ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. – With less than two weeks left, the Department of the Army, along with the U.S. Army Sustainment Command, highly encourages Civilian personnel to take an annual online survey to gauge the workforce’s views on various topics to help leadership implement better policy.
It’s called the Office of Personnel Management Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, better known as FEVS. This year’s theme is, “Empowering employees. Inspiring change.”
There are some new important changes this year to broaden the participation, which measures employees’ perception of senior leadership, immediate supervisors, and work experience.
This year, 100% of all eligible employees will be allowed to take the 2022 survey. Last year, 25% of the eligible population was sampled and was only sent to Army.mil email addresses.
Eligible employees include those who started working at ASC before November 2021, non-appropriated fund employees, and Title 10 instructors. Additionally, this year foreign nationals are now eligible to participate.
Those who cannot take the survey are political appointees, contractors, term/temporary employees, and employees who started working here after November 2021.
The survey is important because the results provide valuable insight for ASC leaders into the strengths and challenges within the workplace to ensure the command has an engaged Civilian workforce.
Melissa Peterson, human resources specialist, G-1 (Human Resources), ASC, provided a slide looking at the financial cost of a disengaged employee versus an engaged employee.
Measuring an engaged employee can take on several forms. One of the best tools to gauge this is participation in the survey itself. Positive responses indicate an engaged employee, while negative responses indicate a disengaged one. Other ways include helping co-workers, going above and beyond one’s normal duties, and being an active participant in meetings.
“A disengaged employee is someone who does not enjoy their work and will usually do the bare minimum of what’s required of them,” said Shelonda Broyles, a human resources specialist with the G-1. “They tend to be checked out mentally, and will not participate in extra projects, team building, etc.”
The president of the U.S. has set a civilian workforce engagement goal of 67%. At ASC, it was 66.8%, based on the latest figures from the 2020 Employee Engagement Index.
While ASC only missed the goal by 0.2%, that is still an unacceptable cost in that figure.
For example, at the end of calendar year 2021, ASC had 4,671 Civilian employees, of which the payroll costs were $563.1 million. When 33.2% of the workforce is disengaged, that equates to $186.9 million of wasted expense.
Using the $186.9 million figure, and with a Civilian strength of 4,671, that equates to $39,256 that ASC loses per year/per employee. Based on 26 pay periods, the equates to $1,510 ASC lost per pay period/per employee.
So, what is the difference between the presidential engagement goal of 67% versus ASC’s 66.8% -- $1.1 million per year, which is considered an unacceptable loss of engagement.
Peterson added that the Army continues to push for military personnel to be included, and term/temporary employees, in order to obtain a more comprehensive look at the total workforce.
The survey, which began June 6 and runs through July 22, takes about 25 minutes to complete, giving employees a high-visibility venue to voice their opinions about their workplace environment.
Although the survey is voluntary, employees may use official time to complete it. And, all responses are kept confidential.
Peterson emphasized that a big goal for ASC is to increase the awareness that FEVS does make a difference and it’s a multifaceted tool.
“It lets ASC know how we are doing; it tells AMC [U.S. Army Materiel Command] across their footprint what needs to be changed, and it tells lawmakers what the workforce needs as far as impacting policies for remote work/telework/work life balance/engagement levels/diversity and inclusion concerns, etc.,” she said. “FEVS is the format for the workforce to change how the government does business, impacting policies …if we don’t tell them what we want/don’t want, we can’t change anything.
“On average (2015-2020), 34.3% of the ASC workforce who have chosen to participate in the FEVS survey. So the average 34.3% that participate in the FEVS this year will be helping to make decisions that will impact everyone unless more people choose to let their voice be heard and participate,” Peterson said.
Based on previous recent surveys, ASC has implemented the following incentives to the workforce:
• Increase and encouragement of military spouse employment across the area of operations.
• Increased participation in intern recruitment initiatives/career fairs/BEYA conferences. BEYA stands for Becoming Everything You Are.
• Developed/implement new onboarding program.
• Offering new training programs to support a 21st century workplace/workforce.
• ASC recruitment/marketing strategy.
• Piloting a resume reduction initiative to reduce hire time/onboarding timeframe.
• Final draft of Strategic Human Capital Plan 2023 and beyond.
• Significant increase in community health/safety/wellness/resiliency messaging.
• Monthly deputy commanding general round-table sessions with entire workforce to promote inclusion and open the lines of communication.