Fedweek

This year’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey will be sent out soon, OPM has said, with some employees receiving a new variant version of the questionnaire on the government as an employer.

The FEVS is the main annual polling of the federal workplace, whose results if positive are touted by agencies in their recruiting and other messaging–and if negative typically trigger initiatives aimed at improving the score. Results also are watched by Capitol Hill and form the backbone of a widely publicized ranking of best places in government to work compiled by a good-government group.

The survey will be provided to employees in two phases, the first beginning early in May. Each agency’s survey will be open for six weeks, with the last surveys closing in late June, OPM told agencies.

OPM has told agencies to “encourage participation in the survey and demonstrate how results from previous years have been used for agency improvements. Employees are more likely to share their opinions when they hear from leaders that their feedback is valued and used.” It pointed out that one of the lowest rates of positive response on the survey involves whether employees believe the results will be used to make their agency a better place to work.

“It is clear more needs to be done to demonstrate to employees that their feedback is taken seriously and utilized for agency improvements . . . Tell employees about steps being taken based on the findings within your agencies and what the outcomes of those efforts have been. In addition to sharing information, providing official time to complete the survey can help increase participation rates. Finally, remember to continue to stress that leadership values employee opinions,” OPM told agencies.

The variant form of the survey will include some new items, rewording of others, and some definitions of terms that may be interpreted in different ways–for example, what levels of leadership are meant by questions about employee views of “senior” leaders.

Results are to be rolled out starting in August.