A look at the Partnership’s 2022 research on the federal government
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A look at the Partnership’s 2022 research on the federal government

December 12, 2022

It has been a productive year for the Research, Evaluation and Modernizing Government Team at the Partnership for Public Service. Below, we offer a brief review of our work, which has reached new heights and audiences in 2022.

Building a better understanding of women’s leadership

The Partnership envisions a dynamic and innovative federal government led by public service leaders of integrity, and we believe those leaders should see themselves as responsible for the health of their organizations and serve as stewards of the public trust. In 2022, we launched the LeadHERship series to better understand how federal women leaders view themselves, as well as how they are viewed by their colleagues, direct reports and supervisors. We believe the findings are crucial to successfully addressing  barriers to greater representation of women leaders.

Shaping a talented workforce

To build a workforce for the future, the federal government must recruit, hire and retain diverse talent with the skills needed to meet the complex challenges facing our nation. This year, we sought to better understand the levels, drivers and effects of federal civil servants’ trust in government and to identify strategies for increasing that trust. We also highlighted strategies for retaining Gen X and Gen Z civil servants, who, respectively, are increasingly taking on senior leadership roles and represent the future of the federal workforce. 

Generating insightful customer experience research

We believe people deserve simple, consistent, purposeful and secure experiences with government. This year, we released our annual customer experience research report, which highlights the progress made thus far by the Biden administration and identifies actions that can be taken to enhance collaborative efforts to improve the government’s interactions with the public.

Promoting accessible and applied federal government data

Data and evidence can transform federal agencies, enabling them to identify what works, stop doing what doesn’t and improve important programs. This year we released our 2021 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings and data and Profiles In Improvement, which highlight best practices from agencies that improved in the areas of return to the office, recognition, work-life balance and senior leadership.

Our new Fed Figures analysis on attrition looked at the fiscal 2021 voluntary attrition rate government-wide and across various demographic group. Our Agency Performance Dashboard offered a snapshot of 24 federal agencies featuring topics such as personnel numbers, employee demographics, political appointments, employee engagement scores, information technology maturity and social media engagement. 

Finally, our work on federal digital maturity sought to better understand the current data and digital maturity of federal agencies and where they’d like to go in the future. Our research on the role of data and evidence provides agencies with critical building blocks for meeting the President’s Management Agenda’s goals.

Promoting peaceful presidential transitions and a better political appointments system

We want to see outgoing and incoming administrations, Congress, career executives and current and prospective political appointees working collaboratively to ensure a smooth transfer of power between administrations or a successful start for a new administration. In 2022, we maintained the political appointee tracker database in conjunction with the Washington Post and completed a thorough review of the 2020-21 Presidential Transition, including lessons learned and recommendations, and published another report on the privileged nomination rules in the Senate.

Understanding public views of the government

Americans’ lack of trust, understanding and connection with government is a profound barrier to our government’s ability to meet urgent needs, fully engage its citizens and generate support for necessary reforms. Our report examining those issues showed a majority of the public does not trust the federal government as a whole and believe it needs to be more transparent. However, the public has positive views of a number of key components, such as agencies and civil servants—a critical foundation for the Partnership and other good government champions to build on.

Helping government prepare for the future

The federal government’s inability to prepare itself for change means it often ends up lagging behind. In order to remain responsive to the needs of the people it serves, government leaders must think strategically about the future and prepare for the predictable and unpredictable changes underway. In addition to building our internal capacity to do futures work, we used foresight methodologies to help imagine different futures for Congress, ranging from the bleak to the hopeful.

What lies ahead

In 2023, we will continue to generate knowledge, tools and ideas that will empower government to better serve the public and tackle challenges as they arise. We’re looking forward to building on our core research areas and exploring new and pressing topics in the new year.

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