2014 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government Rankings Reveal Employee Satisfaction and Commitment at All Time Low
December 9, 2014
WASHINGTON – The nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service today released the 2014 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings, revealing yet another decline in federal employee satisfaction and commitment to a score of 56.9 out of 100, the lowest since the rankings were first published in 2003.
Produced by the Partnership and Deloitte, the Best Places to Work rankings provide critical information to help agencies, the Obama administration and Congress assess workplace health and performance. In addition to overall satisfaction and commitment, the rankings measure employee attitudes on ten workplace categories, including leadership, teamwork, strategic management and innovation.
This is the fourth straight year the government-wide score has decreased, dropping 8.1 points from a high of 65.0 in 2010. In contrast, private sector employee satisfaction improved by 1.3 points in 2014, for a score of 72.0, according to Hay Group, a technical partner.
“Federal employees have raised a number of important concerns that call out for federal leaders to take immediate action to improve government operations,” said Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president and CEO. “The Best Places to Work results also illustrate the need for fundamental management reforms across government to ensure that agencies can effectively meet the needs of the American people.”
For the ninth time in a row, the primary factor influencing federal employee satisfaction and commitment is effective leadership, and in particular, senior leadership. In 2014, senior leaders continued to receive low scores from employees as the government-wide rating dropped 3 points to 42.4, the lowest score for this group in the history of the rankings.
The Best Places to Work rankings include 389 federal agencies and subcomponents, which represent 97 percent of the federal executive branch workforce, as well as many agencies in the legislative branch. Organizations are ranked within one of four categories: large agency, mid-size agency, small agency and federal subcomponent. Rankings and scores are revealed for all agencies and subcomponents, from first to worst.
The top five large federal agencies are:
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- Department of Commerce
- Department of State
- Intelligence Community
- Department of Justice
The top five mid-size agencies:
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
- Government Accountability Office
- Smithsonian Institution
- Federal Trade Commission
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
The top five small agencies:
- Surface Transportation Board
- Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
- Peace Corps
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- Federal Labor Relations Authority
The top five agency subcomponents:
- Office of the General Counsel (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)
- Patent and Trademark Office (Commerce)
- Environment and Natural Resources Division (Justice)
- John C. Stennis Space Center (NASA)
- U.S. Army Audit Agency (Army)
In addition, agencies are ranked in 10 workplace categories, including effective leadership, pay, strategic management, training and development, innovation, employee skills–mission match, work–life balance and support for diversity. Agencies also are ranked by demographic groupings, including age, gender, race and ethnicity. The complete rankings are available at bestplacestowork.org.
The Partnership and Deloitte today will honor the five top-ranked Best Places to Work agencies in each grouping, as well as the most improved agencies and subcomponents. “These agencies should be proud of all they’ve accomplished,” said Janet Foutty, national managing director of Deloitte’s Federal Practice, “This is a difficult climate and their steady improvements will lead the way for other agencies.”
Agencies set to receive most improved awards include the Department of Labor, a large agency which raised its score by 3.1 points, enough to jump from 17th to 10th in the rankings. The Securities and Exchange Commission is the most improved mid-size agency, raising its score 4.9 points to 63.6 and ranked 13 out of 25. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is the most improved small agency, raising its score 19.1 points; its overall score is 45.9, placing it 25 out of 30 small agencies.
- Effective leadership is the key factor influencing overall satisfaction and commitment, followed by a match between agency mission and employee skills, and satisfaction with pay.
- In 2014, 43.1 percent of agencies and subcomponents increased their score, while 55.8 percent registered a decrease and 1.1 percent stayed the same, an improvement over 2013 when only 24 percent raised their scores.
- The Surface Transportation Board, a small agency, is the highest scoring independent agency with a rating of 86.8.
- The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, a small agency, is the lowest scoring agency of all 389, down 11.7 points, to 33.8 out of 100.
- Seven of the 10 workplace categories registered decreases, an improvement over 2013 when there were declines in all 10 categories. The largest decreases involved effective leadership, strategic management and teamwork. The categories that improved include employee satisfaction with pay and support for diversity.
- Employee satisfaction with pay is the largest category increase, up by 2.2 points to 52.5. Satisfaction with pay reached a high score of 63 in 2010, and dropped to a low of 50.3 in 2013.
- Employee satisfaction with performance-based rewards and advancement is at the bottom of the 10 categories, down 0.4 points to 40.8.
The Best Places to Work rankings are based on data from the Office of Personnel Management’s annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which was administered April through June 2014 to permanent executive branch employees. Additional survey data from eleven agencies plus the intelligence community are included in the results. This is the ninth edition of the Best Places to Work rankings; the first was produced in 2003.