OPM targets improved job satisfaction scores
- By Chase Gunter
- Oct 05, 2018
The Office of Personnel Management is targeting low employee performance and engagement scores within agencies and setting milestones for action.
OPM director Jeff Pon issued a memo Oct. 4 to agency chief human capital officers to boost their scores in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, specifically by directing agencies to improve scores from the lowest scoring work units and to standardize the dissemination of FEVS data to all organizational levels.
The Employee Engagement Index on the FEVS consists of 15 questions across three subcategories: leaders lead, supervisors and intrinsic work experience.
To do so, agencies should develop action plans to improve the "bottom 20 percent of the lowest scoring work units" -- namely those with "30 or more respondents to maximize the meaningfulness of impact" -- by 20 percent over 2018 scores by the end of 2020.
In accompanying guidance, OPM notes that if 35 percent or more employees answered a survey item unfavorably, "then that is an area that needs improvement." It also suggests agencies compare their scores to government overall, and if a score falls below the governmentwide average, "you may want to focus attention on it in the feedback and action planning meeting."
The guidance also directs agency managers to look for patterns in survey results and to make judgments based on which areas are priorities, relate to strategic goals or responses that are unclear. OPM also wants managers to dig deeper into employee sentiment -- to "probe for what lies behind the survey results" -- because "results do not explain why employees respond to questions as they do, and the reasons will not always be clear as you analyze the results."
Within six weeks, agencies should submit a list of work units by component to OPM that includes the department, agency or component, the work unit name, as well as the current employee engagement scores. OPM states it will request updates in six months with subsequent requests to follow early next year.
Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.
Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.
Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.
Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter