Fedweek

PPS: This year’s rankings point to a troubling two-year decline in employee engagement. Image: Andrii Yalanskyi/Shutterstock.com

The newly released full report on the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government by the Partnership for Public Service shows downward trends in several factors that go into those rankings, including in an “employee engagement and satisfaction” score that commonly is seen as a proxy for morale.

An “empowerment” measure of the extent to which employees believe their immediate work unit produces high-quality work and contributes to the agency’s overall performance fell by 5.7 points to 50. That was the lowest-rated of all the factors; a measure of the extent to which employees believe their immediate work unit produces high-quality work and contributes to the agency’s overall performance was the highest, at 83.6.

The engagement and satisfaction score fell by 1.1 points to 63.4 after a 4.5 point drop the prior year. So did a measure of the performance of leaders, by 0.7 points to 67.3. Reflecting a longstanding pattern in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, whose results make up a large part of the rankings, scores for leadership declined with each successively higher level.

“While the Biden administration has prioritized investing in its workforce, from recruitment practices to pay increases, this year’s rankings point to a troubling two-year decline in employee engagement, a clear warning signal that leaders across government need to urgently and proactively address,” it said.

The Partnership also noted that within the overall engagement average score of 63.4, there was variation by age, with the highest (71.6) for those age 60 and older and the lowest (59.5) for those age 30-39. Employees under age 30 meanwhile had the lowest score (64.9) in a measure of how well employees feel their agency and job description meshes with their career goals and aspirations and creates self-motivation.

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