Fedweek

Los Angeles, Feb. 2017 - The Wilshire federal office building in Westwood, housing regional offices of the FBI, Veterans Affairs and other agencies.

Federal employees outside the national capital area “often feel isolated from the rest of their agency and disconnected from senior leaders” and consequently are less engaged in their work than those in the capital area, the Partnership for Public Service has said.

In the Partnership’s most recent best places to work report, incorporating data from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, their engagement score of 63.3 was 3.1 points lower, says a report done with the Boston Consulting Group. Of particular note, they have lower views of senior leadership and of reward and advancement policies, and are less satisfied with their involvement in decisions that affect their work, it said.

Field employees “sometimes feel they are treated as “stepchildren” and do not think leaders at headquarters consult with regional offices on decisions that impact their work. In addition, we found that field employees can perceive a headquarters bias when it comes to recognition for good work and that field employees often feel that their work is not valued. In some instances, we were told field employees do not believe they have sufficient opportunities for career advancement,” it said.

It recommended that:

* “Leaders in the field and at headquarters should prioritize communicating with field staff early and often, using technology to keep field employees connected. This will help them feel included, informed and committed to their agency.”

* “Leaders should avoid creating silos where the field and headquarters are detached from each other. Create opportunities for the field and headquarters to work together, learn from each other and build a sense of shared community.”

* “Where possible and appropriate, leaders in the field and at headquarters should find ways to give field employees autonomy in their roles and create processes that empower them to independently deliver on the agency’s mission in collaboration and coordination with headquarters.”

* “Leaders at headquarters should never forget about the hard work being done by their employees in the field. They should take the time to recognize accomplishments of employees across the country and give the recognition the same importance and significance as recognition at headquarters.”