DHS promises to make its workers happier

Senior officials at the Homeland Security Department are concerned about low morale and worker dissatisfaction with agency policies and procedure, according to memo sent to employees this week.

The memo was a response to the results of the Office of Personnel Management's 2006 Federal Human Capital Survey, which found DHS’ 10,400 employees ranked among the least satisfied in the federal government.

Agency-by-agency results in the survey were split into four categories, and DHS performed poorly in all of them. The department ranked last in job satisfaction and results-oriented performance, second to last in trust of leadership, and fourth to last in how workers feel the agency manages its staff. DHS had similarly low rankings in the 2004 survey.

Deputy DHS Secretary and Chief Operating Officer Michael Jackson called the results a “clear and jolting message” that management needs to work with employees to improve job satisfaction.

“What you said shows that DHS is not where any of us want to be,” Jackson wrote in the memo. He noted that DHS ranked low in terms of management and leadership as well as being recognized for its work.

The Chief Human Capital Office is working with DHS' Undersecretary for Management Paul Schneider to form a working group specifically to improve worker morale. The first item on the group's agenda is breaking down the data by internal departments to see how organizations like the Transport Security Administration stack up to the Customs and Border Protection agency.

DHS management officials are also interested in what best practices can be gleaned from agencies that ranked highly in the survey.

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