Your FEVS Action Plan for 2018

So you’re responsible for your Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) Action Plan. It’s a tough job.

External events like government shutdowns, hiring freezes, budget cuts, and a general hostility to public servants all take their toll. But this climate shouldn’t discourage you from trying, it should spur you and your agency’s leadership to focus even more on engagement. Right now these efforts are needed more than ever.

To focus limited resources and time, I’ll give you three things to focus action planning on that are under your control and realistically possible to implement, but can still make a noticeable impact. Why should you listen to me?  In a previous job, I led the effort to plan and implement changes that boosted my agency subcomponent’s FEVS scores across the board by 3-12 points. These three suggestions are based on that experience and designed to help employees feel informed, appreciated, and treated fairly:

  1. Internal Communications: Internal communications is a force multiplier, because it allows you to get credit for all the things that are going right, plus it’s a mechanism to constantly remind employees about their connection to the mission. Create mechanisms where employees can review information at their own pace, like news blogs, and move your agency to a sharing culture where leadership and managers share more information sooner. Communicating about developments that are still uncertain can also reduce anxiety in a time of change.
  1. Awards & Recognition: Everyone appreciates being recognized and it doesn’t always have to be a formal ceremony or a large monetary award. Focus on frequent but low-cost recognition that includes peer recognition. Research shows that people prefer to be recognized in front of their colleagues rather than just leadership, or even the whole organization. There are numerous existing programs in the public and private sector you can adapt.
  1. Performance Management: Even high-scoring agencies struggle with this because it’s human nature to worry that others are getting unfair advantages. Find ways to give managers time to focus on doing this right and to communicate clearly about what people should expect. A performance board of high-level managers regularly reviewing a sample of performance reviews and plans can help ensure the process is consistent and meaningful to everyone. That, in turn, combats the employee concern that they are being treated differently than everyone else.

You might already be doing some of this. If so, great, and maybe you can expand or deepen your efforts. None of these are cure-alls, but hopefully they give you a starting point. Good luck!


Joseph Maltby serves on the National Leadership Team for Young Government Leaders, an association of young leaders across the federal government seeking to educate, inspire, and transform, as well as serve as a coordinated voice, for current and future leaders in government.  Joseph works as an internal consultant for a federal agency and, in his spare time, creates short educational videos on topics in government, law, and politics.

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Posted in Young Gov

Tags: Young Government Leaders, FEVS



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