Jordan LaPier
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Incoming Political Leaders Need to Make Employee Engagement a Top Priority

February 21, 2017

WASHINGTON –The nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service today released the 2016 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government ® rankings by five mission areas: public health, law enforcement and border protection, national security, energy and environment, and infrastructure, which refers to agencies that ensure the nation has safe, reliable, and modern roads, bridges, water systems, rail lines and power grids.

This year’s mission areas not only represent critical challenges faced by the country, but reflect some of the priorities of the Trump administration and the 115th Congress.

The Best Places to Work rankings, produced by the Partnership and Deloitte, provide vital information to help federal agencies, the White House and Congress assess federal employee engagement. The level of engagement by federal employees can be important factors in how well they perform and whether agencies can effectively accomplish their goals and effectively serve the public interest.

For a second year in a row, the Partnership and Deloitte expanded on the traditional Best Places to Work rankings of large, mid-size, small and agency subcomponents by grouping 69 federal organizations into mission areas. The purpose of ranking by mission area is to examine agencies that have similar responsibilities and employ workers with comparable occupations to see if there are commonalities or discrepancies in employee engagement.

“Our federal government faces many critical challenges, from protecting national security, public health and the environment to rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, managing immigration and ensuring energy independence,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service. “This data will allow the incoming leadership teams to learn from one another and gain insights about how they can better meet the needs of their workers and ultimately the American public.”

The 2016 data show wide disparities among agencies within each mission area. The U.S. Coast Guard, for example, tops the law enforcement and border protection category with a Best Places to Work employee engagement score of 71.1 out of 100, while the Secret Service is at the bottom with a score of 32.8.

Among energy and environment agencies, there is a 32.1-point gap between the top-scoring Environment and Natural Resources Division at the Department of Justice and the last agency in this category, the National Park Service. In fact, in no instance is the gap between the top and bottom-ranked agency in a mission area smaller than 21 points.

The rankings are available online at

Each of the five mission groups was reviewed by independent experts with each agency belonging to only one group on the list. Inclusion in one of the mission groups is dependent on the agency’s participation in the overall Best Places to Work rankings.

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 2016 to permanent executive branch employees. Additional employee survey data from 12 agencies including the intelligence community are included in the results.

The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings offer the most comprehensive assessment of how federal public servants view their jobs and workplaces, providing insights into worker engagement on issues ranging from leadership and pay to innovation and work–life balance. Employee engagement refers to the satisfaction and commitment of the workforce and the willingness of employees to put forth discretionary effort to achieve results.

For 15 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to making the federal government more effective for the American people. We work across administrations to help transform the way government operates by increasing collaboration, accountability, efficiency and innovation. Visit to learn more.

Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 6,000 private and middle market companies. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors to deliver measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to make their most challenging business decisions with confidence, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society. In the federal government space, more than 8,000 Deloitte professionals are dedicated to serving federal clients with wide-ranging missions. Deloitte applies a mix of private-sector insights and public-sector experience to help federal agencies rethink, reduce and restructure — from day-to-day operations to large-scale transformations. To learn more, visit