Government-wide Analysis

Category Findings


The 2017 Best Places to Work government-wide data show increases in employee engagement in all of the 10 workplace categories examined. The biggest increases came in the categories of support for diversity, which moved up 2.3 points and had a score of 59.1 out of 100; pay which moved up 2.0 points to 57.4; and performance-based rewards and advancement, which increased 1.9 points to 45.4.

Of the 10 workplace categories, employee skills-mission match had the highest score at 77.0, and performance-based rewards and advancement had the lowest score at 45.4.

Effective leadership underperformed again in 2017, with a score of just 54.8. Within the leadership category, the rating for senior leaders increased by 1.8 points to 47.1. Senior leaders, who routinely have been given relatively low ratings by their employees, are defined as the heads of departments and agencies as well as their immediate leadership teams. The leadership teams typically include career executives and political appointees.

Leaders have a big impact on employee engagement

Many issues influence employee engagement and their view of their jobs and workplaces. According to our analysis, effective leadership continues to be the key driver for federal employees in 2017, as it has been every year since the rankings were first launched in 2003. This category encompasses employee views on supervisors, fairness, empowerment and senior leaders.

Effective leadership has continuously been one of the lowest-rated workplace categories, and 2017 followed this trend with a score that was lower than all but rewards and advancement and strategic management.

Two other key factors that influence overall engagement are how well employees believe their skills are matched to the mission, and pay.


Government-wide Scores by Category (out of 100)

Click on the column headings to sort by change or scores by year. Click the links below to view agency rankings by category.

Category Change (2016‑17) 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2007 2005 2003
Effective Leadership 1.8 54.8 53.0 51.6 50.4 51.8 52.8 54.9 54.5 52.7 51.5 51.5 49.1
Effective Leadership: Empowerment 2.0 47.6 45.6 44.1 42.8 43.8 45.8 48.5 49.1 48.6 47.9 47.4 45.4
Effective Leadership: Fairness 2.0 56.1 54.1 52.5 51.9 52.6 53.0 54.3 53.3 49.1 46.6 47.5 46.4
Effective Leadership: Senior Leaders 1.8 47.1 45.3 43.8 42.4 45.4 46.7 49.3 49.0 47.3 45.6 45.3 42.7
Effective Leadership: Supervisors 1.6 65.3 63.7 62.8 61.5 61.8 62.3 63.9 63.3 61.9 61.5 61.8 61.7
Employee Skills–Mission Match 1.0 77.0 76.0 75.2 74.4 75.2 77.3 78.6 78.9 78.8 78.1 77.9 78.8
Pay 2.0 57.4 55.4 54.2 52.5 50.3 55.0 59.1 63.0 60.4 61.3
Strategic Management 1.3 54.6 53.3 52.3 51.2 52.6 54.7 56.8 56.4 57.2 56.0 56.4 58.1
Teamwork 1.7 66.3 64.6 63.7 62.9 63.9 64.4 65.3 65.3 71.2 70.2 71.0 67.9
Innovation 1.5 62.6 61.1 60.0 58.9 59.4 61.5 63.2 63.3
Training and Development 1.6 60.1 58.5 57.5 55.7 56.1 59.3 60.7 61.1 61.5 59.8 60.8 57.7
Work–Life Balance 1.3 60.9 59.6 59.1 58.2 58.2 60.0 60.2 60.7 62.1 61.4 62.9 63.6
Support for Diversity 2.3 59.1 56.8 55.6 55.0 54.8 55.5 57.8 56.9 60.5 58.0 58.6 60.4
Performance-Based Rewards and Advancement 1.9 45.4 43.5 42.4 40.8 41.2 43.4 45.9 46.4 45.6 44.4 43.8 42.9

Click on the graph legends to highlight selected data series. Hover over the graphs to view data by year.