Low Job Satisfaction Continues at DHS, GAO Report Finds

Job satisfaction is lower for employees at the Department of Homeland Security than at other federal agencies, according to a new report.

Numbers for job satisfaction and employee engagement were particularly low at the Transportation Security Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Government Accountability Office said. The numbers were based on data from the 2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

GAO acknowledged that DHS had attempted to find the cause for the low morale, but emphasized that the department should focus on developing and implementing more specific metrics to determine the causes of dissatisfaction in its workforce.

“GAO found that despite having broad performance metrics in place to track and assess DHS employee morale on an agencywide level, DHS does not have specific metrics within the agency plans that are consistently clear and measurable,” the GAO report concluded.

GAO also explained that low morale has plagued DHS since the department’s inception in 2003, but did acknowledge that job satisfaction had improved since 2006. To determine causes and problems within the agency, DHS used focus groups, employee exit surveys and created an employee engagement committee.

“One explanation for lower morale at DHS is that its employees could be members of demographic groups that typically have lower morale across all agencies,” GAO’s report said. “If this is true, the cause of morale problems and their solutions might focus less on factors that are unique to DHS and more on approaches that apply to any agency with a similar workforce.”

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