Government-Wide Findings By Category

Government-Wide Findings By Category

A Look Across the Federal Government

As part of the Best Places to Work analysis, the Partnership and BCG measure views on 12 aspects of the employee experience and provide a government-wide score and individual agency scores for those specific issues.  

In 2021, federal employees continued to value the personal and work-related assistance provided by leaders during the pandemic and maintained highly positive views of supervisors. But longstanding leadership shortcomings are evident regarding senior leaders and the issue of employee empowerment.  

The overall effective leadership category marked a score of 68.0 out of 100. Within the effective leadership category, the differential between views of supervisors (79.8 out of 100) versus senior leaders (56.1) is consistent with past Best Places to Work findings, and in 2021 may reflect the vital role supervisors have played during the pandemic. This differential, and the fact that employees gave higher scores for effective leadership at the small and midsize agencies than they did for those at the large agencies, may also signal the importance of leadership communication and interpersonal trust. 

Two new categories assess agency and work unit performance, which were developed to measure employees’ perception of how effectively their organizations are achieving the mission. It is important that employees understand the connection between their work and the larger goals of the agency, especially with alarmingly low levels of public trust in government

While employees have overwhelmingly positive views of the performance of their work unit (84.9 out of 100) and nearly as positive of views of the performance of their agencies (79.9), employees do not feel the view is tangibly reciprocated. Overall scores assessing whether employees believe agencies recognize their good work through awards and advancement stood at just 59.8, down slightly from 2020.  

On other work-related issues, federal agencies posted a score of 73.2 out of 100 for the match between employee skills and agency missions; 72.8 for work-life balance; 71.1 for teamwork; 64.4 for agency efforts to be innovative; and 61.2 for satisfaction with pay. Scores in all five of these areas went down in 2021, but with a 5.8 point drop, satisfaction with pay had the largest score decrease across all categories compared to 2020, reflecting the only 1% pay increase that year. Pay and innovation were the only workplace categories where scores dropped at large, midsize, and small agencies. 

The 2021 Best Places to Work data also shows that employees responded mostly favorably to how their agencies handled work-related issues during the height of the pandemic, with the COVID-19 response category regarding employee physical and mental well-being garnering a score of 85.2 out of 100 and the supportive leadership COVID category with a score of 79.3. The Covid category dealing with communication regarding the transition to the physical workplace has a score of just 63.0. 

Government-wide Scores by Category

*Due to changes in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey  participation and calculation methodology, workplace category scores from 2021 can only be compared to 2020. Workplace scores from 2019 can only be compared to 2018, and scores can be compared from 2003 to 2017.  

*Because the Department of Veterans Affairs and several other agencies did not participate in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and instead decided to administer their own internal surveys, they are not included in federal government-wide workplace category scores, but are part of the agency rankings.