The 12 Best Very Small Agencies to Work For in Government

By Mark Doboga

March 20, 2013

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

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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

By Mark Doboga

March 20, 2013