Top personnel officials of the Obama administration have issued a joint memo telling agencies to ramp up their efforts to get their employees more engaged in their work, a concern raised in numerous reports and employee survey data of recent years.

“Employee engagement is the employees’ sense of purpose that is evident in their display of dedication, persistence, and effort in their work and overall attachment to their organization and its mission. Engaging employees and removing the burdensome barriers that make it difficult for them to accomplish their vast and complex tasks will directly have a positive impact on citizens and help rebuild trust in our federal government,” says the memo from the White House personnel office and the heads of OPM and OMB.

“We believe that employee engagement is a leading indicator of performance and should be a focus for all levels of an agency – from the front line employee to the agency head. Employee engagement is not only a Human Resources function, but a cross-cutting leadership effort that is directly tied to mission success,” it said.

The memo notes that OPM has increased the data available from the Employee Viewpoint Survey and launched the UnlockTalent.gov dashboard.

Some agencies including Education, Transportation, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and FLRA, already have improved their engagement scores significantly, it adds, saying the new guidance will help “institutionalize a focus on improving employee engagement and mission performance.”