Monday, March 26, 2007

New MSPB Report Released

The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board has released a new report entitled, "Accomplishing Our Mission: Results of the Merit Principles Survey 2005."

The report results are based on responses of nearly 37,000 federal employees who responded to an online survey. There's a lot of goodness in here, not just for federal employers. Like what, you ask? Let's take a look...


- 76% of respondents recommended the Government as a place to work. This seems like a pretty good number, and it's a huge leap from 2000 when it was 52%.

- Specific organization recommendations varied depending on where folks were in the chain of command--higher ups were much more likely to recommend working for their agency. For example, around 84% at the Executive level recommended it, while about 64% of nonsupervisors did.

- The agency percentage also varied widely by organization. NASA was at the top with a 83% recommendation rate while Education was at the bottom with only 50%.

- By a wide margin, the #1 obstacle faced by supervisors and managers when hiring was a shortage of qualified applicants (38%). The report authors wisely point out that this could be an actual talent shortage but could also point to problems with the speed of the hiring process and/or the quality of selection tools used.

- Of the six areas asked about (including appraisals, discipline, etc.) "advancement" received the lowest marks for "extent to which you believe you have been treated fairly" (37%). This dubious distinction is identical to previous surveys and does not bode well for either recruitment or retention.


- About 25% of respondents indicated they were likely to leave their agency in the next year. This isn't surprising given the feds are anticipating 60% of their workforce will be eligible to retire over the next 10 years.

- Why are people leaving? The top reason was a virtual tie between "Opportunity to earn more money" and "Increased opportunities for advancement." This is the same result as previous years (although a bit more pronounced this time around).

- In terms of getting people to stay, there were big differences between retirement eligible and non-retirement eligible respondents. The latter were much more likely to stay for "Opportunity to better use skills and abilities", "Opportunity to earn more money", "Desire to make more of a difference", and "Increased opportunities for advancement."

Final thoughts

There's a lot more in this report, including some great data on training methods, discrimination, recognition, and motivation, the last of which you have to see (check out page 48; hint: money ain't everything).

On a side note, I was saddened to see that OPM, which does such good work, had some of the lowest ratings--again--on questions like "My agency produces high quality products and services" (granted there were a lot of low scores on that one), "The workforce has job-relevant knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish organizational goals" and "I would recommend my agency as a place to work." Job security at OPM was the second-lowest among all agencies surveyed and the percent that will likely leave the agency in the next 12 months was tied for second-highest.

Anybody from OPM care to comment? I bet I could increase your applicant pool if you'd open a West coast office...

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