(Washington, DC) – The results from the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) are in. And they’re not good.
The FEVS is commissioned by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Sent out whenever OPM feels like it, the FEVS accepts input from current Federal employees and ranks their concerns and opinions about their jobs, their office space, their colleagues, their supervisors, and their agency as a whole.
The numbers for about half of the 77 questions are down from the 2013 FEVS. Perhaps most troubling: the continuation of a severe communication problem between senior leaders and employees.
“We’d love to comment on it,” said a senior leader at an anonymous Federal agency, speaking on condition of anonymity, “but it looks like we never got the word from the underlings – I mean, employees – that we’d be asked about this. Go figure.”
Understandably, these are not the best times for Federal employees. Their morale has significantly dropped in the past five years. Starting with a multi-year pay freeze, employees also had to deal with the October 2013 Federal government shutdown. Still other employees were ordered to take multiple furlough days to help their respective agencies cut costs. And a series of scandals have plagued multiple agencies, which isn’t helping the image of the typical Federal employee.
“Add in a Congress which seems openly hostile to ‘lazy’ and ‘non-essential’ government employees, and you have a recipe for the eradication of any morale within the Federal government,” said a spokesman for OPM, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Predictably, many Federal agencies are trying to put their best spin on the dismal report. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which came in third, posted a glowing story on its blog the same day the FEVS was released:
- “The NRC also remains above the government-wide average in all categories – with the largest increases over last year in favorable responses centering on training and our ability to recruit the right people with the right skills … “
- “We saw an increase this past year in pay and job satisfaction along with significant progress in the area of talent management … “
- “The rest of our scores either stayed the same or improved … “
But OPM, apparently angry and appalled at the latest results, rained on NRC’s parade while warning other agencies that this is no time to celebrate.
“The only reason NRC scored so high is because employees at most other Federal agencies are too demoralized to even consider filling out the FEVS,” said a spokesman for OPM, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The 2014 FEVS is the first survey to allow free-form feedback from participants. After combing through and weeding out all suggestions that were deemed to be anatomically impossible, a smattering of comments appear below:
|Agency||2014 FEVS Ranking||Suggestion||Employee Comments|
|NASA||1||Working for this agency is a blast!||“We’re number one again!” exclaimed a NASA employee, speaking on condition of anonymity. “And we’re going to stay there. Our agency is out of this world!”|
|DOS||10||This agency “clearly” has some work to do.||“First it was Hillary Clinton,” said a DOS employee, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Now it’s John Kerry. If I hear them explain something using the word ‘clear’ again, I’m going to make use of my Violence in the Workplace training!”|
|CDC (DHHS)||16||[CDC Director] Thomas Frieden’s leadership has been non-existent. We feel rudderless.||“Director Frieden should be subjected to wearing a CDC-approved biohazard suit – for 24 hours,” said a CDC employee, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Let him see how uncomfortably hot and suffocating it is. Then maybe he’ll change his mind about making them mandatory.”|
|DOT||25||It’s time for the rubber to hit the road.||“We all feel like a piece of road kill on a highway,” said a DOT employee, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We’re underfunded. America’s roads and bridges are falling apart. Congress doesn’t care. Americans hate us. So we need new leadership to get things moving.”|
|VA||33||We’re doing “better” but we never should have been doing poorly!||“We may be underfunded,” said a VA employee, speaking on condition of anonymity, “but we’re tasked with taking care of the country’s veterans. How anyone could allow such poor treatment of veterans is indefensible. Yes, we’re doing better, but that’s because we had nowhere to go but up.”|
|DHS||37||We may be at the bottom of the list, but we’re the biggest agency!||“More people in an agency means more complaints,” said a DHS spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We will address all of the FEVS issues, from communication to leadership – but when we want to, not before.”|