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Community of Practice

Welcome to the Employee Engagement Community of Practice. Here you can find case studies, videos, training, research, best practices and other helpful resources to help create an engaged federal workforce. This community is designed to offer the tools needed to create strategies that lead to an inclusive work environment where a diverse federal workforce is fully engaged and energized to put forth its best effort, achieve its agency’s mission, and remain committed to public service.

Featured Resources

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    Promising Practices

    Sustaining Employee Engagement through Organizational Change

    Sustaining employee engagement during times of organizational change is critical to meeting agency missions and best serving the American public.

    On Monday, December 12th, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management hosted the Sustaining Employee Engagement through Organizational Change webcast(external link), featuring Russell Robinson, the Acting Director of Organizational Development & Leadership within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

    The content shared highlights five key factors to successfully navigating change management and offers tangible actions for sustaining and building engagement.

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    Key Enablers and Barriers

    Employee Engagement Drivers in the Federal Government Webcast

    On May 25, 2016, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hosted the Employee Engagement Drivers in the Federal Government webcast, featuring experts from OPM's Survey Analysis and Employee Engagement Outreach teams.

    This webcast focused on the timely and critical topic of employee engagement drivers. OPM's analysis of Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) data identified five drivers of engagement in the Federal Government--performance feedback; collaborative management; merit systems principles; employee training and development; and work-life support. Viewers will learn details about how these drivers relate to the Employee Engagement Index measured on the FEVS and actionable promising practices being implemented across the Federal Government to drive positive change.

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    Promising Practices

    Employee Engagement Communication and Psychological Safety Webcast

    On July 26, 2016, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hosted the Employee Engagement, Communication, and Psychological Safety webcast, featuring Acting Director of the Department of Health and Human Services' Behavioral Health Services’ Organizational Development and Leadership division, Russell Robinson.

    This webcast explores the critical topics of employee engagement and psychological safety through the prism of communication. Psychological safety is defined as "the ability of an individual employee to show oneself without fear of negative consequences to self-image, status, or career". Russell discusses how ensuring communication channels are open and authentic, involving employees in decision-making, and facilitating discussions about organizational issues can increase trust in management and enable psychological safety and employee engagement.

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    Promising Practices

    Senior Accountable Officials Workgroup Results

    In 2015, agency Senior Accountable Officials (SAOs) formed working groups to examine challenges, barriers, and promising practices related to employee engagement and: 1) leadership accountability and development; 2) supporting frontline supervisors and staff; 3) using data; and 4) communicating action and results.

Promising Practices

The Promising Practices section includes resources from across government and private industry that contain best practices aligned to the key drivers of employee engagement. Here you will find specific information on topics such as communication strategies and FEVS action planning approaches.

Featured Resources

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    Promising Practices

    Senior Accountable Officials Workgroup Results

    In 2015, agency Senior Accountable Officials (SAOs) formed working groups to examine challenges, barriers, and promising practices related to employee engagement and: 1) leadership accountability and development; 2) supporting frontline supervisors and staff; 3) using data; and 4) communicating action and results.

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    Promising Practices

    Creating a Culture of Engagement

    The Creating a Culture of Engagement webinar was hosted by the U.S. General Services Administration's DigitalGov and featured agency leaders from the Department of Labor, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Treasury, and Office of Personnel Management.

  • Image of a hand clicking on a link Inspiring Change through Employee Engagement: A Blog by OPM Deputy Associate Director Stephen Shih

    Senior leaders and managers across the Federal Government are implementing innovative solutions to create a culture of engagement based on insights gained from employee feedback on the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS)(external link). Read OPM's recent blog(external link) that celebrates the Federal Government's commitment to sharing effective tools and strategies to improve employees' experiences and features promising practices from the Department of State, Department of Justice, and Department of Veterans Affairs.

Federal Employee Engagement Forum

View segments and full panel discussions from the Federal Employee Engagement Forum, held at the White House on November 6th, 2014.

Speed of Trust: FDIC's Culture Change

View segments and full panel discussions on how FDIC moved up from #23 to #1 in the EVS scores ranking.

Federal Leadership Development Is Not A Luxury

Satisfaction with leadership is consistently shown to be a driver of employee engagement. Strong leaders tend to communicate effectively, set clear expectations, motivate employees, establish trust and generate commitment, yet many agencies underinvest in leadership development. In this article, Jeff Neal, founder of ChiefHRO.com (external link), shares his thoughts on why Federal leadership development is not a luxury.

