OPM: Federal workers’ morale, engagement rebounded in 2023

The 2023 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results saw measurements of employee morale increase after two years of previous declines.

The 2023 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results saw measurements of employee morale increase after two years of previous declines. Smith Collection/Gado / GETTY IMAGES

Preliminary data from the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey indicates that federal agencies have improved on employees’ engagement, job satisfaction, as well as issues of diversity and inclusion.

Federal employees reported improving levels of engagement and job satisfaction when they answered the government’s annual survey of workplace attitudes, the Office of Personnel Management announced Monday.

OPM published preliminary data from the 2023 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, although the agency’s full report will not be available until later this year. After two years of flat or declining scores, federal workers’ attitudes toward their employer rebounded this year.

Across the federal government, employee engagement increased to 72 out of 100, an increase of one point over last year’s score and matching a five-year high last set in 2020. And the global satisfaction index, which seeks to measure federal employee morale, reversed a two-year slide, landing at 64 out of 100, an increase of two points over 2022 and matching 2021’s performance. Morale still lags behind the high water mark of 69 reached in 2020, however.

In a statement accompanying the data’s release, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja pointed to improvements in multiple metrics within the annual survey’s employee engagement index, including a two-point increase in questions associated with employees’ opinions of agency leadership to 61 out of 100, as well as a one-point increase in responses to questions regarding employees’ intrinsic work experience, bringing the total to 74 out of 100.

“This year’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey highlights that federal employees remain remarkably resilient, increasingly engaged and value diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the workplace,” she said. “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.”

Last year, OPM added a new index designed to measure how federal workers feel about their agencies' efforts to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. This year, the diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility index found that 71% of respondents reported positive perceptions of their agencies’ DEIA efforts, an increase of two points over last year’s baseline score.

This year’s FEVS also saw a significant rebound in terms of the number of federal employees who agreed to participate, with 39%—or more than 625,000—of eligible employees filling out the survey. That marks a four percentage point increase over last year’s response rate, although still short of the recent high water mark of 44% of feds responding to the survey in 2020.

More details on the survey’s results, including agency-by-agency data, will be included in OPM’s traditional management report when it is published later this year.