America deserves a federal government that is highly effective—meaning one that is efficient, innovative and responsive to the needs of its citizens. The Partnership for Public Service is committed to the idea that government works best when it has an engaged workforce, good leaders and the processes, structures and information to make smart decisions. We accomplish our mission by identifying opportunities to make government work better, offering solutions to fix government where it is broken and collaborating with people inside and outside government to bring about change.
The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings, produced by the Partnership and Deloitte, offer the most comprehensive assessment of how federal public servants view their jobs and workplaces, providing employee perspectives on leadership, pay, innovation, work–life balance and other issues.
Since the first Best Places to Work rankings were released in 2003, they have provided managers and leaders with a way of measuring the engagement of the federal workforce as a whole as well as at individual departments, agencies and their subcomponents. The rankings also alert federal leaders to signs of trouble and provide a roadmap to better manage our government’s most important asset—its employees.
We are using the term employee engagement to refer to the satisfaction and commitment of the workforce and the willingness of employees to put forth discretionary effort to achieve results.
Best in class private sector organizations understand that increased employee engagement leads to better performance and outcomes, and federal leaders need to follow suit by placing greater emphasis on strengthening the workforce and the workplace culture.
In addition to helping leaders better understand the workforce and foster employee engagement, the rankings address one of the biggest barriers to federal employment: a lack of cross-governmental information for prospective employees. The rankings provide job seekers insights into opportunities for public service by highlighting the federal government’s high-performing agencies and by promoting federal organizations that often go unheralded.
The 2017 Best Places to Work rankings include the views of more than 498,000 civil servants from 200 federal organizations on a wide range of workplace topics. This includes the views of 486,105 employees who completed the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and employees from 10 agencies such as the Peace Corps, Smithsonian and the intelligence community who completed surveys with comparable questions during a comparable time frame.
While OPM provided important government-wide and agency data from its 2017 survey, it withheld information on 186 small agencies and subcomponents until early December. This made it impossible for the Partnership to include these organizations in the 2017 rankings released on December 6. On December 5, OPM provided data for these additional agencies. The new data will be analyzed and revised rankings for small agencies and subcomponents will be released in early 2018. The initial decision to withhold information stemmed from an OPM review of its privacy policies, resulting in limiting the available data to agencies and work units with 300 or more respondents instead of 50 respondents. OPM’s decision to provide more complete government-wide data will make it easier for agencies to compare themselves to their federal counterparts, and help Congress and the Trump administration engage in comprehensive oversight of federal workforce management.
Participating federal organizations are ranked according to overall employee engagement, as well as on 10 additional categories such as leadership, strategic management, innovation and work–life balance.
This website provides an overview of each agency and subcomponent included in the 2017 rankings, trend data and expert analysis of what the results mean. Users can conduct side-by-side comparisons of how agencies or their subcomponents rank in various categories, how they compare with other agencies and determine whether they have improved or regressed over time.
The Partnership for Public Service thanks Robert M. Tobias, director of key executive leadership programs at American University, for helping develop the Best Places to Work rankings, and OPM for its rigorous administration of this powerful employee survey.
For 16 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to making the federal government more effective for the American people. We work across administrations to help transform the way government operates by increasing collaboration, accountability, efficiency and innovation.