2020 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 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 U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. The more the question predicts intent to remain, the higher the weighting.

  • I recommend my organization as a good place to work. (Q. 17)
  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job? (Q. 36)
  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your organization? (Q. 38)
Effective Leadership: Senior Leaders
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.

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, on which the Best Places to Work rankings are based, was amended in 2020, omitting some questions that appeared in previous editions of the survey. Consequently, the FEVS questions that make up our 2020 workplace categories may not be the same as those from previous years. Further, in the 2020 edition of the Best Places to Work rankings, the Partnership changed how it calculates the percentage of positive responses to the FEVS questions. Therefore, 2020 category scores should not be compared to scores from previous years.

The 2020 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. 
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. 25) 
  • I have a high level of respect for my organization’s senior leaders. (Q. 31) 
  • In my organization, senior leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce. (Q. 26) 
  • My organization’s senior leaders maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. (Q. 27) 
  • 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. 21) 
  • How satisfied are you with your involvement in decisions that affect your work? (Q. 33) 
  • How satisfied are you with the information you receive from management on what’s going on in your organization? (Q. 34)
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.

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, on which the Best Places to Work rankings are based, was amended in 2020, omitting some questions that appeared in previous editions of the survey. Consequently, the FEVS questions that make up our 2020 workplace categories may not be the same as those from previous years. Further, in the 2020 edition of the Best Places to Work rankings, the Partnership changed how it calculates the percentage of positive responses to the FEVS questions. Therefore, 2020 category scores should not be compared to scores from previous years.
  • How satisfied are you with your involvement in decisions that affect your work? (Q. 33)
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 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, on which the Best Places to Work rankings are based, was amended in 2020, omitting some questions that appeared in previous editions of the survey. Consequently, the FEVS questions that make up our 2020 workplace categories may not be the same as those from previous years. Further, in the 2020 edition of the Best Places to Work rankings, the Partnership changed how it calculates the percentage of positive responses to the FEVS questions. Therefore, 2020 category scores should not be compared to scores from previous years.
The 2020 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. 
Non-Supervisor
Anyone who does not have supervisory responsibilities.
  • I have a high level of respect for my organization’s senior leaders. (Q. 31) 
  • In my organization, senior leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce. (Q. 26) 
  • My organization’s senior leaders maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. (Q. 27) 
  • How satisfied are you with the information you receive from management on what’s going on in your organization? (Q. 34) 
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.

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, on which the Best Places to Work rankings are based, was amended in 2020, omitting some questions that appeared in previous editions of the survey. Consequently, the FEVS questions that make up our 2020 workplace categories may not be the same as those from previous years. Further, in the 2020 edition of the Best Places to Work rankings, the Partnership changed how it calculates the percentage of positive responses to the FEVS questions. Therefore, 2020 category scores should not be compared to scores from previous years.

The 2020 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. 
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. 25) 
  • Supervisors in my work unit support employee development. (Q. 21) 
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.

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, on which the Best Places to Work rankings are based, was amended in 2020, omitting some questions that appeared in previous editions of the survey. Consequently, the FEVS questions that make up our 2020 workplace categories may not be the same as those from previous years. Further, in the 2020 edition of the Best Places to Work rankings, the Partnership changed how it calculates the percentage of positive responses to the FEVS questions. Therefore, 2020 category scores should not be compared to scores from previous years.
  • 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.

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, on which the Best Places to Work rankings are based, was amended in 2020, omitting some questions that appeared in previous editions of the survey. Consequently, the FEVS questions that make up our 2020 workplace categories may not be the same as those from previous years. Further, in the 2020 edition of the Best Places to Work rankings, the Partnership changed how it calculates the percentage of positive responses to the FEVS questions. Therefore, 2020 category scores should not be compared to scores from previous years.
  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your pay? (Q. 37) 
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 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, on which the Best Places to Work rankings are based, was amended in 2020, omitting some questions that appeared in previous editions of the survey. Consequently, the FEVS questions that make up our 2020 workplace categories may not be the same as those from previous years. Further, in the 2020 edition of the Best Places to Work rankings, the Partnership changed how it calculates the percentage of positive responses to the FEVS questions. Therefore, 2020 category scores should not be compared to scores from previous years.
  • 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. 29) 
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.

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, on which the Best Places to Work rankings are based, was amended in 2020, omitting some questions that appeared in previous editions of the survey. Consequently, the FEVS questions that make up our 2020 workplace categories may not be the same as those from previous years. Further, in the 2020 edition of the Best Places to Work rankings, the Partnership changed how it calculates the percentage of positive responses to the FEVS questions. Therefore, 2020 category scores should not be compared to scores from previous years.
  • 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.