Career Conversations For Improved Employee Engagement

This article offers several compelling statistics demonstrating the relationship between career development opportunities and engagement. For example, the National Research Business Institute has reported that “23% of employees leave their jobs due to lack of development opportunities and training” and CEB has reported “When supervisors are effective at developing people, they can increase performance by up to 25% and engagement by up to 29%”. Deadra Welcome, a member of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program(external link), shares her thoughts on career conversations for improved employee engagement.

Improving Employee Engagement with Brand Promise

In this segment, a panel of experts discusses Improving Employee Engagement with Brand Promise. Panel members from NASA, the Smithsonian, Hilton International, CustomInk, the National Older Worker Career Center, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association cover a variety of topics, including ways to articulate your brand or mission and ensure that employees remain connected to the big picture. Panelists also discuss the role HR expertise plays in improving “fit”, encouraging local culture and how improving an organization’s execution on their brand/mission promise can improve employee engagement. The panel is moderated by Justin Johnson, Executive Director of the Federal Chief Human Capital Officers’ (CHCO) Council, U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The discussion includes a variety of approaches for reinforcing a desired workplace culture through strategic communication. It also features learning and development activities that agencies, from large to small, can implement many at low or no costs. This presentation is suited for those involved with employee engagement strategy rather than day-to-day implementation. A brief overview of the President’s Management Agenda for Employee Engagement begins 2:30 into the video and the description of the brand promise concept begins at 5:30. The panel discussion begins at 7:00.

Johns Hopkins University Employee Engagement Website

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is committed to building an engaged workforce through its human resources processes and management practices. JHU recognizes the impact of effective communication on employee engagement and they have dedicated a section of their website to employee engagement. This site is user friendly and easy to navigate and contains a variety of useful information and links, including their definition of engagement and why it’s important, information and resources for managers, a thorough description of their survey, and an FAQ section. Some of the site content, such as the description of the survey (JHU uses the Gallop Q12 survey to measure engagement) and the survey open period, is specific to the JHU environment, but the structure, format, and general content of this site provide excellent examples of an information rich website. The Managers video on the “Employee Engagement Tool s for Managers” page may be particularly valuable if your managers are looking for help identifying what to say to employees or how to structure their communications about the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and/or efforts to improve engagement.

If you are considering adding an engagement section to your website, your agency is struggling with how to communicate information about employee engagement to your employees, or your agency is looking for new strategies, this website might spark some easy to implement, low cost ideas.

SENIOR ACCOUNTABLE OFFICIALS WORKGROUP RESULTS

In 2015, agency Senior Accountable Officials (SAOs) formed working groups to examine challenges, barriers, and promising practices related to employee engagement and: 1) leadership accountability and development; 2) supporting frontline supervisors and staff; 3) using data; and 4) communicating action and results. Below are the findings of each workgroup.

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Creating a Culture of Engagement

The Creating a Culture of Engagement webinar was hosted by the U.S. General Services Administration's DigitalGov(external link) and featured agency leaders from the Department of Labor, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Treasury, and Office of Personnel Management.

Watch the video to learn about the current state of employee engagement in the Federal Government, what agencies are doing to build a positive culture that engages employees, and how each employee can "own" their experience.

Inspiring Change through Employee Engagement: A Blog by OPM Deputy Associate Director Stephen Shih

Senior leaders and managers across the Federal Government are implementing innovative solutions to create a culture of engagement based on insights gained from employee feedback on the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS)(external link). Read OPM's recent blog(external link) that celebrates the Federal Government's commitment to sharing effective tools and strategies to improve employees' experiences and features promising practices from the Department of State, Department of Justice, and Department of Veterans Affairs.

Employee Driven Engagement

In an effort to strengthen employees' pride and engagement, KPMG implemented "A Higher Purpose". This award-winning program invited employees to share their own stories of purpose-driven work. KPMG then featured these stories in a campaign across a variety of channels, including print, digital, and live communications. Watch this WorldatWork(external link) video to learn more about the program that allowed KPMG to measurably increase a sense of purpose and pride among employees.

Moving the Needle on Employee Engagement during the Presidential Transition

The presidential transition presents both challenges to and opportunities for fostering stronger employee engagement within Federal agencies. During this time, managers must find ways to creatively and proactively communicate with employees. Read the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte’s Moving the Needle on Employee Engagement During the Presidential Transition report(external link) to learn more about the essentials of communicating with Federal employees during a presidential transition.

