Agencies don't reward innovation, feds say

Most federal employees are trying to find ways to do their jobs better, but only a minority think their agencies care, according to a new survey.

The “innovation snapshot” concludes that although nine out of 10 federal employees are seeking ways to better perform their jobs, only about four out of 10 believe innovation and creativity are rewarded.

According to the sponsor of the study, the Partnership for Public Service, the results suggest that “federal workers are motivated to drive change through creativity, but need stronger support from their organizations and leaders to do so.”

PPS created “innovation scores” based on the percentage of federal employees who responded positively to what the group identified as three innovation-related questions contained in the 2010 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey conducted by the Office of Personnel Management.

Respondents had been asked to respond to the statements “I am constantly looking for ways to do my job better,” “I feel encouraged to come up with new and better ways of doing things,” and “Creativity and innovation are rewarded.”

The group’s analysis of the responses showed that although 91 percent of employees are looking for ways to perform their jobs better, only 39 percent believe innovation and creativity are rewarded.

When broken down by agency, the top five large organizations for innovation were NASA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the General Services Administration, the State Department, and the Army.

PPS noted that NASA and the NRC also were among the five highest-ranking agencies on the Partnership’s annual Best Places to Work in the Federal Government list.

Among the agencies ranking near the bottom of the innovation list were the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security, and Transportation departments; and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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