Taxpayers benefit most when job satisfaction among federal employees is high, according to a recent study conducted by a team of 14 researchers. The team identified specific strategies policymakers can implement in order to improve agency efficiency and effectiveness and increase the return on tax dollars.
“Employee performance often moves in lockstep with job satisfaction,” said research team member Jone Pearce, Dean’s Professor, organization and management, at the Merage School. “It’s up to policymakers and managers within federal agencies to take the lead driving job satisfaction to maximize the value delivered to taxpayers.”
Selected interventions and policy recommendations include: 1) Develop rapid response teams with 100-day project mandates, 2) Train managers to actively solicit employee input and reduce the fear of reprisal for disagreement, and 3) Reverse the “continued decline in cooperation” by examining union-management partnership experiments.
“The common denominator of all our recommendations is that they involve some type of change, and research indicates the need for a systematic process that builds motivation and the chance to improve the workplace and its products in positive ways,” said Pearce.
A summary of the findings, which are the result an intensive analysis of the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey involving more than 80 federal agencies, was recently published online in the journal Behavioral Science and Policy.
Researchers have offered to collaborate with federal agencies to design and implement interventions as well as to conduct research with the synergistic goals of improving employee wellbeing, employee productivity, agency performance, and agency innovation. So far, there are no takers.
“These interventions will lead to win-win results for employees and taxpayers,” Pearce concluded.