Employee Engagement Communication and Psychological Safety Webcast

On July 26, 2016, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hosted the Employee Engagement, Communication, and Psychological Safety webcast, featuring Acting Director of the Department of Health and Human Services' Behavioral Health Services’ Organizational Development and Leadership division, Russell Robinson.

This webcast explores the critical topics of employee engagement and psychological safety through the prism of communication. Psychological safety is defined as "the ability of an individual employee to show oneself without fear of negative consequences to self-image, status, or career". Russell discusses how ensuring communication channels are open and authentic, involving employees in decision-making, and facilitating discussions about organizational issues can increase trust in management and enable psychological safety and employee engagement.

Maximizing Employee Engagement Training

The 30 minute Maximizing Employee Engagement Training course provides supervisors, managers and executives with practical guidance and resources to effectively engage their teams. This highly participatory course is designed to help provide learners with education about employee engagement and its relationship to organizational success, financial performance and employee outcomes such as retention and attraction.

2016 Governmentwide Management Report

This 2016 Governmentwide Management Report presents an overview of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) results, with highlights of notable agency achievements. For 2016, much of the report is devoted to the topic of employee engagement. In addition to the Employee Engagement Index results, the report discusses the key drivers of engagement and promising practices to foster engagement.

Sustaining Employee Engagement through Organizational Change

Sustaining employee engagement during times of organizational change is critical to meeting agency missions and best serving the American public.

On Monday, December 12th, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management hosted the Sustaining Employee Engagement through Organizational Change webcast(external link), featuring Russell Robinson, the Acting Director of Organizational Development & Leadership within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The content shared highlights five key factors to successfully navigating change management and offers tangible actions for sustaining and building engagement.

Key Enablers and Barriers

The Enablers and Barriers section includes information on key organizational factors (workplace culture) that have substantial impact (positive or negative) on the success of the application of best practices to improve engagement.

Featured Resources

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    Key Enablers and Barriers

    Building an Engaging Workplace Infographic

    Review OPM's Building an Engaging Workplace infographic and summary document to learn about the five drivers of employee engagement in the Federal Government: 1) performance feedback; 2) collaborative management; 3) merit systems principles; 4) training & development; and 5) work-life balance.

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    Key Enablers and Barriers

    New, Online Work-Life Training

    The Introduction to Leave, Work-Life, and Workplace Flexibilities course is now available on HR University. This no-cost, online training is designed for managers and employees seeking to understand, access, and use the vast work-life resources and flexibilities available in the Federal Government.

Breaking the Cycle Of Constant Action Planning

Some employee engagement activities take time to mature and the annual nature of the survey cycle may be too short to effectively measure the results of these longer term changes. Does it seem like your agency is stuck in a perpetual cycle of action planning, leaving little or no time to implement employee engagement programs? In this article John Salamone, a vice president at Federal Management Partners Inc., a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, shares his thoughts on breaking the cycle of constant action planning.

Performance Management Plus Memorandum

In a memorandum issued on January 12, 2016, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provided guidance to agencies on effective performance management -- a priority in support of the President's Management Agenda's People & Culture initiative, which emphasizes the establishment of a high-performance culture to enable agencies to achieve their missions and successfully manage their personnel. In this memorandum, OPM acknowledges the importance of establishing high-quality performance management systems and programs; however, OPM also recognizes the ultimate success of these tools and processes depends on a commitment to regular and substantive implementation rather than the superficial completion of a limited number of rote procedures a few times a year. To that end, OPM is instructing agencies to apply the philosophy of "Performance Management Plus" where the "Plus" is employee engagement.

In short, to achieve a high-performance culture, supervisors must be empowered and encouraged to regularly and effectively engage their employees in all stages and aspects of their employment. This will ensure leaders support the success and growth of employees, including frequently participating in dialogues with employees to understand their needs and issues relating to work, as well as providing opportunities for employees to apply their strengths and further develop their knowledge and skills. By achieving a high-performance culture, agencies will best accomplish their missions and also serve as model employers that optimize the hiring, management, and retention of top talent.

New, Online Work-Life Training

The Introduction to Leave, Work-Life, and Workplace Flexibilities course is now available on HR University. This no-cost, online training is designed for managers and employees seeking to understand, access, and use the vast work-life resources and flexibilities available in the Federal Government. Work-life support is one of several key factors that support conditions for achieving an engaged workforce, and as such, agencies should look for ways to increase the use of various work-life programs and workplace flexibilities.

Additionally, OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert recently released the New HR University Course Supports Workplace Flexibilities blog in recognition of this training and on the subjects of National Women’s History Month, work-life, and workplace flexibilities. OPM also released an official memorandum announcing the training.

