The vast majority of the data used to develop the Best Places to Work rankings was collected by the the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). The survey was administered April 2 through June 30, 2012, to full-time and part-time permanent executive branch employees and completed by more than 687,000 federal workers, for a response rate of 46.1 percent. Participating agencies comprise 97 percent of the executive branch workforce. The rankings also include responses from more than 9,000 additional employees at nine agencies who were surveyed at the same time and had a response rate of more than 50 percent. In addition, the rankings incorporate responses from employees of the Intelligence Community, which conducted its own similar surveys, but did not report the number of respondents due to classification restrictions.
Agencies with more than 15,000 full-time permanent employees are included in the “large” category. Agencies with between 1,000 and 14,999 full-time permanent employees are included in the “mid-size” category. Agencies with more than 100 and fewer than 1,000 full-time permanent employees are included in the “small” category. Subcomponents, the agencies within large agencies, need to have at least 100 full-time permanent employees. The number of employees was determined by using OPM’s FedScope database. Our criterion was based on the number of full-time, permanent employees as of fiscal 2011, unless otherwise noted.
The private-sector data reported in our Private Sector Comparison is from OPM and Hay Group. OPM reports comparable data for 13 questions based on employee survey results from large, primarily U.S. corporations. To see OPM’s private-sector report, please click here. The Hay Group supplies data that is used for the private sector Best Places to Work index score.
The demographic data is from the OPM’s FedScope. The data are based on the number of full-time permanent employees as of fiscal 2011, unless otherwise noted. The locations, links, and agency missions, we derived from publicly-posted agency information.
The Best Places to Work index measures employee satisfaction and commitment. The overall rankings are based on the Best Places to Work index score. The measurement model for Best Places to Work was created by our partner in 2003, CFI Group, which uses the same methodology for the highly regarded American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
The Best Places to Work index score is calculated based on three different questions in the office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). Those survey questions include:
To calculate the score, we use the percentage of positive responses (Agree or Strongly Agree; Satisfied or Very Satisfied) in a weighted formula. Our sponsor, Hay Group, determined the weightings by performing a regression analysis on the employee survey data included in their normative database (approximately 75,000 employees). Scores for the three Best Places to Work questions were regressed on the outcome variable “intent to remain in the organization.” They looked at the percent of variance in “intent to remain” accounted for by each of the three Best Places to Work questions. The more the question predicted intent to remain, the higher the weighting. The weightings for the formula are proprietary.
We offer a variety of resources and levels of help for agencies to better understand their data and build a plan to improve employee satisfaction. To help leaders to drive reforms, we launched an advisory services program that works in partnership with agencies to conduct custom data analysis and lead them through a series of action planning activities that identify and address employee concerns. Please click here for more details.
The measurement model for Best Places to Work was created by our partner in 2003, CFI Group. They used structural equation modeling to determine the clusters of questions included in each workplace category.
The workplace category scores are calculated by averaging the percentage of positive responses (Agree or Strongly Agree; Satisfied or Very Satisfied) in ten work environment categories. The categories are effective leadership; employee skills/mission match; pay; strategic management; teamwork; training and development; work/life balance; support for diversity; performance-based rewards and advancement; and alternative work and employee support programs. The formula is not weighted. The alternative work and employee support programs includes program participants only. Those who said “No Basis to Judge” were removed from the calculation. We required at least 30 participants in each program to calculate a score.
To learn more about what the categories measure and to see the survey questions included in each category, click here.
Our technical partner, Hay Group, performed a regression analysis to determine which workplace categories were the best predictors of the Best Places to Work index score. Government-wide, the key driver was effective leadership. Leadership is also the key driver for the agencies, although there have been a few exceptions during the past several years.
We divided our effective leadership category in four different subcategories (empowerment, fairness, senior leaders and supervisors) to help users interpret the findings more precisely. The subcategory scores for senior leaders and supervisors, for example, tend to differ. We determined the subcategory clusters by using factor analysis.
The 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey included the following definitions:
Our senior leader and supervisor subcategories include the following questions:
The alternative work and employee support programs category measures employees’ satisfaction with the programs in which they participate, including telecommuting and alternative work scheduling, along with personal support benefits like child care subsidies and wellness programs. Due to changes in the survey format, the scores for 2003-2010 are not available. The alternative work and employee support programs category includes the following:
An agency must have at least 100 full-time, permanent employees to participate in the Best Places to Work rankings. Please contact the Partnership at (202) 775-9111 to discuss the requirements. Eligible agencies not participating in the FEVS can be part of Best Places to Work if they conduct a comparable survey that includes our three index questions. The survey needs to be administered during the same timeframe, and have a 50 percent response rate.
The rankings are based on varied totals because we have four different groups of agency rankings (large, mid-size, small and subcomponents) and a few agencies do not participate in all of the categories.
To calculate a Best Places to Work index score for a demographic group, we require at least 30 employees in the category. If there were less than 30, we did not report a score.
The results of our current rankings are based on the employee survey conducted by OPM in 2012. After OPM releases the next public data file in 2013, we will produce new rankings shortly thereafter.
USAJOBS.gov is the search engine/databse for federal government jobs. This is where you can find virtually all government job openings or vacancy announcements, complete with salary info, location, the kinds of qualifications the agency is looking for in an applicant and more.
As the one-stop shop for government jobs, USAJOBS.gov typically has roughly 30,000 vacancy announcements on the site at any given time. It's a treasure trove of information because 100 percent of all of the competitive jobs, that is the ones that are open to non-federal employee applicants, are listed there. Many agencies will also list job openings on their websites.
No. There are many other factors to take into consideration when thinking about applying to a job. We hope that job seekers will use our Best Places to Work website as a resource. There are great jobs across the federal government, and low-ranking agencies may offer great opportunities to people who enjoy a challenge.