Survey: Limits on MSPB resources affect employee productivity

Tuesday - 12/11/2012, 9:40am EST

By Katie Howard
Federal News Radio

A closer look at the results of the Merit Systems Protection Board's 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) reveals that the limits of the agency's resources are having a negative effect on its employees and their ability to do their jobs.

In 2012, the MSPB averaged a positive level of 64.6 percent in the 71 core questions of the survey. This is a significant drop from the two previous surveys in which the agency received results of 69.1 percent (2011) and 70.4 percent (2010).

In the 2004 Federal Human Capital Survey, the predecessor to the FEVS, 76.8 percent of MSPB respondents indicated that they had sufficient resources, including people, to get the job done. In 2011, positive responses to this question were below 76 percent for the first time, falling to 46.2 percent. Positive responses fell even further in 2012 to 39.5 percent.

Survey findings

MSPB employees, did however, remain positive on several questions that focus on individual and departmental mission rather than resources. More than 90 percent of employees had positive perceptions regarding:

  • The specific kind of work they do.
  • Their individual willingness to put in the extra effort to get a job done.
  • The belief that their work and contribution is important.
  • The overall quality of work produced by their work unit as a whole.

The survey results might prove insightful to MSPB in areas where employees indicated contrasting results. For example, 91.3 percent of the participants responded positively about the overall quality of their group work but then the number plummeted to 37.4 percent when asked if proactive steps are taken in a work unit to specifically address poor performers.

Both work life (92.1 percent) and liking the work they do (92.5 percent) were high-scoring areas among employees, but 39.5 percent found they had sufficient resources to do their work and only 37.6 percent thought creativity and innovation were rewarded.

Survey sample

All of MSPB's career civil service employees as of January 2012 were invited to participate in the survey, which was conducted online from April 4 to May 16, 2012. Invitations to participate in the survey were sent bt email to the entire sample, which didn't include political appointees. The survey was distributed to 202 MSPB employees, of whom 140 responded for an overall response rate of 69.3 percent. Due to MSPB's small size, the agency did not request demographic data, other than bargaining unit status and location (field/headquarters). As of Nov. 20, 2012, the Office of Personnel Management has not provided this data to MSPB.