Yesterday, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released the results of the 2018 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), which was conducted in the spring for all full-time, part-time, permanent, and non-seasonal employees. The FEVS participation rate dropped to 40.6 percent from 46 percent in 2017, with only 41 percent of respondents reporting that they believe the results will be used to make their agency a better place to work. Of the respondents, 40 percent were in pay grades 13–15, while they make up only 26 percent of the workforce, 66 percent of those who responded to the survey were non-supervisors, while non-supervisors make up 85 percent of the workforce.
Specifically, the findings show that federal employees:
- Are willing to put in extra effort to get their job done (96%);
- Are looking for ways to do their jobs better (91%);
- Know how their work relates to agency goals (85%);
- Believe their work is important (90%); and
- Believe that they produce high-quality work in their work unit (84%).
However, in terms of how managers deal with performance and rewards, non-supervisory employees report the following:
- Only 28% believe that, in their work unit, steps are taken to deal with a poor performer who cannot or will not improve;
- Only 25% believe that pay raises depend upon how well employees perform their jobs;
- Only 34% believe that promotions in their work unit are based on merit;
- Only 42% believe that awards in their work unit depend upon how well employees perform their jobs; and
- Only 34% believe that differences in performance in their work unit are recognized in a meaningful way.
On the topic of senior agency leaders, only 46 percent of respondents said that they were satisfied with the policies and practices of senior leaders and only 44 percent agreed that senior leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce.
Taken together these results show that employees are not satisfied with their pay. Some of which is likely due to the years of pay freezes, the proposed one for 2019, as well as more recent small pay increases. Additionally, the survey reflects that many employees believe that managers do not properly or fairly manage their workforce, and that senior leaders continue to fail to motivate the workforce.
This is just another example of how proposals to cut pay and benefits and agency funding, which further strains employee and manager training, are shortsighted and can drive away the very workers the government needs to retain and reward.
For more information, please visit OPM’s 2018 government-wide management results.