Will new tools help agencies fix the problems feds have?

The Office of Personnel Management wants federal supervisors to make better use of the insights available in upcoming Federal Employee Viewpoint Surveys and released a toolkit for leadership Oct. 21.

“This toolkit provides step-by-step guidance to easily assist work unit supervisors in understanding OPM’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results,” OPM Associate Director for Employee Services Mark Reinhold said in a memo to agency HR directors.

“Additionally, this toolkit provides best practices to assist supervisors with leading meaningful change toward improving engagement among workforce members.”

The 2019 FEVS responses have yet to be made public, but results from each year’s FEVS are generally released in mid- to late-October.

The toolkit provides guidance for supervisors’ approach to FEVS results in four areas:

  1. Review survey results to gain insights – agencies are encouraged to start by getting data in a format they can work with, flagging noteworthy results, identifying patterns in the results, considering the contextual factors of that agency which impact the results and identifying both strengths and opportunities for growth.
  2. Share survey results and solicit input – the toolkit reminds leaders to share a summary of the FEVS results with staff, give employees the chance to provide input on those results, narrow down a few components of the survey for further input and finally ask for ideas to improve the organization in those areas.
  3. A simple approach to action – the OPM toolkit recommends focusing on the top area that needs to be addressed, identifying actions that will address that area, creating an action plan with a timeline and assigned responsibilities, acting on that plan and communicating the planned actions four times throughout the year.
  4. Leadership for engagement – in order to ensure that their employees are satisfied and engaged, the toolkit recommends building relationships and trust with those employees, supporting employee growth and recognizing the value of employee contributions.

“These resources can also serve as an aid to leaders in educating staff members on how they can play an instrumental role in the process,” Reinhold said.

“The tips and tools presented will serve useful for managers that are seasoned in the activities addressed, as well as for those who are newly responsible for leading the process for their work group.”

Federal agencies have presented a mixed bag of success stories and longtime challenges with employee satisfaction as outlined in FEVS results.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, for example, rocketed from last place among medium-sized agencies in 2012 to first place in 2017, which agency leadership attributed to atop-to-bottom effort to address engagement.

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