Survey shows feds feel important

In general, federal employees believe they do important work, but a substantial number of employees are considering leaving their jobs, according to an Office of Personnel Management survey released today.

OPM conducted the 2002 Federal Human Capital Survey to gauge how federal employees feel about their jobs. It is the largest survey ever undertaken in the federal government, said Kay Coles James, OPM director.

More than 100,000 feds responded to the survey, which for the first time, was conducted over the Internet "in another example of OPM supporting the president's e-government initiative," said Doris Hausser, senior policy adviser to the OPM director.

Agencies can use the survey results as a tool to help them improve their workforce management, Hausser said in a briefing with reporters. It's part of the president's "overall effort to promote strategic management of human capital," she said. "We certainly think it is what ought to be No. 1 on everybody's agenda."

Also, the survey results will provide OPM with fodder for future policies that target areas needing attention.

The good news, Hausser said, is that "we've got a workforce focused on a mission; they're not adrift, not lost." For instance:

* 91 percent believe they do important work.

* 81 percent believe they produce high-quality work.

* 80 percent say people cooperate to get the job done.

* 68 percent say they are satisfied with their jobs.

The government also scored well when it came to pay and benefits, with 64 percent of employees saying they are satisfied with their basic pay and two-thirds expressing satisfaction with their retirement benefits.

However, some results raised a red flag. Thirty-five percent of employees said they are considering leaving their agencies, with 16 percent planning to retire in the next three years. Also, only 39 percent believe their agencies are able to recruit people with the right skills.

Performance management and leadership are other areas that need attention, Hausser said. Fewer than half believe that awards depend on how well employees do their jobs. "We need to pay attention to how we reward performance," she said. Only 36 percent agree that their leaders generate "high levels of motivation and commitment," and 43 percent hold their leaders in high regard. "That gives you pause," she said.

A department-by-department breakdown of the survey results will be available at www.fhcs.opm.gov. However, specific results for agencies or bureaus will not be publicly available.

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