The Washington Post

Federal workers react to agencies’ job-satisfaction rankings


The annual report on Best Places to Work in the Federal Government is a source of pride, concern and competition among federal agencies and their workers.

This year, NASA repeated as the No. 1 agency and improved its score despite governmentwide morale hitting its lowest point in a decade. The Department of Homeland Security, a perennial bottom-dweller in the rankings, finished at the bottom again and showed further declines.

MORE: Federal workers’ job satisfaction falls, with Homeland Security Dept. ranking lowest again

On Wednesday, we asked federal workers to talk about their agencies’ rankings, as well as how employers could improve their rankings and what contributed most to their satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

People cross a street in downtown Washington, DC, on Oct. 17, one day after the deal to reopen the government. (Jewel Samad/AFP-Getty). People cross a street in downtown Washington, DC, on Oct. 17, one day after the deal to reopen the government. (Jewel Samad/AFP-Getty).

Maryland resident Chase Donovan, who works for the Department of Health and Human Services, said his department’s role in implementing the Affordable Care Act made his job more exciting, adding that it “gave more meaning and purpose to our agency.”

Donovan said HHS could improve its scores by showing more appreciation for “the flack many of its employees are taking because of the ACA — especially because most of us DO NOT work for that program.”

He said furloughs this year negatively affected morale at his department, making the workers feel “unappreciated and unmotivated.”

Maryland resident Lowell Marshall, an employee with the Food and Drug Administration, said furloughs, across-the-board budget cuts and the 16-day government shutdown exacerbated long-standing problems with worker morale at federal agencies. He compared those workplace disruptions to a football team racking up penalties in a loss, saying it is “not the root cause [of the outcome], but they hurt.”

We encourage more federal employees to share more of their thoughts with us for possible use in the Post’s print and digital editions. Use the form below to tell us how you feel:

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
In defense of dads
Play Videos
How to make head cheese
Perks of private flying
The rise and fall of baseball cards
Play Videos
Husband finds love, loss in baseball
New hurdles for a Maryland tradition
How to survive a shark attack
Play Videos
Portland's most important meal of the day
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to save and spend money at college
Next Story
Matt DeLong · December 18, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.