There are many opportunities to use the vast stores of employee data in the Federal Government to evaluate potential issues and enact change at a large scale. But due to a lack of resources and systems to leverage these resources, many agency components are unable to do so. They focus more heavily on data collection and organization than they do analysis, and the result is a lack of data-driven decision making.
You can never truly replace the insights of a good manager working closely with their team, identifying weaknesses and coaching employees to improve. But in a large federal agency, it becomes increasingly difficult to rely solely on these one-to-one interactions. Without a plan to identify key positions and assess employees based on their proficiency in clearly defined skills they need to perform their job, gaps can start to appear that influence not only immediate performance but long-term needs.
At any given time in a large federal agency, there are thousands of people in need of training to address specific skills gaps. Whether related to their current responsibilities or future roles for which they hope to be considered, the gaps are not always easily identified.
One of the most under-utilized HR activity in federal agencies is an employee developmental assessment. A developmental assessment carefully evaluates the level at which key staff members operate, based not only specific competencies but on a rubric of proficiencies in those skills. These assessments inform critical HR decisions around training, future hiring needs, and current workforce availability, but they are only as good as the models on which they are built.
The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), administered every year by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to nearly half a million federal employees, is a mark of pride for many agencies. Those who perform well on an annual basis proudly share their insights and best practices with other agencies to showcase what works and what does not in building a high overall satisfaction score among employees.
Despite collecting data from more than 450,000 federal employees in 2017, the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) is limited by the level of reporting available for that data.
The FEVS is administered each year by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and made available on their website in a limited, aggregated form. To glean anything meaningful from this data requires custom requests at a more granular level, and there are limits to what one can extract without additional effort or software. This can have an impact on the actions taken to respond to FEVS data.
In our last blog post, we gave you an introduction to OPM’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS)—and why federal agencies need to care about the results. Consisting of nearly 100 questions, the survey is designed to help agencies measure employee engagement, satisfaction and other fundamental conditions that characterize successful organizations. Through the annual survey, thousands of federal employees give voice to their perceptions of leadership practices, training and development, work-life balance and opportunities for career advancement.
The United States Office of Personal Management (OPM) administers the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). OPM defines the FEVS survey as a tool that measures employees’ perceptions of whether—and to what extent—conditions of success exist in their agencies. OPM first collected employee surveys of this kind in 2004, but the survey has changed significantly over the past several years.
The annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) has many useful metrics for federal agencies to monitor. And, since it is a government-wide assessment, it enables apples-to-apples comparisons between agencies. Agencies can also compare their scores to previous iterations of the FEVS survey, tracking changes across time. While analyzing your FEVS scores in this manner is a good start, agency leaders should be more strategic with their employee engagement plans. Instead of focusing on whether a metric fluctuates up or down, leaders should be looking to understand the underlying insights. Every federal agency has a specific set of issues that affect their human capital—behind each score there is a story, and leaders should focus on understanding those stories.
The annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) is a valuable measure for making comparisons between federal agencies, departments and even year-over-year assessments. However, government organizations need to do more than just compare themselves to static benchmarks—they need to delve deeper into the results to learn their unique story. The story comprises the underlying issues that support employee satisfaction or deter it from thriving. These factors are different and unique for every office, agency and department.