Opinion
November 28, 2012

Employee satisfaction trending downward

Quote of the week

“Throughout this report, we acknowledge the downward trend of many of the survey items.”

— 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS)

Editor’s Corner

The U.S. government 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) results have been released. Like the government of Canada’s Public Service Employee Survey (last results: 2011) it looks at employee attitudes to the workplace.

Regarding job satisfaction, FEVS reports that employee responses were three percentage points down at 68 percent. Less than two-thirds (59%) were satisfied with their agency as a place to work, as compared to 65% of the PSES who said they were satisfied with their department or agency.

FEVS shows that pay is becoming a serious factor in U.S. federal government employee contentment. Pay satisfaction was at only 59%, down four points from the last survey and the lowest score since the surveys were launched in 2004. The PSES doesn’t address that issue.

The FEVS reports on what it calls Global Satisfaction. This score measures four things: job satisfaction, organizational satisfaction, pay satisfaction and whether they would recommend the organization. All four items have decreased since 2011, wiping out gains that had occurred since 2008.

Similarly, FEVS has an Employee Engagement Index with three measures: the response to supervisors, whether leaders lead, and “intrinsic work experiences.” Again, results are down this year at 65%, down from 67% in 2011.

The PSES doesn’t use these groupings, but reports on concern over these issues. Regarding supervisors, for example, in 2011, 70% of respondents said they receive useful feedback on their job performance from their immediate supervisor, up three percentage points from 2008. Unfortunately, just 52% of respondents said they have confidence in the senior management of their organization.

Both these surveys attempt to give snapshots in time of their respective governments. Both report a higher number of respondents than in the past, and seem to suggest that all is not roses in the government workplace.

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