2021 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings

Overall Rankings
Rankings by Category

The overall rankings are determined by the Best Places to Work employee engagement and satisfaction score, calculated by the Partnership for Public Service and the Boston Consulting Group.
The index score is not a combined average of an agency’s category scores. It is calculated using a proprietary weighted formula that looks at responses to three different questions in the federal survey. The more the question predicts intent to remain, the higher the weighting.

  • I recommend my organization as a good place to work. (Q. 23)  
  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job? (Q. 42)  
  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your organization? (Q. 44)  
Effective Leadership: Empowerment
The Effective Leadership category measures the extent to which employees believe leadership at all levels of the organization generates motivation and commitment, encourages integrity and manages people fairly, while also promoting the professional development, creativity and empowerment of employees.

While this category has been included in every Best Places to Work cycle, it was changed this year to include additional leadership questions. For that reason, it should not be compared to previous year scores.

The 2021 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey included the following definitions:
Senior Leaders
The heads of departments/agencies and their immediate leadership team responsible for directing the policies and priorities of the department/agency. May hold either a political or career appointment and typically is a member of the Senior Executive Service or equivalent.
Managers
Those in management positions who typically supervise one or more supervisors.
Supervisors
First-line supervisors typically responsible for employees’ performance appraisals and leave approval.
Team Leaders
Individuals who provide employees with day-to-today guidance on projects, but do not have supervisory responsibilities or conduct performance appraisals.
Non-Supervisor
Anyone who does not have supervisory responsibilities.
  • I can disclose a suspected violation of any law, rule or regulation without fear of reprisal. (Q. 8)  
  • Supervisors in my work unit support employee development. (Q. 27) 
  • My supervisor listens to what I have to say. (Q. 28) 
  • My supervisor treat me with respect. (Q. 29) 
    I have trust and confidence in my supervisor. (Q. 30) 
    Overall, how good a job do you feel is being done by your immediate supervisor? (Q. 31) 
  • In my organization, senior leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce. (Q. 32) 
  • My organization’s senior leaders maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. (Q. 33) 
  • I have a high level of respect for my organization’s senior leaders. (Q. 37)
  • How satisfied are you with your involvement in decisions that affect your work? (Q. 39) 
  • How satisfied are you with the information you receive from management on what’s going on in your organization? (Q. 40) 
The Effective Leadership empowerment subcategory measures the extent to which employees feel empowered with respect to work processes and how satisfied they are with their involvement in decisions that affect their work.
  • How satisfied are you with your involvement in decisions that affect your work? (Q. 39) 
The Effective Leadership senior leaders subcategory measures the level of respect employees have for senior leaders, satisfaction with the amount of information provided by management and perceptions about senior leaders’ honesty, integrity and ability to motivate employees.

The 2021 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey included the following definitions:
Senior Leaders
The heads of departments/agencies and their immediate leadership team responsible for directing the policies and priorities of the department/agency. May hold either a political or career appointment and typically is a member of the Senior Executive Service or equivalent.
Managers
Those in management positions who typically supervise one or more supervisors.
Supervisors
First-line supervisors typically responsible for employees’ performance appraisals and leave approval.
Team Leaders
Individuals who provide employees with day-to-today guidance on projects, but do not have supervisory responsibilities or conduct performance appraisals.
Non-Supervisor
Anyone who does not have supervisory responsibilities.
  • I have a high level of respect for my organization’s senior leaders. (Q. 37) 
  • In my organization, senior leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce. (Q. 32) 
  • My organization’s senior leaders maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. (Q. 33) 
  • How satisfied are you with the information you receive from management on what’s going on in your organization? (Q. 40) 
The Effective Leadership supervisors subcategory measures employee opinions about their immediate supervisor’s job performance, how well supervisors give employees the opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills and the extent to which employees feel supervisors support employee development and provide worthwhile feedback about job performance.

While this category has been included in every Best Places to Work cycle, it was adapted this year to include additional leadership questions. For that reason, it should not be compared to previous year scores.

