U.S. Office of Personnel Management and National Partnership for Reinventing Government

December 14, 2000

Contact: Sue Blumenthal, NPR
(202) 694-0087

Joseph Cowart, OPM
(202) 606-2402 or


Washington, DC-The federal government is a better place to work than it was a year ago, according to the third annual survey of federal workers throughout the country. Where reinvention has been an agency priority, 84 percent of federal employees are satisfied with their jobs. The overall job satisfaction rate - 63 percent - is comparable to private industry.

"We know that in today's competition for the most talented workers, the federal government will come up short if it doesn't immediately move to improve its work environment," said Morley Winograd, director of the National Partnership for Reinventing Government. "We began this survey to find out from employees what needed changing. The results show that agencies are responding successfully to employee concerns. We've made solid progress."

OPM Director Janice R. Lachance said, "The results of this survey are encouraging. Organizations and their leaders must accept the fundamental premise that our people are our most valuable assets. People do the work. People make new technology efficient. People provide excellent customer service. And it is people who deliver results."

Results of the survey, co-sponsored by the National Partnership for Reinventing Government and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), showed improvements in:

  • overall job satisfaction
  • recognition for doing good work
  • clear definitions of good performance
  • respect for differences among individuals
  • electronic access to information needed to do a good job and
  • an emphasis on using plain language to explain government services and regulations.

As in the 1999 survey, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ranked highest across the board while the Food and Drug Administration rated highest in job satisfaction. The Navy, Army and Department of Veterans Affairs showed the greatest improvement over the past year.

A third of the surveys were returned with written comments about agency problems and progress. One employee from the International Trade Administration wrote: "The morale in our Agency is improving! Much more flexibility is seen by senior management in how we accomplish our goals and they have followed through by providing training as needed to the workforce. For the first time in years, I feel that I can recommend government service to young people as an 'excellent career choice!"

More employees said their opinion counts, they have been given more flexibility to do their jobs and they have been given more training. They gave the highest scores to the overall quality of work done in their work groups and to the presence of specific customer service goals. The survey of almost 51,000 employees showed the most improvement - eight percent over 1999 - in the use of plain language to explain government rules and processes.

As in the first two surveys, federal employees gave the lowest ratings to the government hiring process. In addition, the percentage that said corrective actions are taken against non-productive co-workers actually declined.

The surveys were initiated in 1998 as a way to gauge federal employees' perception of their workplace in the face of growing competition with private business for the most able workers. This year's 32-question survey was mailed in September by the Office of Personnel Management to a random sample of 50,844 employees in 49 government agencies. Forty-two percent of the surveys were returned. Survey results are at

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