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
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

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