The 2021 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey included the following definitions:
Senior Leaders
The heads of departments/agencies and their immediate leadership team responsible for directing the policies and priorities of the department/agency. May hold either a political or career appointment and typically is a member of the Senior Executive Service or equivalent.
Managers
Those in management positions who typically supervise one or more supervisors.
Supervisors
First-line supervisors typically responsible for employees’ performance appraisals and leave approval.
Team Leaders
Individuals who provide employees with day-to-today guidance on projects, but do not have supervisory responsibilities or conduct performance appraisals.
Non-Supervisor
Anyone who does not have supervisory responsibilities.
  • Overall, how good a job do you feel is being done by your immediate supervisor? (Q. 31) 
  • Supervisors in my work unit support employee development. (Q. 27) 
  • My supervisor listens to what I have to say. (Q. 28) 
  • My supervisor treats me with respect. (Q. 29) 
  • I have trust and confidence in my supervisor. (Q. 30) 
The Employee Skill–Mission Match category measures the extent to which employees feel that their skills and talents are used effectively. Furthermore, it assesses the level to which employees get satisfaction from their work and understand how their jobs are relevant to the organizational mission.
  • My work gives me a feeling of personal accomplishment. (Q. 3) 
  • My talents are used well in the workplace. (Q. 6) 
  • I know how my work relates to the agency’s goals. (Q. 7) 
The Pay category measures how satisfied employees are with their compensation.
  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your pay? (Q. 43) 
The Teamwork category measures the extent to which employees believe they communicate effectively both inside and outside their team organizations, creating a friendly work atmosphere and producing high-quality work products.
  • The people I work with cooperate to get the job done. (Q. 9) 
  • Managers promote communication among different work units (for example, about projects, goals and needed resources). (Q. 35) 
The Innovation category measures employee perceptions of efforts to improve the way work is done, including their own personal motivation to promote change and the support and rewards they receive for promoting new ideas.
  • I feel encouraged to come up with new and better ways of doing things. (Q. 2) 
The Work–Life Balance category measures the extent to which employees consider their workloads reasonable and feasible, and managers support a balance between work and life.
  • My workload is reasonable. (Q. 5)  
  • My supervisor supports my need to balance work and other life issues. (Q. 25) 
The Recognition category measures the extent to which employees feel they are recognized for their performance and innovative contributions to their workplaces.
  • Employees are recognized for providing high-quality products and services. (Q. 20) 
  • How satisfied are you with the recognition you receive for doing a good job? (Q. 41) 
The COVID-19 Supportive Leaders subcategory measures the extent to which employees feel that their supervisors and senior leaders communicated effectively and prioritized their well-being during the pandemic.
  • My organization’s senior leaders demonstrate commitment to employee health and safety. (Q48) 
  • My organization’s senior leaders support policies and procedures to protect employee health and safety. (Q49) 
  • My supervisor shows concern for my health and safety. (Q51) 
  • My supervisor supports my efforts to stay healthy and safe while working. (Q52) 
  • My supervisor creates an environment where I can voice my concerns about staying healthy and safe. (Q53) 
The COVID-19 Employee Well-Being subcategory measures the extent to which employees feel that their organization supported their physical and mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey respondents were asked whether the following resources were needed and available to them, needed but not available to them, or not needed by them.
  • Expanded telework. 
  • Expanded work schedule flexibilities. 
  • Expanded leave policies. 
  • Clear guidance on COVID-19 vaccination protocols. 
  • Appropriate physical health resources (e.g. access to COVID-19 exposure) at my agency worksite. 
  • Timely communication about possible COVID-19 exposure at my agency worksite. 
  • Social distancing in my agency worksite. 
  • Encouraged use of personal protective equipment (PPE) or other safety equipment in my agency worksite. 
  • Cleaning and sanitizing performed regularly in my agency worksite to reduce risk of COVID-19 illness.  
  • A well-ventilated worksite. 
  • Clear guidance on quarantine requirements after any COVID-19 exposure. 
The COVID-19 Return to the Office subcategory measures the extent to which employees feel that their organization provided guidance and support around the transition to hybrid or in-person work.
  • My organization’s senior leaders provide effective communications about what to expect with the return to the physical worksite. (Q. 50) 
  • My agency’s leadership updates employees about return to the worksite planning. (Q. 55) 
  • In plans to return more employees to the worksite, my organization has made employee safety a top priority. (Q. 56) 
The Performance: Work Unit category measures the extent to which employees believe their immediate work unit produces high-quality work and contributes to the agency’s overall performance.
  • Employees in my work unit contribute positively to my agency’s performance. (Q. 15) 
  • Employees in my work unit produce high-quality work. (Q. 16) 
The Performance: Agency category measures the extent to which employees believe their entire agency or organization is achieving its mission.
  • My agency is successful at accomplishing its mission. (Q. 22)
Large Agencies
Midsize Agencies
Small Agencies
Agency Subcomponents
Rank Agency 2021 2020
Quartile Key
Lower Quartile (0-25%)
Below Median (25-50%)
Above Median (50-75%)
Upper Quartile (75-100%)