Senior Execs Face Pressure to Boost Employee Engagement

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As part of the president’s management agenda, senior executives beginning next year may see their performance reviews affected by their agency’s employee engagement scores in the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

According to a draft memo obtained and reported Tuesday by Federal News Radio, greater use of the survey scores will help fulfill President Obama’s cross-agency priority goal involving “people and culture.” The proposal is designed to boost "federal workforce engagement in order to achieve greater outcomes for the public and ensure federal employees work in productive environments," the memo said.

Specifically, the administration’s goal is to raise employee engagement scores to 67 percent by 2016—in the 2013 survey, that score actually dropped a point to 63.

“The focus on the 15-question employee Engagement Index is based on strong evidence that engagement is correlated with mission performance,” said the memo, written in cooperation with the Office of Personnel Management and the Presidential Personnel Office. “For example, one Gallup study found that engaged private sector organizations have 3.9 times the earnings per share growth rate compared to organizations with lower engagement in their same industry…This goal for federal agencies can only be met if we use the feedback from employees to inform actions by each leader, manager and supervisor, and empower supervisors at unit levels to improve employee engagement locally.”

OMB Deputy Director for Management Beth Cobert sees the memo as “a genuine opportunity," she said at a recent meeting of the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations, according to Federal News Radio. The survey, she said, "is only valuable when people use it."

The memo tasks agencies with tracking their progress on engagement four times a year using the OPM data review process called HRStat.

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