Do You Think You Will Be Promoted? Half of Feds Say No!

Less than half of federal employees believe they will be rewarded or promoted for doing a good job, according to a new analysis from Deloitte and the Partnership for Public Service. Only forty-three percent, or four out of every 10 federal workers, said they thought they would receive performance-based awards or better job opportunities at their agencies.

That's not good news for federal agencies hoping to retain their top talent. So what can be done? David Dye is a Director at Deloitte's Human Capital Practice. He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program that the buzz phrase surrounding this report is the word, unsettling.

"It's a tough time for federal employees right now. With the sequester and furloughs and pay freezes, these low numbers aren't really that surprising," said Dye.

What's Behind the Numbers?

"If you look at the actual questions in OPM's Federal Viewpoint Survey there are a half of a a dozen questions that make up this topic. It is a combination of things around advancement, performance appraisals, promotions and career development. On the other side, the easier side, how do I recognize, appreciate, value and reward people for being creative and innovative. It is a combination of the more formal side of performance appraisals but also frankly things that leaders and managers can and should take more opportunities to do, which is appreciating and valuing the workforce by listening to them and giving them feedback," said Dye.

Persistent Drop in Satisfaction

"There are 10 different workplace categories, performance based awards and advancement is in fact 10th in the rankings. It has been at the bottom of the heap since the list started in 2005. Last year alone it dropped by 2.5%, so it has been a persistent and perennial challenge," said Dye.

Creativity and Innovation are also down by 2 points

"When you have almost one out of three people responding favorably to the question are creativity and innovation rewarded at your agency, you know you have a problem. We have to find out what we are missing. Why do almost two-thirds of people not feel rewarded? Hopefully this is an opportunity for people to look at their data and understand it. They need to talk to their workforce and put some things in place. A lot of this data is not only a reflection of the perceptions of what is going on in the minds and hearts of employees but frankly what they see being done about it," said Dye.

What Successful Agencies Get Right

"About a third of agencies actually went up last year, which is remarkable considering the circumstances. It comes down to what sounds like simple thing but in reality maybe you aren't putting into practice. We know far and above the biggest driver for success is the impact of leaders, managers and front line supervisors."

  • How do you show support for people in career development. We know people get into a federal career because they want to be engaged, to achieve and to do things well.
  • Employees want/need a camaraderie with their peers. They want to feel apart of a team.
  • Want to be treated fairly. They want equity.

Keeping those three elements in mind. Here is what leaders should do:

  1. Provide support for people in their careers.
  2. Provide meaningful communication on important milestones, new job openings, give people a realistic sense of where they are going.
  3. Give them tangible day to day communication and recognition. Say thank you. Get to know people by name. Find out about their personal lives. Get invested. There is no better time than now to provide the personal touch to let employees know they are valued, cared about and you care about their personal growth.

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*All graphs are part of the Deloitte and Partnership for Public Service's report. 

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