OPM Model for Igniting Engagement in Government Workforce

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The importance of fostering employee engagement within the federal sphere has been widely recognized. Engaged employees feel a profound connection to their organization and move the organization forward. Meanwhile, employees who lack engagement may meet expectations of their jobs but they won’t go the extra mile to achieve—or exceed—goals. 

But maintaining a high level of engagement in the public sector is a tough challenge. Budget battles, shifting missions and scope, changes in leadership, and a constant stream of criticism from citizens affect the engagement of government employees. The 2015 FEVS, released last month, revealed that several engagement factors have improved at least one point since the 2014 results. This improvement indicates that agency efforts on this key metric are paying off, but there is still plenty of work to do. 


Agency managers and executives seeking advice on how to boost FEVS scores even higher, can access your Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) scores, can turn to a new OPM white paper “Engaging the Federal Workforce: How to Do It & Prove It.” 

This report summarizes OPM’s review of recent employee engagement research regarding engagement measurement practices and interventions. It 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. 

In the meantime, check out “Igniting Employee Engagement” in the November issue of The Public Manager. In this Perspectives article, Kimya S. Lee, senior advisor on research and evaluation for OPM, lays out some of OPMs recent engagement studies, and Jeffrey Press, deputy director of performance strategy at the Commerce Department, discusses how agencies can use VUCA as catalyst to spur innovation and engagement. 

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at 

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