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The Five Agencies Where Morale is Dropping the Most

The federal workforce isn't particularly happy overall, but these agencies have seen the biggest declines.

Morale in the federal workforce is not great right now.

For the past several years , data from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey have demonstrated that. And at the micro, agency-by-agency level, things do not look much better.

No large agency of the 37 with at least 1,000 employees has improved upon its 2010 “global satisfaction” rating. Not one.

The National Credit Union Administration -- at 68 percent positive -- and the Education Department -- at 62 percent positive -- stayed even over the last five years. The Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Personnel Management, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dropped off by just 1 percent since 2010.

All other agencies have seen mostly steady decreases in satisfaction scores, and across the board their employees are less happy today than they were five years ago.

Here are the five agencies that have seen the biggest drop offs in satisfaction since 2010:

1) Homeland Security Department - 14 percent drop

2) Environmental Protection Agency - 12 percent drop

3) Housing and Urban Development Department - 12 percent drop

4) Court Services and Offender Supervisory Agency - 12 percent drop

5) Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation - 11 percent drop

DHS spokeswoman Marsha Catron called the agency’s workforce its “greatest resource,” and said the scope of the department’s work is “uniquely diverse and challenging.” She said Secretary Jeh Johnson and Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas are committed to improving “professional fulfillment.”

Since taking office nine months ago, the two agency leaders have “focused on continuing to improve employee engagement through enhanced communication and training, employee recognition and strengthening the skills of employees at every level,” Catron said. She added, “A great deal of work is ongoing and there is much more to be done.”

In May, DHS established the Employee Engagement Steering Committee to help identify ways to improve morale.

Leonard Sipes, a spokesman for the Court Services and Offender Supervisory Agency, which oversees ex-criminal offenders exclusively in Washington, D.C., said the trend was attributable to the overall mood of government employees.

“There’s a lot that’s going on with morale,” Sipes said. “I’m not quite sure our experience is different than what is going on across government.” He added CSOSA is spending “a lot of time and a lot of hours” to improve.

So what is going on across government? In eight separate FEVS areas, positive responses have dropped off by 7 percent since 2011. They are:

  • I recommend my organization as a good place to work
  • I believe the results of this survey will be used to make my agency a better place to work
  • In my organization, senior leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce
  • My organization’s senior leaders maintain high standards of honesty and integrity
  • I have a high level of respect for my organization’s senior leaders
  • How satisfied are you with your opportunity to get a better job in your organization?
  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job?
  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your organization?

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