Agency Analysis

Agency Headlines


Agencies at the Top

For the seventh consecutive year, 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 81.2 out of 100, a 0.3-point increase from 2017. The Department of Health and Human Services ranks second among large agencies, increasing its score for the fourth consecutive year to 70.9.

In the midsize category, the Federal Trade Commission took top honors with a score of 84.0 and moved up from fourth place in 2017. It is followed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at 83.9 and the Securities and Exchange Commission with a score of 82.1.

The top-ranked small agency for the second year in a row is the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service with a score of 87.2, followed by the U.S. International Trade Commission at 85.7.
The Office of the General Counsel at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Office of the Inspector General at the Tennessee Valley Authority tied for the top honor among agency subcomponents with scores of 95.0.

Large AgenciesEngagement Score
National Aeronautics and Space Administration81.2
Department of Health and Human Services70.9
Department of Commerce70.3
Midsize AgenciesEngagement Score
Federal Trade Commission84.0
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission83.9
Securities and Exchange Commission82.1
Small AgenciesEngagement Score
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service87.2
U.S. International Trade Commission85.7
Congressional Budget Office85.3

Agencies on the Rise

The most improved large federal organization is the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, Defense Agencies and the Department of Defense Field Activities, which raised its score by 2.1 points to 63.2.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Small Business Administration tied for the most improved midsize agency, each rising 2.6 points. The Federal Election Commission saw the biggest improvement among small agencies with a 9.6 point increase, although it ranks 25th out of 29 small agencies. The Secret Service is the most improved agency subcomponent with an 11 point increase, although it ranks 398th out of 415 subcomponents.

Large AgenciesPoint Change
Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, Defense Agencies, and Department of Defense Field Activities2.1
Department of Commerce1.1
Department of the Homeland Security1.1
Midsize AgenciesPoint Change
Federal Trade Commission2.6
Small Business Administration2.6
Department of Energy1.9
Small AgenciesPoint Change
Federal Election Commission9.6
Federal Maritime Commission6.9
Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board6.9

Agencies Falling Behind

While a number of agencies were successful in creating a more robust and positive work environment, others faced great difficulties.

The Department of Agriculture experienced the biggest decrease in employee engagement among large agencies, dropping 6.9 points to a score of 59.0 and from seventh to 16th place in the rankings. For the second consecutive year, the Department of State experienced a decline in employee engagement, dropping 3.3 points to a score of 60.7 and falling from eighth to 14th place in the rankings.

In the midsize category, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s score declined by 25.2 points to 51.7, resulting in a fall in the rankings from seventh to 26th place. The National Labor Relations Board’s score decreased by 12.6 points to 55.3 while the Department of Education dropped 12.4 points and was last in the rankings with a score of 47.3.

In the small agency category, the Federal Labor Relations Authority’s score dropped by 31 points to 41.6. The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office at the Department of Homeland Security experienced the biggest decline among subcomponents, falling 46.9 points for a score of 13.7, while DHS, its parent agency, went up 1.1 points.

Government-wide, employee engagement declined in 59.1 percent of the federal organizations included in the rankings, while only 39.6 percent of federal organizations registered increases and 1.3 percent stayed the same. This represents a stark contrast to the previous three years when more than 70 percent of federal organizations experienced gains in how employees viewed their jobs and workplaces.

Large AgenciesPoint Change
Department of Agriculture-6.9
Department of State-3.3
Social Security Administration-1.1
Department of the Interior-1.1
Department of Justice-1.1
Midsize AgenciesPoint Change
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau-25.2
National Labor Relations Board-12.6
Department of Education-12.4
Small AgenciesPoint Change
Federal Labor Relations Authority-31.0
Export-Import Bank of the United States-18.1
National Endowment for the Arts-7.9