OPM Releases Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has released the 2019 results from an annual survey of government employees called the Federal Viewpoint Survey. Results indicate that happiness among federal employees increased slightly in 2019, although most large agencies saw little change.

The survey results found that the global satisfaction index, a weighted average of the responses to several questions which gauge federal workers’ happiness, rose by one point this year, reaching 65 points out of 100.

While most large agencies only saw minor shifts in agency happiness scores, some gains included the Environmental Protection Agency, which improved its satisfaction score by three points, increasing from 61 in 2018 to 64 this year; the General Services Administration, which improved by two points over last year, reaching a score of 77; and the Treasury Department, which saw its satisfaction score grow from 62 in 2018 to 64 this year.

Decreases included the Agriculture Department, which saw happiness fall by 1 point compared with 2018, hitting a three-year low of 60; the Education Department, which saw happiness fall by two points to 50 out of 100 points; and the Transportation Department and the Social Security Administration, which both fell by one point, posting scores of 67 and 64, respectively.

Employees agreed the most that “when needed, I am willing to put in the extra effort to get a job done,” with 96 percent of employees agreeing with the statement. Employees agreed the least with the statement “pay raises depend on how well employees perform their jobs,” with 28 percent uniting in their answer to the question. Following this trend, statements relating to agency mission and work showed the most positive agreement while statements relating to performance showed the least positive agreement.

The survey also added five new items to ascertain how the government shutdown at the beginning of the year impacted employees.

Of the respondents, 54 percent were not impacted by the shutdown and 45 percent said the shutdown had no effect on their everyday work. However, those who were impacted said the most common negative outcomes due to the shutdown were delayed work and reduced customer service. OPM noted that the last area was of particular concern given the importance of customer service in the President’s Management Agenda.

The response rate for the survey was 42.6 percent, an increase from 2018’s response rate of 40.6 percent.

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