FEVS Shows Low Employee Satisfaction With Promotions, Shutdown

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The results of the annual Federal Employee Viewpoints Survey (FEVS) show a continued discontent with the Federal government’s career advancement processes, and a negative impact on agencies from the partial Federal government shutdown that spanned 35 days and ended Jan. 25.

The results, released by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on November 7, show that positive statements regarding performance-based pay and promotions had among the lowest levels of agreement from respondents. Only 28 percent thought pay raises depend on how well employees perform their jobs, 34 percent thought agencies took steps to address poor performers, and 39 percent thought promotions in their work unit are based on merit.

“Respondents continue a five-year trend of reporting concerns about the manner in which poor performance is addressed and, in particular, the perceived lack of proper application of merit principles to promotion and reward decisions,” said OPM Director Dale Cabaniss in a preface to the report.

In addition to the regular questions on the FEVS, the survey added questions about the impact of the 2019 government shutdown on employee morale, which revealed that 55 percent saw at least a slightly negative impact on everyday work during or after the shutdown. Of those who reported a negative impact, 67 percent reported delayed work, 48 percent reported reduced customer service, and 46 percent reported missed deadlines. The impacts of the shutdown also disproportionately affected smaller agencies – organizations with under 75,000 employees reported higher levels of negative impact compared to the Federal average.

While the shutdown did not help advance agency missions, most employees reported that the shutdown is not driving them away from Federal work. Only two percent reported looking for a new job specifically due to the shutdown, and 64 percent said that their agency provided the support needed during the shutdown.

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