Federal employees continue to have the highest and lowest opinions of the same aspects of their workplaces, results of this year’s government-wide survey show, with slightly more positive views overall.

Once again, the most positive response to any question involved whether employees are willing to put in extra effort to get a job done, with 96 percent agreeing or strongly agreeing; 91 percent similarly said they are always looking for ways to do their job better and 90 percent said they consider their work important. Each has been unchanged, or within 1 percentage point different, for the last five years.


The next most strongly positive responses, each above 80 percent and also basically stable, involved whether employees like they kind of work they do, whether they know how it relates to the agency’s goals, whether they know what is expected of them on the job and whether their unit has the needed skills and knowledge.

Again at the low end were several performance-related questions: whether pay raises depend on how well employees perform their jobs (28 percent positive), whether steps are taken to deal with poor performers (34), whether differences in performance are recognized in a meaningful way (39), whether creativity and innovation are rewarded (44), and whether awards reflect performance (48). In each case that was up by a point or two over 2018 and several are up significantly over the last five surveys; in 2015 the positive response rates were 21, 28, 33, 37 and 40 percent, respectively.

In a new question asking what happens to poor performers in a work unit, 56 percent said those persons usually remain in the unit and continue to underperform; 17 percent said they remain but improve over time; and 10 percent said they leave for reasons including firing, transferring or quitting. The other 17 percent said there are no poor performers in their unit.