OPM Should use Data to Help Agencies Retain Veteran Employees, GAO Says

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The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) should help agencies analyze employee feedback data to uncover effective strategies for increasing retention of military veterans that the agencies hire. That recommendation comes in light of findings that all 24 CFO Act agencies experienced higher attrition rates among veteran employees compared to non-veteran employees.

According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that compares veteran and non-veteran hires, vets employed by the Federal government left their jobs at a higher rate between fiscal years 2014 and 2018. Veterans resigned 1.6 times more often, left in their first five years at a higher rate, and were less satisfied in their relationships with supervisors, and with the meaningfulness of their work.

“GAO identified six workplace factors associated with veterans’ intentions to leave Federal service,” the report explained. “These factors—or drivers of retention—are based on an analysis of data from the OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (OPM FEVS), a tool for collecting employees’ perceptions of their Federal work experiences.”

The six workplace factors associated with veterans considering leaving Federal service include:

  1. Satisfaction with pay;
  2. Meaningfulness of work;
  3. Confidence in leaders;
  4. Opportunities for advancement;
  5. Training and skills development; and
  6. Relationship with supervisor.

GAO recommended that OPM assist agencies by utilizing OPM FEVS data to analyze veteran retention. OPM only partially concurred with the recommendation, citing concerns about its scope. GAO modified the recommendation to providing assistance to CFO Act agencies, and recommended OPM “be available, upon request, to assist non-CFO Act agencies with veteran retention analysis.”

Jordan Smith
About Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.

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