Takeaways from the 2018 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey

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Steve Goodrich, president & CEO at the Center for Organizational Excellence, and Mary Schwartz, senior vice president of digital & technology at ICF, detail what the latest federal workforce survey says about morale, motivation and “survey fatigue”


The results from this year’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey are in, and the workforce has some concerns. The employees say they’re as dedicated as ever, but they aren’t very confident that their concerns are being heard. Steve Goodrich, President & CEO at the Center for Organizational Excellence, says that this growing apathy is one of the biggest takeaways from the survey.

 

“Typically, [there’s] a million surveys sent out. This year it was a million and a half. It went up by 130,000. That’s good, but the response rate was down and it is trending down. I think there’s a couple of things there,” Goodrich said. One, I think there’s starting to be a little fatigue with the survey. Not fatigue in taking it, but fatigue in saying… ‘I don’t know if it is actually going to result in anything and why should I keep doing it?’”

 

Mary Schwartz, senior vice president of digital & technology at ICF, says that because of the institutional change happening right now, federal employees aren’t quite sure how things are impacting them quite yet, and that’s impacting their responses.

 

“Part of what you have to look at is that initial change, the reaction of ‘how is this affecting me?’ but then how are you actually acculturating it? How are you introducing adoption?” Schwartz said. “We ran a survey earlier this year that started to look at adoption as a factor in measuring success of programs, and it was on the lower end of success measures. That’s a tangible, actionable, very valuable piece, and we’re not necessarily valuing it. Adoption directly goes into satisfaction and engagement, the more you see adoption, the more you see willingness towards it, the more employees will be responding. They need to be part of the process.”