New federal survey shows low morale a common problem

In January, Federal News Radio conducted an anonymous online survey, asking federal employees and those in management what morale levels were like in their offices and what factors had the greatest impact on office morale.

2,880 people responded and the results over overwhelmingly clear: their personal morale was low and their perceived level of morale in their offices was even lower.

Employees ranked the top morale killers as pay freezes, ineffective leadership, and bashing of federal employees by member of Congress and the public.

Managers cited the same three, but ranked them differently: ineffective leadership topped the list followed by pay freezes and then fed bashing.

One federal manager even said that work was no longer enjoyable due to low office morale.

“Now I keep wondering if I will be furloughed tomorrow or be able to meet my house payment,” he wrote. “For some reason, the public seems to think all feds get paid like the ones in D.C. Some of us make from $26,000 to $60,000 a year. This is going in reverse with the increase in insurance, taxes and whatever Congress thinks we owe the world.”

The numbers tell the story

The survey offered a scale from 1 to 10 for employees to grade their morale level, with 10 being extremely high and 1 being extremely low. Of those who responded, 47.8 percent said their own morale was at a 3 or below. Using the same scale, 46.1 percent said the overall morale level of their colleagues in the federal workforce was 3 or below.

Federal agency managers rated their morale and that of the overall workforce slightly higher than their employees did. On the same 1 to 10 scale, 41.4 percent of federal managers said their own morale was at a 3 or below. In addition, 45.3 percent of managers said the overall morale level of the federal workforce was 3 or below.


How is morale in your office? Does this survey reflect what you see every day or would you rate it higher or even lower?

1 Comment

  • Posted March 10, 2013 mike 5:41 pm

    Certain people at my workplace find it very easy to offer up thanks for serving in our military, yet almost in the same breath they sY about a hiring phase, “we’ll be hiring, BUT we’re forced to the veterans first.” These types of issues are commonplace and our respectful veterans frequently excuse themselves politely, while feeling incredibly disrespected. it makes for a discriminative and hostile workplace, nd no veteran asks for this kind of treatment when they enter the federal (non-DOD) workforce. Our veterans come this new environment with so much to offer, and they deserve more for their sacrifices, especially from federal workforce leadership. A ethnic minority employee would never be treated this way, and many of them have not even served in our military like our veterans.

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