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Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS)—2013

The FEVS measures government employees’ perceptions of whether, and to what extent, conditions that characterize successful organizations are present in an organization. Of the 98 questions, fourteen are demographic.

The survey:

  • Assesses employee satisfaction with leadership policies and practices; work environment; rewards and recognition for professional accomplishment; opportunity for professional development and growth; and opportunity to contribute to achieving organizational mission.
  • Represents a snapshot in time of employees’ perceptions of the USGS workplace environment. The results are true and real in that they are the true and real perceptions of the respondents, which may or may not reflect the reality of the situation.
  • Measures factors that influence employees wanting to join, stay, or help the USGS meet its mission.
  • Allows managers to examine trends to determine accomplishments and identify areas for improvement.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) administers the survey to all federal agencies, typically in the spring. A full-census survey is administered to all eligible (full and part-time permanent) employees in even-numbered years, and in odd-numbered years it is administered to a random sample of employees.

OPM collects and verifies responses from more than two hundred federal agencies before releasing the data. As a result, there are several months before the data are released. For more detailed information about the survey visit: www.fedview.opm.gov.

Once OPM releases the government-wide data, the Partnership for Public Service uses a subset of the data to create the Best Places to Work Index rankings for federal government agencies. This index includes:

  1. Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job?
  2. Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your organization?
  3. I would recommend my organization as a good place to work.

For more information on the rankings and USGS’s standing visit: www.bestplacestowork.org.

Survey FAQ

Who participated in the survey?
The survey was administered electronically to a sample of full-time and part-time permanent USGS employees in April 2013. Employees were invited via email to participate.

What was the response rate?
The USGS had an overall response rate of 53.8% (n=2,959), which is quite good. As a comparison, the government-wide response rate in 2013 was 48.2%.

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey uses "weighted" data. What are "weighted" data?
When the data collected from survey respondents are adjusted to represent the population from which the sample was drawn, the resulting data are called weighted data. Because of the differing response rates among the various demographic groups completing the survey, the data aggregated at the USGS level is weighted to ensure that the results are statistically unbiased.

The weighting process involves computing and assigning a weight to each survey respondent. The weight indicates the number of employees in the survey population the respondent represents. Information about demographic characteristics such as gender, race, supervisory status, age, and agency size, are used to develop the weights. The weight does not change a respondent's answer; rather, it gives appropriate relative importance to the answer.

What about confidentiality?
The protection of the identity of individual employees and the confidentiality of their responses is our highest priority. Survey participation is voluntary and all responses are confidential and anonymous. When OPM delivers the survey results, no information is provided to tie responses to individual employees.

How do I read the report?
Employees were asked to respond by indicating to what degree they agreed or disagreed with a given question using a five-point scale ranging from 5 = Strongly Agree; 4 = Agree; 3 = Neither Agree nor Disagree; 2 = Disagree; 1 = Strongly Disagree. For some items participants had the opportunity to respond with “Do Not Know” (DNK) or “No Basis to Judge” (NBJ). Responses of “Agree” and “Strongly Agree” make up the percent positive score, while “Disagree” and “Strongly Disagree” make up the negative score. Neutral reponses indicate “Neither Agree nor Disagree.”

image representing result choices
1 = Strongly Disagree 2 = Disagree 3 = Neutral 4 = Agree 5 = Strongly Agree

What results are the most significant?
There is no magic formula or statistical model to determine what findings to focus on or what results are the most significant. When reviewing and interpreting results, it is useful to apply rules of thumb to determine “notable” or “meaningful” results. These rules apply to understanding your own results as well as making comparisons to Bureau or government-wide results.

  • Responses that are 65% or more positive are strengths
  • Responses that are 35% or more negative are challenges


  When to contact OD:
  • Process Challenges
  • Processing Customer or Stakeholder Feedback
  • Teambuilding
  • Discord Among Group Members
  • Lack of Clarity in Goals or Roles
  • Change Management
  • Communication Challenges
  Services provided:
  • Team Building and Development
  • Organization Assessment and Action
  • Planning Sessions (vision and mission clarity, strategic and operational)
  • Meeting Facilitation (effective and productive meetings)
  • Process Consultation (agenda design to maximize outcomes and engagement)
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Interpersonal Communication
  For more information:

Please contact a member of the USGS OD Network:

Peggy Gardiner 703-648-6824
Pam Marsters 703-648-6703
Laura Rech 303-445-4684
Heather Saffoori 703-648-6825

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Page Last Modified: Thursday, 01-May-2014 13:47:33 EDT