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

The Growing Disconnect Between the SES and the Rest

ARCHIVES
Image via Denis Cristo/Shutterstock.com

For federal employees, effective leadership is the most important driver of employee satisfaction and commitment, yet they have consistently given leadership – and especially senior leaders –low marks in the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government ® rankings.

In new analysis of 2012 federal employee survey data, the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte examined the perspectives of the senior leaders themselves -- members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) who typically hold the highest managerial and policy positions in federal government to determine how satisfied they are with their jobs and workplaces, and how their perspectives vary from the employees they manage.

Government-wide, members of the SES are more positive than other employees, scoring 18.6 points higher on overall satisfaction and commitment than all other employees. It is not surprising that senior leaders are more satisfied because generally speaking, an organization’s leaders enjoy more autonomy and have more control over issues that affect them, but the differences are quite stark.

There was at least a 20-point gap between senior executives and other employees on four out of 10 workplace categories the Partnership and Deloitte rank in Best Places to Work, including performance based rewards and advancement, leadership, support for diversity and strategic management. There was an alarming 46.5-point gap on the survey question, “Promotions in my work unit are based on merit,” with close to 80 percent of senior executives agreeing with the statement in contrast to only 30 percent of all other employees. 

Senior executives and their employees were more aligned on issues such as pay and work/life balance, but those are also the two categories members of the SES gave the lowest marks to. On two of the questions in the work/life balance category, “My workload is reasonable,” and I have sufficient resources to get my job done,” employees were slightly more positive than senior executives. These were the only questions in the 84-question survey where SES members had a lower score than all other employees.

In specific agencies, members of the SES were most satisfied at the Department of the Navy, Department of State and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. At the other end of the spectrum, SES members were least satisfied at the Department of Commerce, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, including the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, Defense Agencies and Department of Defense field activities.

For a full list of agency rankings, visit www.ourpublicservice.org.

Lara Shane is Vice President for Research and Communications at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. This is the fifth 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 Mark Doboga at mdoboga@ourpublicservice.org.

Image via Denis Cristo/Shutterstock.com

Lara Shane is former vice president for research and communications at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

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