Latest employee viewpoint survey shows dissatisfaction with VA’s senior leaders

In an agency rocked by scandal and mismanagement, employees at the Veterans Affairs Department are becoming less pleased with their senior leaders.

According to data from the Office of Personnel Management’s 2014 Employee Viewpoint Survey, only 37 percent of employees surveyed said they are satisfied with their senior leaders’ policies and practices. The number is down from 40 percent in the 2013 survey.

When asked if senior leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce, only 36 percent agreed, compared to 41 percent in 2013 and about 40 percent in 2012.

About 44 percent of employees said the management maintains high standards of honesty and integrity. Only 46 percent said they have a high level of respect for their agency’s senior leaders.

VA employees also are not satisfied with how performance is handled. About one-quarter — 28 percent — said they are satisfied with the steps taken to deal with poor performers who cannot or will not improve. Similarly, 36 percent said awards are based on how well an employee performs, and only 20 percent said pay raises are based on merit.

Despite less than ideal perceptions of management, VA employees have an overall positive impression of their jobs. A large majority — 85 percent — said they like the work that they do, and 83 percent agreed that they understand how their work relates to VA’s goals and priorities.

In addition, an overwhelming 94 percent felt that the work they do is important.

The VA recently announced its plans to fire four senior executives, after reports of long wait times and falsified records at VA hospitals nationwide.

One of those executives is Susan Taylor, who was involved in a procurement scandal at the Veterans Health Administration. Taylor retired this week, after rumors circulated that she would be dismissed from the agency.

Earlier this year, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned in light of the agency scandal.

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