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, on which the Best Places to Work rankings are based, was amended in 2020, omitting some questions that appeared in previous editions of the survey. Consequently, the FEVS questions that make up our 2020 workplace categories may not be the same as those from previous years. Further, in the 2020 edition of the Best Places to Work rankings, the Partnership changed how it calculates the percentage of positive responses to the FEVS questions. Therefore, 2020 category scores should not be compared to scores from previous years.
  • My supervisor supports my need to balance work and other life issues. (Q. 19) 
  • My workload is reasonable. (Q. 5) 
The Recognition category measures the extent to which employees feel they are recognized for their performance and innovative contributions to their workplaces.

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, on which the Best Places to Work rankings are based, was amended in 2020, omitting some questions that appeared in previous editions of the survey. Consequently, the FEVS questions that make up our 2020 workplace categories may not be the same as those from previous years. Further, in the 2020 edition of the Best Places to Work rankings, the Partnership changed how it calculates the percentage of positive responses to the FEVS questions. Therefore, 2020 category scores should not be compared to scores from previous years.
  • Employees are recognized for providing high-quality products and services. (Q. 14) 
  • How satisfied are you with the recognition you receive for doing a good job? (Q. 35) 
The COVID-19 workplace category measures the extent to which employees feel that their organization supported their mental and physical well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, provided the resources they needed to do their work, had leaders who communicated effectively and prioritized their welfare, and successfully delivered on their mission.

The overall COVID-19 category score is calculated by taking an average of an organization’s four COVID-19 subcategory scores:  

  • COVID-19: Employee Well-Being 
  • COVID-19: Job Resources 
  • COVID-19: Supportive Leaders 
  • COVID-19: Agency Performance 

 

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.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, my organization’s senior leaders have demonstrated commitment to employee health and safety. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, my organization’s senior leaders have supported policies and procedures to protect employee health and safety. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, my organization’s senior leaders have provided effective communications about the pandemic. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, my supervisor has shown concern for my health and safety. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, my supervisor has supported my efforts to stay healthy and safe while working. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, my supervisor has created an environment where I can voice my concerns about staying healthy and safe. 
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. 
  • More information on available leave policies. 
  • Expanded mental health resources (e.g., assistance with stress of COVID-19). 
  • Expanded physical health resources (e.g., temperature checks, COVID-19 illness testing) at my agency worksite. 
  • Timely communication about possible COVID-19 illness at my agency worksite. 
  • Protection of employees at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 exposure. 
  • Limited access to my agency worksite buildings/facilities (e.g., closures, limits on activities with external visitors/groups). 
  • Social distancing (e.g., limits on group size, reduced access to common areas) in my agency worksite. 
  • Rearranged workspaces to maximize social distancing. 
  • Encouraged use of personal protective equipment or other safety equipment in my agency worksite. 
  • Cleaning and sanitizing supplies available to reduce risk of illness in my agency worksite. 
  • Training for all employees on health and safety protocols. 
The COVID-19 Job Resources subcategory measures the extent to which employees feel that their organization supported their work 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, or not needed.
  • Consistent communication (e.g., organizational status, what to expect). 
  • Training for new/changed work or work processes because of the pandemic. 
  • Reallocation of resources (e.g., staffing, budget, materials) to support changes in work because of the pandemic. 
  • Help with commuting issues (e.g., alternatives to public transportation). 
  • Options for work/business travel. 
  • Information on remote work policies, procedures and expectations. 
  • Training on how to work remotely. 
  • Equipment and technology for working remotely (e.g., laptops, cell phone, Information Technology infrastructure). 
  • Expanded collaboration tools (e.g., video conferencing, teleconferencing). 
  • Expanded training for using remote work tools and applications. 
  • Expanded Information Technology (IT) support. 
  • Information about data security policies and procedures. 
The COVID-19 Agency Performance subcategory measures the extent to which employees feel that their work units operated effectively during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, my work unit has met the needs of our customers. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, my work unit has contributed positively to my agency’s performance. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, my work unit has produced high-quality work. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, my work unit has adapted to changing priorities. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, my work unit has successfully collaborated. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, my work unit has achieved our goals. 
Note about 2020 data
In 2020, the Partnership changed how it calculates the percentage of positive responses to the FEVS questions. Therefore, the 2020 scores should not be compared to scores from previous years. For more information, see the Methodology section.
Large Agencies
Midsize Agencies
Small Agencies
Agency Subcomponents
Rank Agency 2020 2019
Quartile Key
Lower Quartile (0-25%)
Below Median (25-50%)
Above Median (50-75%)
Upper Quartile (75-100%)
The FEVS and the Best Places to Work rankings separate the different components of the Department of Defense. They are the Department of the Air Force; Department of the Army; Department of the Navy; and the combined units comprising the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, Defense Agencies and Department of Defense Field Activities. The 2020 Best Places to Work engagement score for the entire Department of Defense is 69.8.