from the hill

House Panel Wants to Make Federal Employees Happier at Work

In effort to discover what makes some federal employees happier at some agencies, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform brought together representatives from agencies who have ranked high in the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government and one – the Department of Homeland Security – who has struggled at the bottom for some time. 

The rankings, which are put out annually by The Partnership for Public Service, track employee satisfaction and engagement from Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results.

Four of the key takeaways from the hearing included:

  • The need to foster better leadership
  • Creation of a culture of recognition
  • Strong communication
  • Better engagement equals better customer service

“You need definitely to recognize good performers if you want to encourage that to be the norm,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service. “We don’t have a culture of performance recognition in government and that’s one of the reasons why federal employees are risk adverse.”

NASA’s Chief Human Capital Officer, Lauren Leo, represented the agency and highlighted the need for top down communication.

“NASA senior leaders visit their employees in their labs and other worksites to hear from them directly about their work and their work life,” she said. “Because our employees feel connected to the mission and to each other, we have a very positive work culture with a high level of employee engagement.”

Sydney Rose, Chief Human Capital Officer at the Department of Labor, echoed similar sentiments, “We gathered data and looked for things we could do right away, based on employee feedback. Employees told us, ‘We think you could do a better job training supervisors and managers.’ So we built a curriculum specifically to address that. We did simple things. People said, ‘Can we have a microwave in the cafeteria?’ We did small things, we did large things, we did long-term things and we kept telling people what we were doing.”

Posted in From the Hill

Tags: Oversight and Government Reform, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, FEVS, Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey

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