The Office of Personnel Management over the next two weeks will email the 2014 federal workforce survey to employees across government, soliciting feedback on compensation, morale and job satisfaction.
“Your input is more important than ever,” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said in a letter to employees. “You now have the opportunity to share your insights as a federal employee, on your job, on your organization and on your working conditions. The success of your agency depends on you, and when it comes to understanding what it’s like to work in your agency, you are the expert.”
Federal workers have until early June to complete the Employee Viewpoint Survey. Some results will be available in late August, with full results announced in the fall.
In 2013, 37 departments and large agencies, and 45 small, independent agencies participated in survey.
“I know how hard you work and how committed and unwavering the entire federal workforce is in its service to the American people despite the effects of sequestration, and the accompanying reduced agency budgets, furloughs, and the shutdown,” Archuleta said. “Our federal workforce has persevered and continues to work to meet agency missions.”
Job satisfaction among federal workers dropped nearly across the board in 2013 -- a year marked by furloughs, a pay freeze and proposals to reduce federal employee compensation, according to the most recent FEVS. The 2013 survey reflects the input of 376,577 federal workers. Just 44 percent of employees in the 2013 FEVS said they had sufficient resources to do their jobs, down from 48 percent last year and 50 percent in 2010.
While overall job satisfaction fell between 2012 and 2013, most notably with pay, officials always have noted that the survey is not just about satisfaction, but about how employees perceive how they are treated in the workplace and the level of commitment they feel to their jobs. More than 90 percent of participants in the 2013 survey reported a desire to put in extra effort, and said they are looking for ways to do their jobs better and view their work as important, according to OPM.
More employees were satisfied with telework in the 2013 survey, and said their supervisors treated them with respect than the previous year, making up the only two categories with an increase in positive responses from 2012.
In some ways, 2014 so far has been an improvement over last year, though it’s unclear whether that will be reflected in the upcoming survey. The three-year pay freeze on federal civilian workers was lifted, and sequestration, though still in effect, has been partially repealed for fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015. But because respondents provided feedback for the 2013 survey before October’s government shutdown, the 2014 FEVS could include more negative feedback. Many people inside and outside of government remain concerned over the morale of federal workers and the effect budget cuts, benefit reductions and negative political rhetoric have had on agencies’ ability to recruit and retain talented personnel.
Three Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, including Ranking Member Elijah Cummings of Maryland, asked the Government Accountability Office in March to determine why federal employee morale is low, assessing recruitment and retention, performance and productivity, the achievement of agency missions, how well OPM helps agencies improve employee engagement and lessons learned from agencies that have significantly improved employee engagement.