Workforce

Slight uptick in feds' morale, survey says

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Federal employees are a little bit happier with their jobs than they were a year ago.

The Office of Personnel Management released preliminary results from the 2016 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which showed a small governmentwide uptick in employees' job satisfaction for the second consecutive year.

The agency-level results of the voluntary survey conducted from April to June represent "a snapshot in time of employee opinions" on job satisfaction and leadership of individual agencies, said OPM acting director Beth Cobert in a conference call with reporters.

OPM released the agency-level results of three indices: employee engagement, which measures employee feelings about their job, organization and pay; global satisfaction, which measures satisfaction with leaders and intrinsic work experience; and "New IQ," a measure of inclusion.

OPM found that for 2016, the employee engagement score was 65 percent, the global satisfaction score was 61 percent and the New IQ was 58 percent. Each represents a 1-percentage-point bump from last year's results, which OPM regards as statistically significant.

However, government-wide survey participation declined from 421,748 responses across 82 agencies in 2015 to 407,789 responses across 80 agencies in 2016, a drop from 50 percent to 45.8 percent.

In 2014, the White House had set a top-line goal of achieving a 67 percent mark on employee engagement by 2016. Despite falling short of this figure, "we are pleased we have turned the tide," said Cobert.

Though agency-specific results were not released, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson revealed that his agency, which finished last in terms of engagement and satisfaction among large agencies in 2015, notched a 3- percentage-point boost in employee engagement after six straight years of decline.

Johnson credited this reversal to an "aggressive campaign to improve morale" across the 232,000-person department, and noted DHS experienced a 3-percentage-point increase in survey participation as well.

"This FEVS data provides agency leaders with valuable information they can use to evaluate current procedures, while encouraging their front-line supervisors to further engage and mentor their employees," said Cobert.

OPM said it plans to release more detailed survey results in October.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a former FCW staff writer.

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