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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 28, 2022
Contact: Office of Communications
Tel: 202-594-6827

RELEASE: OPM Releases Government-wide Results from 2021 OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey

Survey results show continued resilience of the federal workforce

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released government-wide results of the 2021 OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (OPM FEVS). The OPM FEVS is 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 second year of unprecedented challenges, federal employees demonstrated remarkable resilience while continuing the critical work of the federal government on behalf of the American people.   

“Federal employees are deeply motivated by their commitment to public service,” said OPM Director Kiran Ahuja. “The OPM FEVS survey results highlight their resilience in the face of two years of unprecedented challenges, and show how they found creative solutions and leveraged workplace flexibilities to continue delivering results. The pandemic strained the public and private sectors alike, including federal employees. The Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to the federal workforce is clear as the first priority for the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) is ‘strengthening and empowering the federal workforce.’  As one of the priority leads for this important work, I am proud to help lead the federal government’s efforts to honor and uplift America’s workforce. The PMA includes specific goals and measures to improve employee engagement in the workforce, and both the 2021 OPM FEVS survey and forthcoming revamped 2022 survey will provide critical data to inform agencies’ efforts to meet our important goals.” 

The 2021 OPM FEVS survey results demonstrate that federal workers continue to maintain a positive perspective on their agencies’ ability to deliver quality work that meets the needs of their customers and delivers on agency goals. Continued support from supervisors with regard to health and safety, as well as promoting a positive work environment, were also important drivers during this period.   

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 2021, OPM administered the survey to a majority of all eligible employees using a rigorous statistical sampling methodology for the ten largest agencies, with invitations sent to 865,425 employees.  A total of 292,520 employees completed a survey for a response rate of 34%.   

Background 

Due to the pandemic, survey administration in 2021 differed from 2020 in some substantial ways, making year to year figures less comparable and contributing to a lower response rate, for example: 

  • The 2021 OPM FEVS was in the field in November and December of 2021, rather than the more customary spring administration period 
  • The total fielding time was reduced from six weeks to five to avoid holiday period conflicts 

While private sector surveys contain material differences from the OPM FEVS survey, similar trends are visible in terms of engagement and satisfaction levels 

  • A Gallup poll from January 2022 found that, for the first year in more than a decade, the percentage of engaged workers in the U.S. declined in 2021, dropping 2 points 
  • Noting the challenge in comparing year to year figures between the OPM FEVS in 2020 and 2021, the overall Employee Engagement Index moved from 72% in 2020 to 71% in 2021, and the Global Satisfaction Index declined from 69% in 2020 to 64% in 2021 

Key Statistics  

The 2021 OPM FEVS survey demonstrates the continued resilience of the workforce through a second year of unprecedented challenges, and positive perspectives on workforce capabilities to deliver results; respondents had a high level of agreement that their work unit:   

  • Met the needs of the customer (88%)  
  • Contributed positively to agency performance (86%) 
  • Achieved goals (85%) 
  • Produced high quality work (84%) 

Agency supervisors continue to provide strong support for their teams, with an 80% positive score for the Supervisors component of the Employee Engagement Index (EEI).  Three questions from this index rank in the top ten overall for highest levels of agreement, including: 

  • My supervisor treats me with respect (86%) 
  • My supervisor supports my need to balance work and other life issues (84%) 
  • My supervisor listens to what I have to say (82%) 

Supervisors also contributed to a positive environment for employee health and safety, with 84% of respondents agreeing that supervisors “show concern for health and safety” and 79% agree that supervisors “create an environment where I can voice my concerns about staying healthy and safe. 

Agency senior leadership may have opportunities to improve engagement with the workforce around transition, as 62% of respondents agreed that senior leaders “provide effective communication about what to expect with the return to the physical worksite.” 

Looking ahead: 

The PMA outlines the Biden-Harris Administration major priorities, goals, strategies and metrics for the Government to deliver results for the American people. The first priority is to strengthen and empower the federal workforce, and includes two major OPM FEVS related success metrics: 

  • Create a more equitable employee engagement experience across the federal workforce, including across employee groups and organizational units within agencies:  Increase agency Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) Employee Engagement Index (EEI) scores by narrowing agency-identified gaps in EEI by employee group or organizational unit by 20% 
  • Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) strategies and practices across all human capital activities: Increase scores across OPM FEVS new DEIA measures implemented with the 2022 survey 
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OPM leads and serves the federal government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit OPM.gov or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.


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