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Press Release

Monday, April 26, 2021
Contact: Office of Communications
Tel: 202-594-6827

RELEASE: OPM Releases Government-wide Results from 2020 OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey

Survey results show remarkable resilience of the federal workforce during a year of unprecedented hardship

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released the government-wide results of the 2020 OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (OPM FEVS), an organizational climate survey administered to the federal workforce to provide agencies a snapshot of how their employees view their current work environment and help inform future agency actions. The Governmentwide Management Report released today shows that during a year of unprecedented hardship, federal employees demonstrated remarkable resilience, continuing the critical work of the federal government on behalf of the American people.

“The federal workforce is made up of dedicated and hardworking individuals who are motivated by the opportunity to make a positive impact through their public service,” said OPM Acting Director Kathleen McGettigan. “Despite the unprecedented workplace challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, federal workers adapted quickly to their new realities, continuing to work on behalf of the American people, taking on additional and sometimes new work to ensure critical services have been available to the public. The OPM FEVS annual survey helps us hear directly from the federal workforce about ways to better support them. This feedback is an essential tool in our efforts to improve the experience of workers across the government so they can best serve their communities.”

As shown in the 2020 OPM FEVS results, the federal workforce adapted quickly to the challenges presented by the pandemic. Together with their managers and policy makers, employees found creative solutions and leveraged workplace flexibilities – including the widespread adoption of telework -- to continue to support their agency’s mission while balancing personal responsibilities. Results demonstrate that federal workers derive great satisfaction and meaning from successfully doing their jobs through even the most disruptive of circumstances.

The OPM FEVS is administered to full-time and part-time, permanent, non-seasonal employees of departments/large agencies and the small/independent agencies that accept an invitation to participate in the survey. During 2020 the survey was administered to all eligible employees, with invitations sent to 1,410,610 employees. A total of 624,800 employees completed a survey for a response rate of 44.3%.

Key Statistics

The 2020 OPM FEVS results reflect the resilience of the federal workforce during a global pandemic, evidenced by the following responses:

  • Federal employees were able to maintain a strong connection between their work and the agency’s goals (87% responded affirmatively to “I know how my work relates to the agency’s goals” - tied for the highest rated question on the survey).
  • Federal employees cooperated through hardship to get the job done (84% responded affirmatively to “The people I work with cooperate to get the job done”; 87% of respondents agreed with “My work unit has produced high quality work”; and 86% agreed that “My work unit has achieved our goals” during the pandemic).

Despite reports of work disruptions and increased work demands (23% of respondents reported the pandemic was extremely or very disruptive to their ability to do their work and 48% reported greatly or somewhat increased demands because of the pandemic), employees consistently reported continued strong performance among their work teams.

Federal employees reported that a key driver of workforce resilience came from front-line supervisors taking an active role in supporting their employees, especially regarding health, safety, and work-life needs. The vast majority of respondents reported that:

  • Supervisors supported employee efforts to stay healthy and safe (85% responded affirmatively to “My supervisor has supported my efforts to stay healthy and safe while working” and 84% responded affirmatively to “My supervisor has shown concern for my health and safety.”)
  • Supervisors recognized the need to balance work-life challenges during the pandemic and were supportive of their employees (85% responded affirmatively to “My supervisor supports my need to balance work and other life issues.”)
  • Supervisors treated employees with respect (87% responded affirmatively to “My supervisor treats me with respect” - tied for the highest rated question on the survey).

The OPM FEVS also revealed important insights that will inform the government’s planning for the post-pandemic period, confirming that many employees were able to continue to produce high quality work and achieve goals despite disruption to in-person work.

  • While only 3% of respondents reported teleworking every workday prior to the pandemic, participation in full-time telework increased substantially during the pandemic with 59% of respondents reporting teleworking every day during the peak of the pandemic and 47% teleworking daily at the time they responded to the survey.
  • 23% of respondents indicated the pandemic was “extremely” or “very” disruptive to their work and yet despite this major change in telework and other challenges from the pandemic, federal employees reported only minimal impact to their performance and workplace effectiveness.
  • 87% reported their unit was able to produce high quality work (down only 6% from before COVID-19).
  • 86% reported their unit was able to achieve their goals (down only 6% from before COVID-19).

In addition to capturing timely employee perceptions of their work during the pandemic, the Governmentwide Management Report also reflects the standard data related to the Employee Engagement Index (EEI) and Annual Employee Survey items, including the Global Satisfaction index, consistent with previous surveys.

  • The EEI is a key performance indicator, linked with employee satisfaction and retention and has been the focus of multiple workforce improvement initiatives within agencies and governmentwide.
  • Results show an increase in employee satisfaction with global satisfaction overall with an increase from 65% to 69% percent positive.
  • Similarly, notable increases are seen in scores on satisfaction with the job (69% to 72%), pay (63% to 67%), and the organization (61% to 66%).
  • The percentage of employees willing to recommend their organization as a good place to work also increased from 67% to 71%.
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The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the leader in workforce management for the federal government. Our agency builds, strengthens, and serves a federal workforce of 2.2 million employees with programs like hiring assistance, healthcare and insurance, retirement benefits, and much more. We provide agencies with policies, guidance, and best practices for supporting federal workers, so they can best serve the American people.

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