Leadership Still Key in Best Places to Work Rankings

A good government group’s rankings of the best places to work in the federal government relies heavily on employee perceptions of their leadership, which was generally lower—along with many other indicators—in this year’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey that forms the basis for the ratings. The Partnership for Public Service’s report is closely watched among agencies, since those that come out well are able to tout their results in their recruiting pitches and in congressional testimony other public appearances and reports, for example—while those that do poorly tend to trigger directives from top management pointing out the flaws and ordering remedial action by lower management. One key element is what the group calls effective leadership, which it defines as “the extent to which employees believe leadership at all levels of the organization generates motivation and commitment, encourages integrity and manages people fairly, while also promoting the professional development, creativity and empowerment of employees.” The report also factors in strategic management of the workforce, training and development, support for diversity and other factors that are the responsibility of line supervisors and managers. Said the group: “Effective leadership is the key driver, as it has been every year since the rankings launched in 2003. Leadership, however, continues to be one of the lowest-rated workplace categories.” Views of senior leadership in particular fell over the prior year’s report, down three points to 42.4 percent positive. Among large agencies NASA came out on top of the overall ratings, driven largely by its performance in the effective leadership category, followed by the intelligence community, Commerce, State and Air Force. Similarly, FDIC placed top among mid-sized agencies both overall and in that category, followed by FTC, NRC and FERC. And the Surface Transportation Board was tops both in management effectiveness and overall among small agencies, followed by FLRA, FMCS and the Peace Corps. The report, which includes closer looks at agency subcomponents, breakdowns by demographic group, trend analysis and other information, is here: