OPM survey: Wide differences in agencies' human-capital efforts

Friday - 11/23/2012, 6:17pm EST

The 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, released Wednesday, is a snapshot of how federal employees view their jobs.

But the results also indicate how well federal managers are doing theirs — measuring how effective they are at recruiting and retaining a quality federal workforce.

As with overall federal-employee satisfaction scores, the Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework Index trended downward in 2012.

Habitual high-scorers, such as NASA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, continued to sit atop the list. But the report also singled out the Office of Management and Budget for its notable improvements.

Agency human capital scores

Leadership & knowledge management

Highest score: Nuclear Regulatory Commission - 74%

Lowest: Broadcasting Board of Governors 48%

Results-oriented performance culture

Highest: Federal Trade Commission - 66%

Lowest: BBG and the Homeland Security Department - 46%

Talent Management

Highest: NRC - 72%

Lowest: BBG - 48%

Job Satisfaction

Highest: NASA - 74%

Lowest: National Archives and Records Administration - 59%

The Office of Personnel Management bases the HCAAF index on a combination of four measurements from the survey: leadership and knowledge management, results- oriented performance culture, talent management and job satisfaction.

Governmentwide, scores across all of those factors fell slightly from 2011 levels. Leadership and knowledge-management scores dropped 2 percentage points to 60 percent. Scores measuring agencies' progress on creating a results-driven culture and job satisfaction also fell 2 percentage points to 52 percent and 66 percent, respectively. Talent management sustained a single point drop to 59 percent.

OPM said the 2012 results are not all that different from recent trends. "There has been very little movement from year to year," across all four factors over the past half-dozen years, the report stated.

However, there is great variability between individual agency scores. For example, 26 percentage points separated the highest and lowest scores when it came to leadership and knowledge management, and 15 percentage points between the highest- and lowest-scoring agencies on the issue of job satisfaction.

NASA and NRC, which both topped the list of high-performing agencies last year, once again made a strong showing on the HCAAF index. They were joined by the National Credit Union Administration as the top-performing agencies across all four areas.

The Office of Management and Budget was the most improved agency, posting the largest increases from 2011 levels of any agency in the HCAAF index. OMB leaped 10 percentage points in leadership and knowledge management and nearly as high in the other areas.

OMB managers poured over last year's survey results to identify areas to improve upon, said Jeff Zients, acting OMB director. The agency's improvement "reflects the dedicated efforts of OMB managers and employees to make improvements in areas that the [survey] highlighted," he said in OPM's report. "We plan to continue these efforts in the coming year and encourage all agency leaders to do the same."

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