By Deborah Hopkins, May 24, 2021
The 2020 FEVS was released a few days ago. Thanks to COVID-19, it looks somewhat different than past FEVS. But, as always, it is full of interesting and helpful information about how employees view their agencies, their supervisors, their coworkers, and more. Below are three key takeaways.
1. Agencies still have a long way to go on performance accountability.
In the 2020 FEVS, one of the worst scores out of all the topics covered came as a result of this item: In my work unit, steps are taken to deal with a poor performer who cannot or will not improve. (Q. 10). Only 42 percent of employees agreed with this statement, which means 58 percent of employees think that supervisors don’t do enough to hold unacceptable performers accountable. Not great.
While this number is trending better than it has in recent years (it was 36 percent in 2019 and 28 percent in 2018), we can all agree that 42 percent is not the target any agency aims for. That’s a failing grade no matter how you look at it.
FELTG has been working with a few agencies on a targeted approach to increase performance accountability through a structured set of training on topics, including writing effective performance standards, providing feedback that makes a difference, and holding employees accountable. These agencies have seen their individual FEVS scores on this item increase significantly, which tells us that the good employees really appreciate when supervisors focus time and effort on employee performance matters.
2. The grade on diversity hiring and representation is a solid C+.
In response to this item: My supervisor is committed to a workforce representative of all segments of society (Q. 20), 79% of employees agreed.
With President Biden’s numerous Executive Orders highlighting the government’s role in promoting diversity, especially among traditionally underserved populations, we can anticipate that agencies will work on bringing this number up in 2021. In many agencies, leadership is especially focused on nondiscriminatory hiring, reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities, raising awareness about LGBTQ issues, and training on types of microaggressions and bias that often lead to hostile work environment allegations.
3. COVID-19 definitely impacted agency performance, but not as much as you might think.
One of the new sections in the FEVS dealt with the impacts of COVID-19 on agencies’ ability to meet customer needs and focus on mission results while the world was turned upside down from the pandemic. The graphic below shows that while there have been some struggles, Federal employees have found ways to contribute to agency mission and customer service despite unprecedented working conditions, whether that was transitioning to work 100% from home, spending 12 hour shifts in PPE, working around the clock to develop tests, treatments, or vaccines, and much more.
If you haven’t yet read the FEVS, you can find it on OPM’s website here. It’s worth a look, and when you’re ready to talk to FELTG about how we can help you improve your agency’s scores (because after all, higher scores mean your employees are happier, and if your employees are happier they are more productive), we’ll be here. Hopkins@FELTG.com