How a new Partnership program helped one federal employee improve engagement at her agency
In 2020, the Partnership launched the Engagement Coordinator Collective, an eight-month program during which participants develop, design, execute and sustain employee engagement plans at federal agencies across government. Anita Gonzales-Evans, a program analyst at the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Trust Funds Administration, recently completed the program and spoke with us about why it was such a valuable experience.
What motivated you to apply to the Engagement Coordinator Collective?
Gonzales-Evans: I was encouraged by my supervisor to apply, and I wanted to support our current initiatives to improve engagement. I also wanted to use the program to construct a robust employee engagement framework that my organization could use to plan future initiatives.
What skills or knowledge have you developed?
Gonzales-Evans: I learned a lot about human-centered design, which has helped me understand the importance of focusing on the employee’s experience in the workplace. I have been able to apply what I learned to the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration and initiate the practice of considering employees first when making decisions that affect the workforce. Overall, the program has enabled me to help transform my bureau’s focus on employee engagement.
How has the Engagement Coordinator Collective helped you create change at your agency?
Gonzales-Evans: I completed the program only a month ago but have already used my new knowledge to promote employee interests and determine my bureau’s workforce needs. The program helped me better understand how to use Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey data to strengthen my organization. I have also built an action plan with a colleague to help introduce our team to human-centered design.
In addition, I helped develop the Executive Core Qualifications leadership program for GS-13 to GS-15 employees at my agency and am building a mentorship program that includes entry-level employees. The Engagement Coordinator Collective has helped improve my agency’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey scores and overall workplace culture, and equipped me with the skills and perspectives to speak out and ensure all employees are valued.
Why should agencies send engagement coordinators to this program?
Gonzales-Evans: The program has taught me how the workplace is changing and evolving. For an agency to build on its mission, it must find innovative ways to keep federal employees feeling valued, energized and engaged. This program can help make an agency one of the best places to work in the federal government.
Why would you recommend this program to a colleague?
Gonzales-Evans: This program provided me with a mindset to seriously focus on employee engagement and continuously learn about the evolving federal workplace. I enjoyed the constant conversation with the facilitator and colleagues from different agencies. The program provided a platform to build relationships across agencies with other people working on employee engagement.
Learn more about the Partnership’s employee engagement work, including our annual Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings and the Engagement Coordinator Collective.
This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.