March 2024
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TD Magazine

Employee Satisfaction Is on the Rise

Friday, March 1, 2024

US federal workers are leading the charge in increased engagement.

Despite an uncertain market, job satisfaction among US employees continued to rise last year. The Conference Board's Job Satisfaction 2023 report, which evaluates 2022 data, reveals that 62 percent of US workers were satisfied with their jobs, the highest level recorded since the survey's inception in 1987.


For US federal employees, that number is even higher. According to the 2023 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which queried more than 600,000 employees, 68 percent of federal workers are satisfied. Further, their employee engagement score—a composite data point that measures workers' views on characteristics such as effective leadership, meaningful work, and growth opportunities—reached 72 percent in 2023. That's a five-year high (tied with 2020).

"This year's Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey highlights that federal employees remain remarkably resilient, increasingly engaged, and value diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in the workplace," says Kiran Ahuja, director of the US Office of Personnel Management. "These encouraging results provide opportunities for agencies to build momentum and support their workforce to leverage workplace flexibilities, continue advancing DEIA, and remain motivated to continue delivering for the American people."

The increase in job satisfaction comes as more federal agencies directed employees to return to the office in 2023. For example, in August, White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients said agencies should "aggressively execute" a return-to-office strategy because it would "harness the benefits of enhanced flexibilities that we experienced during the pandemic" while strengthening in-person relationships. That advice, however, wasn't an official return-to-office directive; federal agencies will continue to allow some workers to work remotely full time. The survey reflects a continuation of flexible work options: Only 6 percent of employees said their agency didn't approve their working remotely. Fourteen percent of respondents said that they telework every day.

On the other end of the spectrum, federal employees don't think their agencies have adequately dealt with poor-performing employees. Forty-one percent of respondents said those workers frequently remain in their jobs and continue to underperform. Only 18 percent of respondents who have witnessed poor performance have also seen those ineffective workers improve over time.

About the Author

Bobby Lewis is a writer for ATD; [email protected].

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