OPM searches for candid answers from departing SES members

Tuesday - 3/26/2013, 6:26pm EDT

Carol Bonosaro, president of the SEA, discusses the importance of the new survey.

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Members of the Senior Executive Service will soon be asked to fill out a new survey when leaving their government jobs.

"The exit survey will capture valuable information regarding the circumstances under which executives leave the federal government and offer an opportunity for executives to provide candid feedback about their work experience," according to a memo from Angela Bailey, the associate director of employee services at the Office of Personnel Management.

The most detailed questions on the survey ask employees to define the contributing factors that led to their departures and what could have been done to encourage them to stay in their positions.

Click here to view full sample questions from the survey.

The survey also asks employees to describe why they are leaving their agency (retiring, resigning, transferring, leaving involuntarily), their plans for employment or retirement once they leave, and whether they would recommend their agency and SES to others.

OPM said it hopes the surveys will also help agencies with retention and succession planning efforts. The survey includes several questions on these topics specifically:

  • Was any effort made to encourage you to stay?
  • Does your agency have any formal succession planning efforts for executives (e.g., interviews/debriefs that took place prior to your departure to ensure smooth transition of your duties)?
  • Have there been — or were there prior to your leaving — any efforts made to involve you in preparing your successor?

OPM is urging agencies to issue the surveys to all departing SES members; however, it is not mandatory for them to do so. Participation in the survey is also voluntary, according to an exclusive copy of the online survey obtained by Federal News Radio.

OPM said it will work with agencies to optimize participation, but no surveys have been distributed yet.

"OPM is in the process of sending the survey link to each agency's Executive Resource office," an OPM spokesman told Federal News Radio. "They will distribute the link to departing SES on an ongoing basis."

OPM plans to capture the survey data annually and will release it in an aggregated format to protect the anonymity of survey respondents. The survey does not ask participants for their names.

The Senior Executives Association, the Partnership for Public Service, various agency representatives and current SES members worked with OPM to develop the governmentwide survey.