervisors and are satisfied with telework and alternative work schedules. Areas where the results show we need improvement are: Adequately dealing with poor performers and recognizing differences in performance levels within work units.

    Employees’ ratings of senior agency leaders, which declined by 3 percentage points in the 2014 survey, rebounded somewhat in 2015 with a 1 percentage point increase. But it’s clear that we need to continue our focus on engagement and building confidence in our senior leadership.

    This is the second in a series of infographics highlighting results from the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS).   The infographic positions the FEVS as a powerful tool for agencies and continues the metaphor of a classic wrench.   Title:  First Glance at Results 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey  Top Left Quadrant:  Decorative graphic composed of simplified, stylized versions of data visuals such as pie charts, line and bar graphs. This area also contains two government-wide data points from the 2015 results:  •	The Response Rate increased to 50% •	75% of responses more positive than last year  Top Right Quadrant: Two government-wide data points from the 2015 results:  •	Gov-wide Engagement increased to 64% •	Global Satisfaction increased to 60%  Bottom half of infographic introduces UnlockTalent.gov, the new online visualization tool for exploring FEVS data, with the following features and capabilities:  •	Now accessible to all Federal employees and the public •	Explore engagement and global satisfaction scores •	Review trends from 2010-2015  The primary visual in the bottom half is a combination padlock. Supporting visuals are small examples of chart and graph styles.   The bottom of the page contains the main URL and hashtag:   OPM.GOV/FEVS #FEVS 

    As of today, everyone can access the employee engagement and global satisfaction data with our visualization tool, UnlockTalent.gov, which tells the story with graphs, charts, and other visual means. It is a very helpful way to analyze the results agency by agency.

    Here are five things you’ll want to know to get started:

    Clicking on UnlockTalent.gov will take you directly to the data, no sign-in required.

    • Explore government-wide data, specifically response rates, employee engagement index, and global satisfaction scores.
    • Explore, by agency, the employee engagement index (including the supporting subfactors that create the index -- Leaders Lead, Supervisors, and Intrinsic Work Experience) and global satisfaction index scores.
    • See how agencies compare in these areas in 2015 as well as review their trends from 2010 to 2015.
    • Download the data into a spreadsheet.

    This tool has been an invaluable resource for leaders throughout the government, and I am pleased that it is now available for all to use. Every employee is a part of the change and we want to keep the momentum going. If we continue to work together, the progress will show in future surveys.

    Note to our readers: OPM will release the full 2015 FEVS government-wide report soon.


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