The Homeland Security Department jumped 6.1 points in the the 2023 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, making it one of the biggest improvers of the year.

The Homeland Security Department jumped 6.1 points in the the 2023 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, making it one of the biggest improvers of the year. SOPA Images / Getty Images

Here are the agencies that saw the biggest shifts in employee morale in 2023

As the federal government regained its footing on employee engagement and job satisfaction, some agencies saw big swings in workplace sentiment.

The Office of Personnel Management on Friday published its report analyzing the results of the 2023 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey alongside a battery of agency-by-agency data stemming from the annual census of federal worker workplace sentiment.

Though the report itself for the most part serves to reinforce the conclusions borne out when OPM released preliminary survey data last month—that employee engagement and morale rebounded this year following two years of flat or declining scores—some surprises lie in the more granular data sets measuring morale by agency.

Only 18 agencies with at least 100 employees across the federal government saw declines in their employees’ reported job satisfaction, as measured by OPM’s Global Satisfaction Index. Government-wide, the measure ticked up two points out of 100 compared with last year, landing at 64 out of 100.

Among large and very large agencies, a couple of numbers stand out. First, the Homeland Security Department, which has struggled to foster positive morale since its inception more than two decades ago, saw a 6.1 point boost in 2023, bringing its global satisfaction score up to 60.2. And the Social Security Administration, which has been hamstrung by chronic underfunding and escalating workloads in recent years, came in last among large agencies at 51.6. That figure marks a 1.7-point decline since 2022.

The agency responsible for the most marked improvement in its workforce morale this year was the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, which shot up 9.6 points to 79.8 out of 100. Conversely, the Export-Import Bank saw employee morale decline 13.5 points, falling to 43.3 out of 100, good for worst in the federal government among agencies with at least 100 employees. That accounts for a decline of more than 30 points over the last two years.

Smaller agencies tend to see larger swings on a year-to-year basis, as fewer employees’ opinions need to change to significantly alter the average score. The 10 agencies with at least 100 employees who saw best improvement in global satisfaction compared with 2022 are:

  1. Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board: 9.6 point increase
  2. Consumer Product Safety Commission: 7.8 point increase
  3. National Indian Gaming Commission: 7.4 point increase
  4. National Labor Relations Board: 7 point increase
  5. Federal Trade Commission: 6.6 point increase
  6. National Credit Union Administration: 6.6 point increase
  7. Homeland Security Department: 6.1 point increase
  8. National Endowment for the Humanities: 5.8 point increase
  9. Railroad Retirement Board: 5.5 point increase
  10. Corporation for National and Community Service: 5.2 point increase

The 10 federal agencies that saw the worst declines in employee morale since last year are:

  1. Export-Import Bank: 13.5 point decrease
  2. Merit Systems Protection Board: 11 point decrease
  3. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation: 8.5 point decrease
  4. Federal Housing Finance Agency: 8 point decrease
  5. National Science Foundation: 5.8 point decrease
  6. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service: 5.6 point decrease
  7. Federal Maritime Commission: 3.9 point decrease
  8. Federal Election Commission: 3.6 point decrease
  9. Surface Transportation Board: 3 point decrease
  10. U.S. Agency for International Development: 2.1 point decrease