All Federal managers, employees, and HR professionals are encouraged to take the training, learn about work-life supports available in the Federal Government, and maximize the use of flexibilities to achieve organizational and personal success.

Building an Engaging Workplace Infographic

Review OPM's Building an Engaging Workplace infographic and summary document to learn about the five drivers of employee engagement in the Federal Government: 1) performance feedback; 2) collaborative management; 3) merit systems principles; 4) training & development; and 5) work-life balance.

These materials cover a number of topics, including:

  • a brief introduction to engagement, its definition, and how workplace conditions for engaging employees are defined through the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey
  • an example benefit of employee engagement: employee retention
  • definition of drivers and an outline of drivers for the FEVS Employee Engagement Index and subfactors
  • an overview of agency promising practices to illustrate how key drivers can suggest change actions to support efforts to positively influence employee engagement

Building an Engaging Workplace Webinar

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently hosted a virtual learning session on Building an Engaging Workforce.

Watch the video to learn about what drives employee engagement in the Federal Government and how leaders can leverage drivers to activate and realize the power of engagement in Federal agencies. Dr. Melanie Cohen from HUD interviews Dr. Kim Wells and Ms. Julie Brill from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and Dr. Karlease Kelly from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Employee Job and Workplace Satisfaction in the Law Enforcement Community

Wellness, communication, and workplace satisfaction were identified as top workplace challenges facing the Federal law enforcement community. Read the Employee Job and Workplace Satisfaction in the Law Enforcement Community report(external link) by the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte to learn more about these management issues and effective strategies agencies are using to make improvements.

Employee Well-Being and Engagement

Federal agencies can benefit substantially by adding well-being to their engagement efforts. According to Gallup, employees who are engaged and have high well-being are:

  • 42% more likely to evaluate their overall lives highly;
  • 27% more likely to report "excellent" performance in their own job at work;
  • 27% more likely to report "excellent" performance by their organization;
  • 45% more likely to report high levels of adaptability in the presence of change;
  • 37% more likely to report always recovering "fully" after illness, injury or hardship;
  • 59% less likely to look for a job with a different organization in the next 12 months;
  • 18% less likely to change employers in a 12-month period; and
  • 19% more likely to volunteer their time in the past month.

Read the Well-Being Enhances Benefits of Employee Engagement article(external link) to learn details of how engagement and well-being intersect and influence employee performance. Gallup also shares five strategies leaders can deploy right now to increase employee engagement and well-being.

Federal Employees More Engaged

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management's (OPM's) Acting Director Beth Cobert shares news of the 2016 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results in the Federal Employee More Engaged blog(external link).

"In 2016, 65 percent of the Federal employees surveyed said they are engaged in their workplace. That’s an increase government-wide of one percentage point over 2015 and is two percentage points higher than in 2014. Some individual agencies saw even larger increases."

Read the entire blog to learn more about this positive trend and why employee engagement is important to Federal agencies.

Employee Engagement Drivers in the Federal Government Webcast

On May 25, 2016, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hosted the Employee Engagement Drivers in the Federal Government webcast, featuring experts from OPM's Survey Analysis and Employee Engagement Outreach teams.

This webcast focused on the timely and critical topic of employee engagement drivers. OPM's analysis of Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) data identified five drivers of engagement in the Federal Government--performance feedback; collaborative management; merit systems principles; employee training and development; and work-life support. Viewers will learn details about how these drivers relate to the Employee Engagement Index measured on the FEVS and actionable promising practices being implemented across the Federal Government to drive positive change.

The Merit System Principles: Keys to Managing the Federal Workforce

The Merit System Principles (MSPs) are a driver of employee engagement in the Federal Government.

The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board has prepared the Keys to Managing the Federal Workforce guide to help Federal leaders understand the values and requirements of Federal merit systems.

The guide provides: 1) highlights from the history of the Federal civil service; 2) a set of questions and answers about MSPs; an overview of each MSP; and references for additional information.

Measures and Incentives

The Measures and Incentives section showcases successful implementation of strategies that have enabled performance targets for increasing employee engagement, measures used to assess progress in achieving those targets (other than the annual FEVS), and incentives and recognition for agencies that demonstrate excellence in employee engagement.

Featured Resources

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    Measures and Incentives

    Department of Commerce's Employee Engagement Toolkit

    The Department of Commerce's Employee Engagement Toolkit represents the latest thinking and best practices from the Federal sector. The toolkit shares strategies Federal agencies can implement to attain higher employee engagement scores on the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). Each intervention is no more than two pages and includes steps for application and where to find additional information.

