Daniel Sitterly, assistant secretary of human resources & administration at Veterans Affairs, and Dee Ramsel, executive director of the National Center for Organization Development at the Veterans Health Administration, detail the Veterans Affairs employee survey, and ways to improve worker engagement.
According to the Partnership for Public Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs has become one of the top ten large agencies to work in the federal government. VA moved from the 17th spot on the list to number 6. The list isn’t the only measure of improvement at the department. Results from VA’s internal survey found that employee morale was very high this year. Daniel Sitterly, assistant secretary of human resources & administration at VA, partially credits this increase to the arrival of Secretary Robert Wilkie in 2018. “I will tell you that Secretary Wilkie has established an environment where everybody feels important in our organization,” said Sitterly. “We don’t just measure our customer satisfaction through our employee engagement. We measure it in a lot of different ways other than surveys. We’ve had a lot of great things happening in the Veterans Administration in the last several months, everything from the opportunity for employee engagement at the local levels. We take an opportunity who don’t score this the 80th percentile at the top and give them special leadership training and we have a strategy for employee engagement.” Dee Ramsel, executive director of the National Center for Organization Development at the Veterans Health Administration, told Government Matters that the survey informs what employee engagement initiatives they roll out across the organization. “We have a VA-wide employee engagement council. We work hard to make sure that initiatives spread across the organization. You have people moving back and forth in jobs and working together, and we all want to be one voice working together with the veterans,” Ramsel said. “For the most part they’re pretty similar, I would say in VHA, you might take a special look at physician burnout, on the survey data, that’s the current topic. But for the most part, we try to integrate as much as possible.”