According to a new report from The Partnership of Public Service and Deloitte, law enforcement may be among the best jobs in the federal government.
The report, which analyzed data from the larger "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" found that the FBI was the highest scoring agency for law enforcement employees.
Overall, satisfaction at law enforcement agencies was higher than for government-wide employees, outscoring the government median 62.2 to 58.1.
Related: Read the report
But there remains a stark divide between the success of component agencies within the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security when it comes to employee engagement.
Of the 12 law enforcement agencies studied in the report, only the DHS's Federal Law Enforcement Training Center was in the top half of the rankings. Inversely, the only DOJ agency to not rank in the top 50 percent was the Federal Prison System/Bureau of Prisons, which scored less than two points behind FLETC.
Four DHS agencies also ranked at the bottom of the study, with the Secret Service as the lowest scored at 33.4 points. The Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement ranked above the Secret Service. The Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ranked seventh.
The report comes at a time when Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson is out to improve the overall morale at the agency, recently crafting a new mission statement focused on unifying its various components.
The report outlined three challenges for improving employee engagement strictly in the law enforcement agencies:
- Develop wellness in a demanding environment
- Opening communication in a "Need to know" atmosphere
- The importance of employee satisfaction and commitment to accomplish the mission
The report stresses the importance of developing wellness programs, noting that the Drug Enforcement Administration ranked the highest for work-life balance score.
"In addition, the demands of law enforcement work often limits the range of available workplace flexibilities, and the 'tough guy' culture does not necessarily lend itself to acknowledging personal or workplace problems," the report read.
"But this does not mean there are not ways to improve both the work-life balance and wellness of employees."
The report suggested that agencies institute wellness programs, be aware of the effects of limited resources on employees and to strategically apply flexible staffing models to ease working hours.
The FBI also ranked at the top of the scale for its employee communication strategies. The report added that agencies looking to improve their communication models could emphasize open channels and leader visits to field offices to engage employees.
Finally, the report stressed that law enforcement leaders focus on employee satisfaction strategies to help improve their engagement scores, noting that many of the agencies overlook engagement in their mission goals.
"In our discussion with law enforcement officials, a number suggested that agency leaders do not always recognize the link between employee engagement and accomplishing their mission, often seeing these two issues as separate rather than closely intertwined, the report read. "As a result, they said, efforts to address many employee workplace concerns are often pushed off the list of priorities."
When asked whether the results of the survey would improve the agencies, respondents at eight of the 12 agencies ranked below the government-wide average.
The report's authors suggested the creation of advisory boards and consistent engagement initiatives to improve morale, again citing the FBI's use of the strategies.
"The bureau also conducts its own in-house leadership and employee surveys," the report read. "According to James Turgal, the assistant director of the FBI's Human Resources Division, 'Director James Comey cares very much about the employees and what they are thinking and feeling.'"
Read the full report here.