Feds and Their Managers Aren’t Seeing Eye-to-Eye on Much, Including Promotions

iodrakon/Shutterstock.com

Federal employees have significantly more negative views of many areas of their workplaces than their managers do, according to a new report.

The Partnership for Public Service, in conjunction with the consultancy Deloitte, analyzed data from the 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and found in several key metrics, rank-and-file workers gave worse reviews of leadership than the leaders themselves. The assessment gaps will likely make it harder for agencies to improve employee morale, PPS said.

On a governmentwide level, employees expressed the most significantly different views from their managers on the issue of promotions. Just 26 percent of staff-level federal workers gave a positive response when asked if promotions were based on merit, while nearly half of managers said they were. Large divides also showed up on issues such as supervisors allowing individuals to demonstrate their leadership skills, and retribution against employees for partisan political purposes.

Managers also felt they were fairly rewarded for good work at a much higher rate than their employees.  Here’s a PPS chart showing the areas with the largest disparities:

Some agencies maintained better alignment between staff and managers than others. Supervisors and employees at the Commerce, Agriculture and State departments expressed the most similar views. State and Commerce previously ranked among the top five large agencies on PPS’ best places to work analysis.  

The correlation did not hold up in all cases; the Federal Trade Commission was a top-five mid-size agency, but had below average alignment. In other examples, however, poorly ranked agencies such as the National Archives and Records Administration and the Housing and Urban Development Department had little correlation between managers’ and employees’ evaluations.

The issues in which staff and supervisors most closely aligned generally involved self-assessment, such as the knowledge of the workforce and “the work I do is important.” The two groups also agreed supervisors support the need for work-life balance.

Employees gave more positive responses on only two questions, PPS found. More employees felt their workloads were reasonable and they had the resources to get the job done than their managers. This likely reflects that managers “are feeling a great deal of stress in trying to accomplish their mission goals,” PPS said.  

Mitigating the disparity between employees' and managers’ assessments of each other and the state of their agencies relies primarily on communication, according to the Partnership. Brown bag lunches, anonymous online feedback portals and periodic messages from agency heads to recognize exceptional work can help eliminate the disconnect, the group advised. Senior executives should involve both managers and their employees when taking steps to improve the workplace, PPS said.

Overall, the 2013 employee viewpoint survey, administered annually by the Office of Personnel Management, showed the federal workforce’s pay and job satisfaction has plummeted.  

(Image via iodrakon/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
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.