Inside some of the “Best Places to Work”

Each year, agency leaders scan the list of Best Places to Work in the Federal Government with anticipation or anxiety. Those at the top of the list get a great recruitment tool. Those at the bottom know they’ve got hard work to do.

To make that work a bit easier to come by, Federal News Radio asked some of this year’s award winners about their journeys thus far and what they’ll do to stay headed in the right direction.

Jeri  Buchholz

Jeri Buchholz
Chief Human Capital Officer

The best large agency, NASA has a distinct advantage: space exploration is the stuff many kids’ dreams are made of. But Buchholz says other agencies can follow NASA’s success.


“While it’s true that no fifth-grader woke up and said, ‘I want to be a contract specialist,’…there are things about your organization that [employees] value, that make them feel special and like they’re making a contribution to the American people. And if you shine a spotlight on those things that your organization values, you’ll get the same kind of payoff from your mission that we get from ours.”

Jay  Williams

Jay Williams
Assistant Commerce Secretary for Economic Development
Economic Development Administration

Last year, EDA was ranked the worst of more than 300 federal centers and divisions with at least 100 employees. This year, it rose four spots and nearly 12 points on the list’s 100-point scale to be named the “most improved.”


“Part of it is to try to lead by example. … If I’m the smartest person in the room, there’s a problem. I need and try to surround myself with very talented individuals, in terms of both management and employees. When they see their talent and their input actually translating into changes at the organization, it helps to open up lines of communication and show supervisors [that you can] empower your employees. Don’t feel threatened.”


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