Almost 3,900 USGS employees (42 percent) responded to the 2010 FEVS. For 66.2 percent of the questions asked, the USGS had higher positive responses than the Department of the Interior respondents.
Overall Results/Key Messages: Employees are willing to put in extra effort to get the job done; consistently look for ways to do their jobs better; like the work they do, think it is important, and gain a sense of personal accomplishment from their work; know how their job relates to the USGS goals and priorities, and have a high level of confidence that they are being protected from on-the-job health/safety hazards. Employees also indicated that their supervisors support their need to balance work and other life issues and there is a very high level of satisfaction with the Alternate Work Schedule program. Additionally, employees say that supervisors have talked to them about their performance and are holding them accountable for achieving results. Overall, when asked, “Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your organization”, 65.3 percent of employees provided a positive response. This is a significant increase (8.7 percent) from 2008, on top of a significant gain from 2006 to 2008.
Challenges: Employees do not believe that steps are taken to deal with poor performers (39.8 percent negative score, up from 36.5 percent in 2008); nor do they feel they have sufficient resources to get their jobs done (34.9 percent negative score, down from a 36.5 percent negative response rate in 2008). Neutral ratings with low negative ratings provide insight into where there may be opportunities to increase communication and awareness among employees on topics such as elder care, child care, employee assistance, health/wellness and other work/life programs, and policies and programs that promote diversity in the workplace.
Trends: Responses to 14 questions showed an improvement of 5 percentage points of more, with 5 of those questions showing increases of 7 or more points. Satisfaction with the organization has continued to increase significantly since 2006, an encouraging trend. However, even with the increases there is still room for improvement in most of these areas. Further, there were three questions where positive responses decreased 5 percentage points or more: 1) people cooperating to get the job done; 2) issues of supervisors working well with employees of different backgrounds; and 3) policies and programs promoting diversity in the workplace. On July 2, 2010, the Deputy Director issued the USGS Diversity Statement that affirms our commitment to “employing the best people to do the best job possible and recognize the importance of reflecting the diversity of our customers and our Nation.” Three of the five recently appointed USGS Diversity Champions are members of the senior executive service and the others are senior managers. The Director and Deputy Director are both committed to the importance and value of diversity and have tasked the Executive Leadership Team with taking proactive steps to cultivate a more inclusive workplace. Additionally, the USGS Diversity Council and Diversity Champions are working to develop our inclusion and diversity implementation plan.
Actions: Key actions, identified through previous employee surveys, have been taken in recent years that may account for many of the increases in specific targeted areas. They include creating more opportunities for field input into bureau decisions, ensuring leaders were sending the same message, creating communication standards-of-practice for senior leaders, and increasing visibility of USGS senior leaders. Actions such as improvements to the USGS Intranet, blogs, podcasts, more opportunities for input and interaction with leaders, and emphasis on senior leader visits to science centers to ensure communication flow back and forth, will continue. Improvements stemming from these bureau activities resulted in significant increases in leaders’ ability to generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce and in maintaining high standards of honesty and integrity.
Potential Additional Bureau Focus Areas: The bureau may be able to yield further gains in employee satisfaction by continuing to increase communication about work/life programs; address concerns regarding “insufficient resources (people, materials, budget) to get their job done” by determining sources of concern and generating solutions; step up succession planning efforts; and continue the investment in improving supervisors’ and managers’ skills in dealing with employee performance by helping them develop skills in coaching, crucial conversations, and conflict management. The USGS Diversity and Inclusion Implementation Plan will address issues raised regarding supervisors/managers ability to work with employees of different backgrounds and the policies/programs that promote diversity. To better understand issues behind the FEVS results the USGS will seek employee feedback to identify further actions. The USGS understands the importance of and is committed to creating and sustaining organizational excellence—where leadership, people, processes and structure are aligned and working together to ensure the bureau’s ability to meet our mission of science excellence and science leadership.