We the Partnership

Future of Government Service Survey: How do your views compare with other federal executives?

July 13, 2020

By David E. Lewis and Mark D. Richardson

To build a full picture of the future of the public service, we need to know its current state—where things are going well or improving and where they are going poorly. The 2020 Future of Government Service Survey helps us do just that.

The ongoing pandemic and economic crisis has focused public attention on the federal government, making this information especially important now. Discussions about the future of the public service and how to strengthen the federal government must be informed by the right data—and there’s no better source than our current federal executives.

Created by the Partnership for Public Service and scholars at Georgetown, Princeton and Vanderbilt, the Future of Government Service Survey asks 20,000 of the most senior appointed and career executives about their experiences and views of the federal government. The survey also aims to discover the most pressing challenges facing federal agencies today.

Why another survey?

In September, the Office of Personnel Management will launch the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. The strength of the FEVS is its stability, asking the same questions year after year, making it a bedrock of personnel management since the early 2000s. While the Future of Government Service Survey asks questions about persistent management concerns such as recruitment and retention, we are also gathering essential data the FEVS cannot, and was never designed to collect, such as:

  • Workforce stressors (e.g., the coronavirus, the shutdown, the presidential transition).
  • Drivers of innovation.
  • Investments in long term capacity.
  • Political environment of agency management.

The survey also includes questions that enable us to benchmark federal executives’ responses to those of executives in comparable positions in organizations outside the government. Pretty neat, right?

The Partnership, our colleagues from government, the National Academy of Public Administration, the Senior Executives Association and the Volcker Alliance will use the results to inform their ongoing work to improve the federal government.

So if you’re wondering whether the Future of Government Service Survey is worth your time, our answer is an emphatic yes! We hope you’ll take survey if you’re contacted, and that you’ll encourage others to do the same.

Check out the survey website for more information. Learn more about the Partnership’s work and how it relates to the Future of government Service Survey.

David E. Lewis is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor at Vanderbilt University and author of “The Politics of Presidential Appointments.” He can be reached at [email protected].

Mark D. Richardson is Assistant Professor of Government at Georgetown University. He has written broadly on American politics, policy and the federal workforce. He can be reached at [email protected].