It's a great place to work ... if we ever hired anyone

Shutterstock image: workforce organization chart.

Six in 10 federal employees would recommend their agency as a good place to work. But less than 40 percent feel their agency does a good job attracting the right talent, and even fewer -- just 31.1 percent -- see opportunities to advance themselves.

Those findings come from the Partnership for Public Service's latest report on "Improving the Employee Experience" -- an analysis, done in partnership with Deloitte, of the 2014 data from the Office of Personnel Management's Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and the Partnerships "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" project.

The new report also digs into agency employees' views on training, professional development and recognition received for work well done. While satisfaction varied from topic to topic -- feds were much happier with their supervisors' feedback and the way their talents are used than with the training or recognition they receive -- scores across the board show a slow but steady decline over the past four to five years.

Mallory Bulman, the Partnership’s managing editor of research, told FCW that sequestration and the budget pressures of recent years may explain the low marks when it comes to recruiting and advancement opportunities. "Hiring and promotion opportunities have been really limited," she said. Agencies will be receiving their 2015 FEVS scores in a few weeks, she noted, and "I'll really be interested to see if it'll be loosening up."

Bulman was quick to say that all the scores have significant room for improvement -- "I would never claim to think that 50 percent is a good score," she said -- but she also saw encouraging aspects to the data. 

"Employees are saying that they want more" from government jobs, she said. "They want to be managed better, they want to be recruited better ... they want to see more clear opportunities and succession planning."

Clearly, Bulman said, "we're not there yet." But she noted that many of the actions recommended in the new report "are not contingent on senior leaders. These are things that direct supervisors can do ... to improve the experience."

That direct applicability, she said, means that any agency interested in improving can take steps without waiting for a mandate from the secretary or administrator's office. And one of the reasons the Partnership shares the governmentwide scores, she said, is to help agencies see how they compare.

"I think there's really an opportunity to see how their agency is changing," Bulman said, "and how their agency is growing."

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of, Schneider also helped launch the political site in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times,, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.


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