The Best Agencies to Work for in the Federal Government in 2016

by | Jan 2, 2017

Last Updated February 13, 2023


Every year, OPM releases its Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) to find out where agencies rank. This survey measures factors such as employee engagement, performance feedback, training and development and work-life balance. Three hundred seventy-nine agencies and their subcomponents were included. Below is a summary of the results from the 2016 survey.

Large Agencies

For the fifth consecutive year, NASA ranks at the top of the list among large agencies. They scored a 78.6 (out of 100) for job satisfaction and commitment. The Commerce Department, Intelligence community, Department of State, and Health and Human Sciences rounded out the top five.

The Department of Homeland Security has struggled with employee morale and management since it’s beginning. Once again, they came in last among large agencies. However, they did have the second largest increase among large agencies boosting their score 2.7 points, from 2015, to 45.8.

The Department of Agriculture saw the biggest improvement over the last year and raised it’s score 3.7 points, jumping from 16th to ninth.

The Social Security Administration had the biggest drop in employee engagement among large agencies. Their score dropped by 2.9 points and they moved to the middle of the pack.

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs, plagued by issues with management and scandals, also ranked near the bottom but they did see a 1.6 point improvement from last year. Their 2016 score was 56.7.

Mid-Sized Agencies

The Securities and Exchange Commission came in as the most improved mid-sized agency, gaining 7.5 points this year or a score of 76.1.

For the fifth time in six years, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission saw its score drop. Their engagement score fell 3.5 points this year, making it the largest decline among mid-sized agencies.

Small Agencies

The National Endowment for the Arts was the most improved among small agencies with a score of 85.9; a 16.6 point increase over 2015. The jumped from 11th place last year to first place this year.

Out of 29 small agencies, The Surface Transportation Board had the largest decline in engagement. In 2014, they topped this area but saw a 15 point drop this year.

The Secret Service came in last among more than 300 agency subcomponents with a score of 32.8. They have struggled with low morale and misbehavior. However, the lowest score in the entire Federal Government goes to the Federal Election Commission with a score of 28.4. They also rank last among small agencies.

The biggest factor that seems to affect employee satisfaction and communication is related to effective leadership. Employees did report a slightly higher faith overall in their agency’s leadership in 2016 over 2015. Employee satisfaction with performance-based awards and advancement had the lowest score of 43.5. These rankings also take into consideration employee’s views on pay.

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