Calling all feds: Uncle Sam wants to hear from you.

In a few weeks, the Office of Personnel Management is opening its 2024 employee survey, one of the most comprehensive measurements of workplace culture and satisfaction taken across the federal government.

A 22-year-old practice, the Federal Employee Viewpoints survey routinely garners more than half a million responses from workers in dozens of federal departments. The questions ask feds to share their attitudes on their supervisors, their pay, their level of work and their sense of inclusion with colleagues.

“Overall, the FEVS is one of the most powerful platforms for Federal employees to share their work experience, a voice critical to achieving effective agencies and responsive public service in times of significant change and adaptation,” said Kiran Ahuja, the outgoing director of OPM said in a statement April 26.

This year, as part of its modernization efforts, OPM is expecting more of the data to be available digitally. Leaders have said the results aren’t just for show or competition between agencies: making the results public should prod agency action to improve or support findings uncovered by the data. And with agencies sharing anecdotes of hiring challenges, morale concerns and dwindling telework, data may help provide justification for more resources or policies to address them.

“How well [reports] represent overall employee sentiments in your agency is a function of transparent leadership action on results,” said Ahuja in the memo. “OPM’s research consistently shows a strong relationship between response rates and employee belief that leadership will take action on the feedback they provide through the FEVS.”

However, feds have indicated they’re not always confident the results will actually promote change. In the latest survey, 48% believed the results of this survey “will be used to make my agency a better place to work.” About 40% of the total federal population participated in 2023.

As is custom, the survey will be rolled out in two phases via email in mid-May. Employees will receive several reminders to participate, though the survey is voluntary. Final results are usually published in the fall.

Is FEVS anonymous?

In short: yes.

OPM says public data does not identify respondents, and because OPM does not supply raw data to agencies, the results are only available in the aggregate.

For a response to count, employees need to complete a quarter of the survey questions, according to previous agency guidance.

Results for work units are only reported when 10 or more employees in that unit respond to the survey.

Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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