The quarterly Greatest Places to Work in the Federal Government, released April 1, shocked federal workers with its latest findings. The Office of Personnel Management shot up 20 percent in just a couple of months. OPM topped the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as the favorite place for feds to be employed.
OPM ranked just 15th of 27 mid-sized federal agencies in a similar poll last year scoring 66.2 percent. Even in the face of a hiring freeze that is challenging OPM workers, first quarter numbers just released by the Personnel for Optimism and Organization Program (POOP) shows morale has risen nearly 20 percent to 85 for the period ending March 30. FDIC remains steady at 81 percent.
The credit is being given to OPM’s Acting Director Kathleen McGettigan who took a management page out of U.S. Geological Survey Acting Director William Werkheiser’s management book. Werkheiser started “Breakfast with Bill” where he eats breakfast in the cafeteria and encourages employees to join him, share their concerns and ask him questions. The acting director also hosts town hall meetings and participates in fireside chats with employees.
OPM already holds town halls to promote openness, but McGettigan added a personal touch to meeting employees, according to POOP. She hosts happy hour at the local eatery Tail Wagging the Dog from 5 p.m until 6 p.m on Thursdays. She calls it “Crocked with Kitty” and the attendance has been spectacular. There is even talk of having President Trump appear in June to personally tell federal employees how thankful he is for all their hard work.
In spite of the good news at some federal agencies morale problems still exist in some quarters. For example, there is a 22.2 percent difference between private sector and feds in how employees about how employees are rewarded for providing high quality products and services. Private workers are 21.6 percent more likely to think their skills are better used in the workplace. Twenty percent of private employees feel more encouraged to develop new and better ways of doing things.