Best Places to Work top 10 list has a few new faces, and many familiar ones

In a preview of the Best Places to Work rankings, the Partnership for Public Service has released top 10 lists of agencies with high employee engagement scores.

After a couple years of uncertainty, satisfaction among federal employees is beginning to rise at many agencies.

In a preview of the latest Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings, out of the top 10 agencies in each of the four categories — large, midsize and small agencies, as well as agency subcomponents — prioritizing employee engagement was the common thread, the Partnership for Public Service said.

“At a time when our nation faces both critical challenges and exciting opportunities at home and abroad, an engaged federal workforce is vitally important,” Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, said in a statement. “The top-ranked agencies have excelled at keeping their workforces engaged and motivated and, as a result, they are well positioned to deliver results for the public.”

The preview of the 2023 Best Places to Work rankings, which the Partnership published Thursday morning in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, comes a few days ahead of the full rankings’ upcoming release on May 20.

In this year’s Best Places to Work line-up, there wasn’t a whole lot of shuffling of agencies in the upper levels of the rankings. Since last year’s rankings, all but one large agency remained in the top 10 on the Partnership’s list. The Office of the Secretary of Defense dropped out of the top 10, while the Department of the Army inched up to take its place.

For large agencies, NASA remained the number one best place to work in government, now for the 12th year in a row.

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Unlike the rest of the top 10 large agencies, whose scores all increased in the last year, NASA’s engagement and satisfaction score dipped slightly, dropping from 84.3 to 82.5 out of 100 between 2022 and 2023. Of the top 10 large agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs saw the biggest improvement in overall score, which increased by 3.4 points.

And NASA isn’t the only long-running winner in the Partnership’s Best Places to Work rankings. For the fourth year in a row, the Government Accountability Office maintained its top spot for midsize agencies. GAO’s overall score declined by half a point, while most other top 10 midsize agencies posted modest improvements in employee engagement and satisfaction.

The Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Department, Office of Personnel Management and National Credit Union Administration all moved up in the rankings and increased their overall scores. The Federal Trade Commission jumped significantly in the rankings, rising from number 20 last year, up to ninth place for 2023. The FTC also increased its overall engagement and satisfaction score by 8.1 points.

Most scores in the top 10 small agencies increased since last year’s rankings as well. In its debut year featured in the rankings, the National Indian Gaming Commission took first place among small agencies, with an overall score of a whopping 93.6 points. Notably, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board’s score increased 8.5 points, going from 69.7 to 78.2 in just one year. The agency ranked eighth overall in the small agencies category.

And for agency subcomponents, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s Office of Negotiations and Restructuring once again claimed the number one spot, with a near-perfect score of 96.7. Several of the top 10 agency components on the list were new to the rankings this year.

The Best Places to Work rankings measure how satisfied employees feel in their jobs, and with their agencies — and if they would recommend their agencies as good places to work. The Partnership calculated this year’s rankings using data from the 2023 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), plus additional surveys of employees conducted last fall.

In particular, three different questions from FEVS help create the overall score index, and ultimately determine the rankings:

  • I recommend my organization as a good place to work.
  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job?
  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your organization?

The full rankings, as well as deeper data and analysis on relevant federal workforce issues, will be published May 20. The Partnership will host a breakfast ceremony to recognize the top-ranking agencies on Monday morning.

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