OPM: FEVS instigates ‘great changes across government’

Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management Beth Cobert is encouraging feds to fill out the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey before it closes in June...

Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management Beth Cobert is challenging feds’ apathy for the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. To make her point, Cobert listed changes at OPM that she said spawned directly from responses to 2015’s FEVS.

Beth Cobert, the acting director of the Office of Personnel Management.

“We want your opinions regarding your job, your agency, and your workplace as a whole,” Cobert said in the May 31 post on OPM’s Director’s Blog. “Each employee’s voice can inspire change. Everyone’s responses help agencies identify areas that need attention.”

Some of the changes on Cobert’s list include the return of a mentoring program, greater access to senior leaders through a “brown bag lunch series” and workshops. When the 2016 FEVS first went out, Cobert urged agencies to share examples like this to encourage employees to fill out the survey.

The deadline to fill out the FEVS falls on the weeks of June 6 and 14, depending on the agency.

More than 421,000 feds filled out the FEVS in 2015 for a response rate of 50 percent, according to the visualization OPM created to explain the 2015 results. That’s an increase of almost 30,000 responses from 2014.

The FEVS has been modified since its beginnings in 2004 to provide more specific feedback, with 20,000 individual reports going out to federal managers in 2014 providing them with detailed information about their employees’ satisfaction.

The Partnership for Public Service is one of the many organizations that examines the data from the FEVS to provide agencies more useful feedback through their Best Places to Work in the Federal Government report. Max Stier, the president and CEO, offered suggestions in April to make the survey results more effective.

Stier suggested OPM find ways to release survey results more quickly. Agencies opened up the FEVS to their employees earlier in April, and the survey will stay open until June. But Stier said the survey doesn’t need to stay open so long.

“The truth of the matter is that you ask someone’s opinion about what could be improved in their agency, and if they don’t see anything done with that opinion for six months or seven months or eight months, that’s a real problem,” he said. “The only way the agencies can actually do anything with this is if the information is turned around a lot of faster.”

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