Federal Manager's Daily Report

A study of several VA facilities concludes that the often-cited link in the private sector between employee engagement in their jobs and their performance in their work applies in the federal workplace, as well.

A study by the Partnership for Public Service and the Boston Consulting Group of patient care data from 150 VA medical centers over three years found that centers with stronger employee engagement—as measured by that index of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey—had higher patient satisfaction, better call center performance and lower turnover among registered nurses.

In a closer look at two centers that had been under-performing, it concluded that they “successfully reversed course” by improving engagement through steps—many of them low-cost—such as gathering employee feedback, acting on what they learned, connected employees to the mission and recognizing staff for good work.

Other steps included leadership training at all levels, including on “soft skills” such as how to develop relationships, build trust and empower employees; and putting in place definitive programs for identifying and responding to issues arising in employee survey responses.

“Fostering engagement is about much more than creating satisfied and committed federal employees. It’s also about providing better service to the public,” the report said.