The federal government faces many critical challenges, from protecting national security, public health and the environment to rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, managing immigration and ensuring energy independence.
The level of engagement by federal employees—their satisfaction with their jobs and workplaces, and their commitment to the mission of their agencies—can be important factors in how well they perform and whether agencies can effectively accomplish their goals and effectively serve the public interest.
For a second year in a row, the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte expanded on the traditional Best Places to Work rankings of large, midsize, small and agency subcomponents by placing a select group of agencies into five mission areas: public health, law enforcement and border protection, national security, energy and environment, and infrastructure.
The purpose of ranking by mission area is to examine agencies that have similar responsibilities and employ workers with comparable occupations to see if there are commonalities or discrepancies in employee engagement. The data will allow leaders to compare their organizations to other agencies in their field, see where they are excelling or falling short, and gain insights about how they can better meet the needs of their workers and ultimately the American public.
The 2016 data show wide disparities among agencies within each mission area. The Coast Guard, for example, tops the law enforcement and border protection category with a Best Places to Work employee engagement score of 71.1 out of 100, while the Secret Service is at the bottom with a score of 32.8. Among energy and environment agencies, there is a 32.1-point gap between the top-scoring Environment and Natural Resources Division at the Department of Justice and the last agency in this category, the National Park Service. In fact, in no instance is the gap between the top and bottom-ranked agency in a mission area smaller than 21 points.
Last year, we grouped 75 organizations into six mission areas: public health, law enforcement, national security, energy and environment, financial regulation and oversight. This year, we made some changes, grouping 69 organizations into five mission areas that not only represent critical challenges faced by the country, but reflect some of the priorities of the Trump administration and the 115th Congress.
Each of the five mission groups was reviewed by independent experts. Each agency belongs to only one group on the list. Inclusion in one of the mission groups is dependent on the agency’s participation in the overall Best Places to Work rankings.