Methodology

The Partnership for Public Service created the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings to provide a comprehensive rating of employee satisfaction and commitment across federal government agencies and their subcomponents.

The 2013 Best Places to Work rankings include 371 federal organizations (19 large federal agencies, 23 mid-size agencies, 29 small agencies and 300 subcomponents). Large agencies are those organizations with more than 15,000 full-time permanent employees. Agencies with 1,000 to 14,999 full-time permanent employees are included in the mid-size category. Small agencies are those with at least 100 but fewer than 1,000 full-time permanent employees.

The vast majority of the data used to develop these rankings was collected by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) through its Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). The survey was administered April 23 through June 14, 2013, to full-time and part-time permanent executive branch employees. The survey was completed by more than 376,000 federal workers, for a response rate of 48.2 percent. Participating agencies account for 97 percent of the executive branch workforce. The Best Places to Work rankings also include responses from about 10,000 additional employees at eight agencies who were surveyed at the same time and had a response rate of more than 50 percent. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Government Accountability Office, Smithsonian Institution, Government Printing Office, Farm Credit Administration, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Peace Corps and the Army Audit Agency provided data from their own surveys. In addition, the rankings incorporate responses from employees of the Intelligence Community, which conducted its own similar survey but did not report the number of respondents due to classification restrictions.

The OPM data were weighted to represent all federal employees covered by the survey, accounting for probabilities of selection, as well as demographic characteristics such as age, gender, race, supervisory status and agency size. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for results based on the entire employee sample.  

The Best Places to Work statistical model, developed with CFI Group in 2003, is based on the same methodology used in its American Consumer Satisfaction Index. The Best Places to Work index is calculated by the percentage of positive responses to three workplace satisfaction questions (see table below) and is weighted according to a proprietary formula. The workplace environment scores are calculated by averaging the percentage of positive responses to questions in 10 categories, including effective leadership, employee skills–mission match, pay and work–life balance. A regression analysis is then performed to determine the categories with the most influence on the Best Places to Work satisfaction and commitment score. The category for alternative work and employee support programs includes responses from program participants only, and those who said “No Basis to Judge” are removed from the calculation.

The Partnership would like to thank OPM for its excellent administration of the FEVS, without which the Best Places to Work rankings would not be possible.


FEVS Questions by Best Places to Work Category

Click on the category links below to see the category scores and rankings.

Best Places to Work Category 2013 FEVS Question Question #
Best Places to Work Index I recommend my organization as a good place to work 40
Best Places to Work Index Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job? 69
Best Places to Work Index Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your organization? 71
Alternative Work and Employee Support Programs How satisfied are your with... Telework? (participants only) 79
Alternative Work and Employee Support Programs How satisfied are your with... Alternative Work Schedules (AWS)? (participants only) 80
Alternative Work and Employee Support Programs How satisfied are your with... Health and Wellness Programs (for example, exercise, medical screening, quit smoking programs)? (participants only) 81
Alternative Work and Employee Support Programs How satisfied are your with... Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? (participants only) 82
Alternative Work and Employee Support Programs How satisfied are your with... Child Care Programs (for example, daycare, parenting classes, parenting support groups)? (participants only) 83
Alternative Work and Employee Support Programs How satisfied are your with... Elder Care Programs (for example, support groups, speakers)? (participants only) 84
Effective Leadership: Empowerment Employees have a feeling of personal empowerment with respect to work processes 30
Effective Leadership: Empowerment How satisfied are you with your involvement in decisions that affect your work? 63
Effective Leadership: Fairness I can disclose a suspected violation of any law, rule or regulation without fear of reprisal 17
Effective Leadership: Fairness Arbitrary action, personal favoritism and coercion for partisan political purposes are not tolerated 37
Effective Leadership: Leader In my organization, leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce 53
Effective Leadership: Leader My organization’s leaders maintain high standards of honesty and integrity 54
Effective Leadership: Leader I have a high level of respect for my organization’s senior leaders 61
Effective Leadership: Leader How satisfied are you with the information you receive from management on what’s going on in your organization? 64
Effective Leadership: Supervisor My supervisor/team leader provides me with opportunities to demonstrate my leadership skills 43
Effective Leadership: Supervisor Discussions with my supervisor/team leader about my performance are worthwhile 44
Effective Leadership: Supervisor Supervisors/team leaders in my work unit support employee development 47
Effective Leadership: Supervisor Overall, how good a job do you feel is being done by your immediate supervisor/team leader? 52
Employee Skills–Mission Match My work gives me a feeling of personal accomplishment 4
Employee Skills–Mission Match I like the kind of work I do 5
Employee Skills–Mission Match My talents are used well in the workplace 11
Employee Skills–Mission Match I know how my work relates to the agency’s goals and priorities 12
Employee Skills–Mission Match The work I do is important 13
Pay Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your pay? 70
Performance-Based Rewards and Advancement My performance appraisal is a fair reflection of my performance 15
Performance-Based Rewards and Advancement Promotions in my work unit are based on merit 22
Performance-Based Rewards and Advancement Employees are rewarded for providing high quality products and services 31
Performance-Based Rewards and Advancement Creativity and innovation are rewarded 32
Performance-Based Rewards and Advancement How satisfied are you with the recognition you receive for doing a good job? 65
Performance-Based Rewards and Advancement How satisfied are you with your opportunity to get a better job in your organization? 67
Strategic Management My work unit is able to recruit people with the right skills 21
Strategic Management The skill level in my work unit has improved in the past year 27
Strategic Management The workforce has the job-relevant knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish organizational goals 29
Strategic Management Managers review and evaluate the organization’s progress toward meeting its goals and objectives 57
Support for Diversity Policies and programs promote diversity in the workplace (for example, recruiting minorities and women, training in awareness of diversity issues, mentoring). 34
Support for Diversity My supervisor/team leader is committed to a workforce representative of all segments of society 45
Support for Diversity Managers/supervisors/team leaders work well with employees of different backgrounds 55
Teamwork The people I work with cooperate to get the job done 20
Teamwork Employees in my work unit share job knowledge with each other 26
Teamwork Managers promote communication among different work units (for example, about projects, goals, needed resources) 58
Training and Development I am given a real opportunity to improve my skills in my organization 1
Training and Development I have enough information to do my job well 2
Training and Development My training needs are assessed 18
Training and Development How satisfied are you with the training you receive for your present job? 68
Work–Life Balance I have sufficient resources (for example, people, materials, budget) to get my job done 9
Work–Life Balance My workload is reasonable 10
Work–Life Balance My supervisor supports my need to balance work and other life issues. 42

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