Federal Employees Are Growing Less Engaged and Less Satisfied With Their Jobs


Federal staff members reported decreases in both equally their engagement and occupation satisfaction when they responded to the government’s annual study of workplace attitudes, whilst officers warned that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to color those people results.

The Place of work of Personnel Administration on Thursday declared the final results of the 2021 Federal Personnel Viewpoint Survey, which for the next calendar year in a row was performed in an unconventional tumble solicitation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the federal govt, personnel engagement fell by 1 issue from 72 out of 100 in 2020 to 71 last year, although the world-wide gratification index, which seeks to evaluate federal worker morale, fell 5 factors from 69 in 2020 to 64 previous drop.

Furthermore, reaction rates throughout federal businesses fell precipitously to 34%, down 10 share factors from 2020. At the very least element of this drop can be attributed to a 2nd straight 12 months of OPM shifting when and how the survey was administered: immediately after delaying the survey’s deployment from its common spring rollout to September in 2020, it was not sent out until November 2021 and OPM only solicited responses for 5 weeks, as an alternative of the standard six.

In a letter accompanying the survey results’ launch, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja applauded the federal workforce’s ongoing “resilience” amid the uncertainty triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, noting decreases in engagement and morale mirror trends noticed in the personal sector. And she cautioned observers not to draw sweeping conclusions owing to the pandemic’s affect on the study by itself.

“Due to the pandemic, survey administration in 2021 differed from 2020 in some sizeable ways, building calendar year-to-calendar year figures much less comparable,” she wrote. “For example, the 2021 OPM FEVS was in the discipline in November and December of 2021, fairly than the more customary spring administration period of time and the whole fielding time was reduced from six months to 5 to keep away from holiday time period conflicts.”

In the report, OPM posited that some of the declines in engagement and pleasure might be owing to the fact that agencies have been making ready, or had now started, attempts to move federal workers again to standard operate internet sites.

“While the 2020 OPM FEVS scores for personnel engagement and global satisfaction were higher than the current 2021 scores, it’s likely that the existing scores are reflective of many unique variables,” the report mentioned. “First, the prospects for telework [have] declined given that the peak of the pandemic. Telework is positively connected to better scores on employee engagement and international pleasure and declines in telework could be connected to a drop in these scores . . . Finally, the pandemic was continuing into a second calendar year, further than what was at first anticipated. The pandemic challenges have been taking a toll on all features of everyone’s everyday living.”

Furthermore, the survey’s deployment amidst agencies’ prepping their reentry options, though checking out how to employ office flexibilities and a hybrid function surroundings on a extra long-lasting foundation, signifies the federal workforce was in a period of time of changeover, which can affect scores.

“These factors are difficult by big-scale alterations in the office context with a lot of company leaders checking out and employing hybrid operating versions,” OPM wrote. “Managers and supervisors are finding out to deal with staff working in alternate and potentially transforming areas. Employees are facing a modify in how several may possibly have labored, with some transitioning from utmost telework to a blend of telework and onsite perform . . . Modify can be challenging and demanding, and a hallmark of 2021 has been frequent and ongoing alter.”

A further doable hindrance to the government’s global satisfaction index is a great deal more simple to evaluate: compensation. In 2021, federal workers obtained only a 1% across-the-board pay out improve, with no enhancement to locality pay back, all amid skyrocketing inflation. The Federal Staff Viewpoint Study measured a six-stage drop in pay back gratification past year, falling from 67 in 2020 to 61 in 2021.

OPM identified that agencies continued to get significant marks on most concerns straight relevant to the pandemic, with three quarters of the federal workforce reporting that senior leaders were being dedicated to employees’ health and fitness and protection, and 84% of feds’ immediate supervisors. But just one problem was the truth that only 62% of feds reported that senior leaders provided efficient interaction about reentry options.


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