Analysis

Agency Headlines


Agencies at the Top

For the sixth year in a row, NASA increased its Best Places to Work score and has retained its standing as the number one large federal agency. The space agency’s employee engagement score is 80.9 out of 100, a 2.3-point increase from 2016. NASA is followed by the Department of Health and Human Services, with a score of 70.4, and the Department of Commerce, which received a score of 69.2.

In the midsize category, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission took top honors with a score of 82.9, followed by the Government Accountability Office at 82.5 and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation with a score of 81.9.

In a field reduced from 29 agencies in 2016 to seven in 2017, the top-ranked small agency is the Overseas Private Investment Corporation with a score of 79.8. OPIC is followed by the Office of Management and Budget at 75.4 and the Millennium Challenge Corporation at 73.8. OMB, however, lost ground during 2017, dropping 7.3 points in its Best Places to Work score. OPIC, despite earning the highest score in the reduced field of small agencies, lost 4.9 points.

For the third straight year, the top agency subcomponent is the Office of the Inspector General at the Tennessee Valley Authority, with a score of 92.1, followed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center at 83.5. Only 150 agency subcomponents were included in the Best Places to Work rankings this year, compared to 305 in 2016.

Large Agencies Index Score
National Aeronautics and Space Administration 80.9
Department of Health and Human Services 70.4
Department of Commerce 69.2
Midsize Agencies Index Score
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 82.9
Government Accountability Office 82.5
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 81.9
Small Agencies Index Score
Overseas Private Investment Corporation 79.8
Office of Management and Budget 75.4
Millennium Challenge Corporation 73.8

Agencies on the Rise

The most improved large agency is the Department of Homeland Security, which raised its score by 6.2 points but still ranks last out of 18 agencies in this category. The Department of the Army had the second biggest increase for large agencies, improving 4.6 points for a score of 62.4.

The National Labor Relations Board is the most improved midsize agency, with a 7.4-point increase and a score of 67.9. The Small Business Administration’s score rose 7.3 points, making it the second most improved midsize agency.

Among small agencies available for review, the Millennium Challenge Corporation saw the most improvement, with a 13.8-point increase.

Among individual federal organizations, 74.0 percent saw their overall employee engagement scores increase in 2017, compared to 72.3 percent in 2016, 70.4 percent in 2015, 43.1 percent in 2014 and just 24 percent in 2013.

Large Agencies Point Change
Department of Homeland Security 6.2
Department of the Army 4.6
Midsize Agencies Point Change
National Labor Relations Board 7.4
Small Business Administration 7.3
Small Agencies Point Change
Millennium Challenge Corporation 13.8

Agencies Falling Behind

While many agencies improved when it comes to employee engagement in 2017, some had a more difficult time than others.

Employees at the Department of State, where many senior leadership positions remain unfilled, experienced the biggest decrease in engagement among large agencies, with a drop of 2.8 points. The intelligence community, which has experienced a tenuous relationship with the president, saw its score fall by 0.4 points. The Department of Justice also lost ground, shedding 2 points.

The biggest decline for a midsize agency occurred at the National Credit Union Administration, which dropped 2.9 points to a score of 69.0 and a rank of 13th out of 25 agencies. The Environmental Protection Agency also bucked the overall positive trend, declining by almost one point.

Large Agencies Point Change
Department of State -2.8
Department of Justice -2.0
Intelligence Community -0.4
Midsize Agencies Point Change
National Credit Union Administration -2.9
Environmental Protection Agency -0.9