Analysis

Agency Headlines


Agencies at the Top

For the fifth year in a row, NASA increased its Best Places to Work score and has retained its standing as the number one large agency. The space agency’s employee engagement score is 78.6 out of 100, a 2.5-point increase from 2015. NASA is followed by the Department of Commerce, with a score of 67.9, and the intelligence community, which received a score of 67.0.

In the midsize category, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation once again took top honors with a score of 80.7, followed by the Peace Corps and the Government Accountability Office each at 79.7.

The top-ranked small agency is the National Endowment for the Arts, with its score jumping 16.6 points to 85.9, followed by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation at 84.7. For the second straight year, the top agency subcomponent is the Office of the Inspector General at the Tennessee Valley Authority, with a score of 93.3, followed by the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division at 85.9.

Large Agencies Index Score
National Aeronautics and Space Administration 78.6
Department of Commerce 67.9
Intelligence Community 67.0
Midsize Agencies Index Score
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 80.7
Government Accountability Office 79.7
Peace Corps 79.7
Small Agencies Index Score
National Endowment for the Arts 85.9
Overseas Private Investment Corporation 84.7
Office of Management and Budget 82.7

Agencies on the Rise

The most improved large agency is the Department of Agriculture, which raised its score by 3.7 points and its ranking from 11th to 9th. The Department of Homeland Security had the second biggest increase for large agencies, improving 2.7 points for a score of 45.8. DHS’s increase marks its first since 2010, although it still ranks last out of 18 large agencies.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is the most improved midsize agency, with a 7.5-point increase and a score of 76.1.

Among small agencies, the National Endowment for the Arts saw the most improvement, with a 16.6-point increase. The International Boundary and Water Commission registered an increase of 14.4 points and a score of 64.7. It is the second-most improved small agency, but still ranks just 17th out of 29.

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

Large Agencies Point Change
Department of Agriculture 3.7
Department of Homeland Security 2.7
Department of Labor 2.6
Midsize Agencies Point Change
Securities and Exchange Commission 7.5
National Archives and Records Administration 6.3
Department of Housing and Urban Development 5.9
Small Agencies Point Change
National Endowment for the Arts 16.6
International Boundary and Water Commission 14.4
Millennium Challenge Corporation 12.5

Agencies Falling Behind

While many agencies improved when it comes to employee engagement in 2016, some had a more difficult time than others.

Employees at the Social Security Administration, for example, experienced the biggest decrease in employee engagement among large agencies, with a drop of 2.9 points. No other large agency saw its score fall by more than 0.7 points in 2016.

The biggest decline for a midsize agency occurred at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which dropped 3.5 points to a score of 70.2 and a rank of 12th out of 27 agencies. NRC’s score has declined five times in the last six years.

In the small agency category, the Surface Transportation Board had the largest decline, dropping 14.9 points for a score of 64.9. This comes on the heels of a 7-point decline in 2015. The Surface Transportation Board was the number one ranked small agency from 2009 to 2014, but fell to number five in 2015 and 16th out of 29 in 2016. The Federal Election Commission, which dropped 6.6 points, ranks last among the 29 small agencies and had the lowest score (28.4) in the entire federal government.

Large Agencies Point Change
Social Security Administration -2.9
Department of the Air Force -0.7
Department of Justice -0.6
Midsize Agencies Point Change
Nuclear Regulatory Commission -3.5
National Labor Relations Board -2.8
Department of Education -1.5
Small Agencies Point Change
Surface Transportation Board -14.9
Federal Election Commission -6.6
Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board -5.5