Mediation Service Tops Best Small Agencies to Work in Washington

Partnership for Public Service releases revised rankings after extra data from OPM.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service took the top prize among small agencies as a best place to work in the federal government, according to newly updated rankings released Friday by the Partnership for Public Service.

Every year, the Partnership analyzes the results of the Office of Personnel Management’s annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, applying a weighted formula to three questions that the group considers most predictive of whether an employee will remain at an agency. Those questions are: “I recommend my organization as a good place to work;” “Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job;” and “Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your organization?”

Rounding out the top five small agencies in the updated rankings (“Best Places to Work in the Federal Government”) are the U.S. International Trade Commission, the Farm Credit Administration, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

The Partnership initially refrained from ranking small agencies, because OPM had withheld data on all agencies that saw 50 to 300 employees respond to the FEVS, based on privacy concerns. The agency eventually reversed its decision, but the Partnership argued at the time that officials shift from a survey format, where only some employees are approached to respond, to a census format that engages all feds to assuage privacy worries.

Although they finished outside of the top five, several small agencies made marked improvement over their 2016 scores. The Millenium Challenge Corporation increased 13.8 points, reaching 73.8 on a 100-point scale. The Federal Election Commission improved by 11.4 points, although its engagement score still sits at 39.8. And the Corporation for National and Community Service increased its score by 9.3 points, settling at 72.9 for 2017.

Small agencies typically see more volatile changes in their scores from year to year, as a function of their size. On the other end of the spectrum, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board dropped 15 points from 2016, landing at 38.6. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which administers the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement savings plan, dropped 12.4 points, and the Selective Service System fell 10.7 points compared with 2016.