Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

The 12 Best Very Small Agencies to Work For in Government

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ranked 12th on the list, with a low index score of 39.4 The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ranked 12th on the list, with a low index score of 39.4 Image via spirit of america/

There are a number of federal agencies with fewer than 100 employees, many of which are not widely known. But for their employees, their jobs and work environment are just as important as it is for those who spend their days serving the public at the huge departments like defense and veterans affairs.

For the second year in a row, the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings produced by the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte included job satisfaction and commitment scores for these very small agencies. They range in size from the National Capital Planning Commission, which has only 36 employees, to the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which has 89 employees.

In 2012, the Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation topped the very small agency list with a Best Places to Work job satisfaction and commitment score of 90.1 on a scale of 100. Its mission is to assist Hopi and Navajo Indians impacted by the relocation that Congress mandated in 1974 for members of the tribes who were living on each other’s land.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency, which advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle income countries, ranked second with a score of 79.5 out of 100.

Here is the full list and Best Places to Work scores for the very small federal agencies with fewer than 100 permanent full-time employees.



2012 Index Score


Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation



U.S. Trade and Development Agency



Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board



Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission



National Capital Planning Commission



Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars



Office of Government Ethics



Postal Regulatory Commission



Institute of Museum and Library Services



Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board



National Indian Gaming Commission



John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts


The Best Places to Work rankings are based on data from the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) 2012 annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, and additional survey data from nine agencies plus the intelligence community.

The rankings include 362 federal agencies and subcomponents. Agencies with more than 15,000 full-time permanent employees are classified as “large,” those with 1,000 to 14,999 employees are considered “mid-size,” and any agency of 100 to 999 employees is classified as “small.” Agency subcomponents are also ranked.

The government-wide Best Places to Work rankings provide valuable insights into how employees view their jobs and workplaces. The data helps alert leaders to signs of discontentment in the workplace and provide a roadmap to help improve organizational performance.

The number one large Best Places to Work agency was the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In the mid-sized rankings, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took top honors, while the top-ranked small agency was the Surface Transportation Board.  

For more detailed information, go to

Image via spirit of america/

Mark Doboga is Director of Government Transformation and Agency Partnerships at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. This is the third article in a series on the 2012 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings. For information on how to improve employee satisfaction and commitment at your agency and to request a senior leadership briefing on your agency’s Best Places to Work results contact Doboga at

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.