Federal Manager's Daily Report

Maintaining and improving on levels of employee engagement “should remain a focus for federal leaders and managers going forward,” the MSPB said in a new publication.

“As newly appointed leaders across the executive branch consider potential reorganization plans and possible reductions in resources, they would do well to continue previous efforts aimed at fostering greater employee engagement,” it said.

MSPB said that employee engagement has been a focus in federal personnel policies for about a decade, pointing to its own 2008 report that identified six main drivers of engagement: pride in one’s work or workplace; strong organizational leadership; opportunity to perform well at work; appropriate recognition; prospects for growth; and a positive work environment with some focus on teamwork.

Follow-up reports from MSPB focused on how well leaders carry out performance management practices in those areas and identified the aspects of jobs that federal employees find the most satisfying. Also, OPM developed an employee engagement index measure in the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and GAO issued a report on promising practices to improve engagement, it noted.

“The new administration has signaled an interest in reorganizing executive agencies to increase efficiency and in reallocating sizeable amounts of resources. These changes could result in budgetary and workforce reductions in some agencies. One hopes that as the changes are implemented, agency leaders will continue efforts to measure and foster employee engagement,” MSPB said.

“The ultimate objective, of course, is not greater employee engagement for its own sake, but rather optimal organizational performance consistent with prevailing policy priorities. Given the strong association between higher levels of employee engagement and better organizational outcomes, maintaining–if not improving–employee engagement should remain a focus for federal leaders and managers going forward,” it said.