Employees report more respect for managers than senior leaders

Federal employees tend to think more highly of their immediate supervisors than they do of their agencies' top leaders, according to the results of a survey released Wednesday.

Sixty-six percent of employees responding to the survey answered positively about their immediate supervisor's performance. That dropped to 49 percent when employees were asked about respect for senior leadership.

A similar pattern emerged in 2004, the last time the survey was conducted. Federal employees' job satisfaction also was largely the same as it was two years ago, after a bigger jump between 2002 and 2004.

More than 220,000 federal employees chimed in about their jobs in the Federal Human Capital Survey, the results of which were released by the Office of Personnel Management. Initial results from 73 survey questions are available online. Agency-specific findings will be released Jan. 30.

Employees from 88 agencies were given statements about the federal workforce and asked to rate their reaction on a five-point scale, with options ranging from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree."

Most findings changed by only 1 percentage point since 2004, and the survey has a 1 percent margin of error. One of the biggest changes was a 3-point jump in the percentage of employees who say creativity and innovation are rewarded, from 36 percent to 39 percent.

One of the highest scorers on the survey was a 90 percent positive response to the statement, "The work I do is important." Eighty-three percent of respondents said they liked the kind of work they do.

Responses were more mixed for outside factors affecting job performance. About 48 percent of respondents said they have enough resources to get their job done and 44 percent said their work unit is able to recruit people with the right skills.

In the area of benefits, employees reported satisfaction with the amount of time off they get. Eighty-eight percent were satisfied with the government's paid vacation benefit and 86 percent were satisfied with sick leave. The percentages went down in other areas, though. About 58 percent of employees were satisfied with health insurance and 61 percent with their retirement package.

Beginning this year, employees will be surveyed annually rather than every two years. The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service uses the results to put out a "Best Places to Work" ranking to guide job-seekers into public service.

The Homeland Security Department, still very new in 2004, ranked second to last in the Partnership's ratings that year. National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley said the survey was useful, but she did not see DHS take measures to correct weaknesses identified in the last round.

OPM officials said they rushed to get the latest results out quickly, but need the extra two weeks to complete agency-specific results.

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