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    Measures and Incentives

    SES Performance Requirements for Employee Engagement

    Review several examples of agency efforts to ensure Senior Executive Service (SES) members are accountable for fostering employee engagement through the performance management process.

SES Performance Requirements for Employee Engagement

On December 23, 2014, the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget jointly issued a memorandum on Strengthening Employee Engagement and Organizational Performance. The memo served to provide guidance and support agencies’ efforts to strengthen an organizational culture of employee engagement and mission performance in accordance with priorities established in the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) Cross Agency Priority (CAP) goal on People and Culture.

As part of the effort to ensure Senior Executive Service (SES) members will be held accountable for fostering employee engagement through the performance management process, OPM canvassed agencies to gather examples and learn more about agency efforts to implement SES performance requirement for employee engagement. A summary of their findings including several examples of what agencies are doing can be reviewed below:

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Department of Commerce's Employee Engagement Toolkit

The Department of Commerce's Employee Engagement Toolkit represents the latest thinking and best practices from the Federal sector. The toolkit shares strategies Federal agencies can implement to attain higher employee engagement scores on the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). Each intervention is no more than two pages and includes steps for application and where to find additional information.

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2016 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results on Government Matters

Beth Cobert, Acting Director at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and Kimya Lee, Senior Advisor on Research and Evaluation at OPM discuss the 2016 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) results. Preliminary results show a 1% gain in employee engagement in the Federal Government. Watch this Government Matters FEVS Results segment(external link) to learn more about the data available that helps us to identify what is driving engagement across the Federal Government.

What Is Engagement

The What is Engagement section contains general resources and information about employee engagement. Employee Engagement is defined as “the employee’s sense of purpose that is evident in their display of dedication, persistence, and effort in their work or overall attachment to their organization and its mission.”

Featured Resources

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    What Is Engagement

    Engaging the Federal Workforce: How to Do It and Prove It

    This report summarizes OPM’s review of recent employee engagement research regarding definitions, models, measurement practices, and interventions. It then presents a definition of employee engagement as it specifically relates to the Federal workforce and a model of engagement that provides a practical approach to measuring and improving employee engagement. Finally, the report highlights recent best practices used to drive sustainable employee engagement.

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    What Is Engagement

    The Power Of Federal Employee Engagement

    In 2008 the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) conducted a study of employee engagement to measure the level of employee engagement in the Federal Government, determine whether increased levels of employee engagement are related to better results and outcomes for Federal agencies, and identify how Federal agencies can improve the engagement level of their employees.

The Power Of Federal Employee Engagement

In 2008 the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) conducted a study of employee engagement to measure the level of employee engagement in the Federal Government, determine whether increased levels of employee engagement are related to better results and outcomes for Federal agencies, and identify how Federal agencies can improve the engagement level of their employees. The report is entitled The Power of Federal Employee Engagement.

Building A Highly Engaged Workforce

Gallup Organization research reveals that the longer an employee stays with a company, the less engaged he or she becomes. So what can managers do to enhance employee engagement? What are the signs that employees are becoming disenchanted, and what can managers do to reverse the slide?

Read what Curt Coffman, co-author of First, Break All The Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently, suggests managers can do to inspire performance and build a highly engaged workforce.

Engaging the Federal Workforce: How to Do It and Prove It

This report summarizes OPM’s review of recent employee engagement research regarding definitions, models, measurement practices, and interventions. It then presents a definition of employee engagement as it specifically relates to the Federal workforce and a model of engagement that provides a practical approach to measuring and improving employee engagement. Finally, the report highlights recent best practices used to drive sustainable employee engagement.

Engaging the Workforce Pays Off: A Blog by OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert

Of the many things OPM’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS)(external link) reveals, one thing is clear: The more agencies across government engage and include their employees, the more satisfied, productive, and motivated the workforce becomes. Read OPM's recent blog that celebrates our commitment to creating and maintaining an engaged, inclusive, diverse, and talented Federal workforce that can best deliver on its mission to serve the American people.

OPM's What is Employee Engagement? Webinar

The What is Employee Engagement? webinar was hosted by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. This is the first of OPM's Engaging the Federal Workforce webinar series(external link).

Watch the video to learn about a framework of employee engagement that can be modeled across agencies, to support the development of engagement programs, and an understanding of how you can make a difference in increasing employee engagement for your organization.

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