What OPM’s EVS Analysis is Not Telling You


The EVS survey is administered to all federal staff across the government. It is a broad survey whereby OPM is trying to identify general trends in job satisfaction. My colleague Shivani and I started Lateral-Me (Lateral-Me.com) because our years of experience in the government has resulted in general difficulties with accessing our career goals.

Having a job in the government for a long time will also result in you encountering various management bureaucratic issues that do not seem to make a lot of sense. People who have the least amount of patience to deal with these difficulties end up retiring. Even though retiring is wonderful in general, if you retire because ‘you can’, it means that staff who don’t retire are just leaving and going to the private sector. It isn’t a good sign for valuable federal staff, whom the government has invested years of on-site training, to leave because they’re “fed up” (no pun intended).

OPM tries to identify issues via the annual EVS survey. However, their analysis really just focuses on the positive results. It seems they may be ignoring some realities, which show up very clearly in their own data. The EVS survey analysis claims that there have been major gains made in employee satisfaction experiences, but the reality is that it is not okay for almost half of federal employees reporting they can not find better job opportunities.

I appreciate that OPM is trying to address needs through this survey, and hopefully things will get better. The *key* for feds is… you have to respond to the survey when it comes out. When you use the real numbers, major takeaways from the EVS survey include:

    1. 46% of employees expressed dissatisfaction with their opportunity to get a better job in their organization
    2. 41% believed promotions in their work unit were not based on merit
    3. Leaders received low ratings from employees on a range of issues, including the ability to generate motivation and commitment — 47%
    4. 35% employees believe leaders have a high level of respect for their employees
    5. 40.03% of employees believe they are not given a real opportunity to improve their skills in their organization
    6. 51% said their training needs are NOT assessed
    7. 50% do NOT believe Policies and programs promote diversity in the workplace (for example, recruiting minorities and women, training in awareness of diversity issues, mentoring)
    8. 32% believe their supervisor does not provide them with opportunities to demonstrate their leadership skills.
    9. 51% are not satisfied with the training they receive for their present job
    10. 70.09% are NOT satisfied with their current opportunities to get a better job in their organization (p.7)
    11. Global Satisfaction Trends are at 65% , pay satisfaction is at 57%, and organization satisfaction is at 56%

Sylvia Sosa is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.


EVS 2015 Summary: https://www.archives.gov/about/plans-reports/employee-survey/survey-results-2015-summary.pdf
OPM List of EVS Survey Resources: http://www.fedview.opm.gov
EVS Report: http://www.fedview.opm.gov/2015FILES/2015_FEVS_Gwide_Final_Report.PDF 

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Richard Regan

I really enjoyed your post. It went beyond the overwhelming positivity bias associated with this survey and pointed out real vulnerabilities about this bureaucratic exercise that rarely produces any meaningful change.