Feds more satisfied, engaged for 2nd straight year

Federal employees are more engaged and more satisfied for the second year in a row, according to the Office of Personnel Management's annual survey of employees governmentwide.
(Getty Images)

Federal employees are more engaged and more satisfied for the second year in a row, according to the Office of Personnel Management’s annual survey of employees governmentwide.

The government as a whole saw one point increases in both categories — scoring 61 percent for global satisfaction and 65 percent in employee engagement — after experiencing a four-year downturn prior to 2015.

OPM’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey is an important tool for agency managers to gauge to mindset of their workforce and improve their recruitment strategies for positions that are typically seen as less attractive than those in the private sector.

“This FEVS data provides agency leaders with valuable information they can use to evaluate current procedures, while encouraging their front-line supervisors to further engage and mentor their employees,” OPM acting Director Beth Cobert said in a release. “We know that employee engagement drives performance and engaged and motivated employees are essential to the health of the Federal workforce.”


OPM released the initial two data sets on its website, a data visualization dashboard for the annual survey’s results. OPM will release more data from the survey later this fall.

A standout in this year’s survey because of such poor results in past years, the Department of Homeland Security saw a three point jump to 56 percent in employee engagement after six straight years of decline.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said that swing back in the right direction has a lot to do with his employees’ dedication to the department’s mission of protecting the nation from outside threats.

“I am incredibly proud and pleased at this year’s FEVS results, but there is something more important to know: Year after year our employees continually tell us in surveys that they understand the importance of their homeland security mission and are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done,” Johnson said. “This week, for example, thousands of our personnel are working overtime for the security of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. This week and every week, our people protect the American people and their homeland, in the air, on land, at sea, and in cyberspace.”

Though DHS’ improvement was “the largest increase of any cabinet department our size,” Johnson said, it still falls below the government average and far behind governmentwide standouts, like the Federal Trade Commission (82 percent), NASA (80 percent), and the Office of Management and Budget (78 percent), who lead large agencies in the engagement category.


For global satisfaction, OMB (79 percent), NASA (78 percent), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (77 percent) lead large agencies.

Small agencies tend to score better in employee engagement and satisfaction, likely because of the less bureaucratic nature of their organizations. Employees at the Marine Mammal Commission absolutely love their jobs (96 percent) and are very engaged (92 percent). The same can be said for those at the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, which received ratings of 87 percent and 90 percent for satisfaction and engagement, respectively.

Billy Mitchell

Written by Billy Mitchell

Billy Mitchell is Senior Vice President and Executive Editor of Scoop News Group's editorial brands. He oversees operations, strategy and growth of SNG's award-winning tech publications, FedScoop, StateScoop, CyberScoop, EdScoop and DefenseScoop. After earning his degree at Virginia Tech and winning the school's Excellence in Print Journalism award, Billy received his master's degree from New York University in magazine writing.

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