GAO Study – Additional Analysis and Sharing of Promising Practices Could Improve Employee Engagement and Performance

From 2006 through 2014, government-wide engagement levels—as measured by the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Employee Engagement Index (EEI)—increased to an estimated high of 67 percent in 2011 and then declined to an estimated 63 percent in 2014. This decline is attributable to several large agencies—including the Department of Defense—bringing down the government-wide average. The government-wide decline masks the fact that the majority of federal agencies either sustained or increased EEI levels during the period. Of the three components that comprise the EEI—employees’ perceptions of agency leaders, supervisors, and their intrinsic work experience—perceptions of leaders consistently received the lowest score.

GAO’s regression analysis of selected Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) questions identified six practices as key drivers of the EEI (see table), with constructive performance conversations being the strongest.

Drivers of Engagement - GAO

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