Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify the status of the pilots.
Three federal agencies are in the planning stages of piloting a tool from the Ken Blanchard Cos. that aims to shed light on what could be causing disengagement among workers, a company official said.
It’s a critical question during a time when the federal workforce has been fraught with challenges, including sequestration, shutdowns and pay freezes.
The tool, called the Employee Work Passion Assessment, aims to measure employee disengagement and dissatisfaction using responses to an online survey. Federal workers answer questions linked to a dozen factors — from whether they’re doing meaningful work to whether they’re receiving recognition for their efforts — that connect to employees’ willingness to perform at a high level or remain at the agency.
Using that data, Blanchard experts can show specific areas where managers can take action when there are problems.
“What EWPA allows leaders to do is see — almost at an MRI level — the actual cause of those ills so we can take a look, almost at a granular effect,” at which groups are creating the ideal environment to work in, said Paul Wilson, the company’s vice president of federal solutions.
Wilson would not disclose where the tool is getting deployed.
The federal government has been working to bolster efforts to support its workforce. Indeed, Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta in a recent blog post emphasized the need to cultivate the federal workforce of today and tomorrow. Also, in a bid to increase employee engagement, the same agency announced a new tool this summer that would allow leaders to dig into survey data and other human resource tools to glean information about their workers.
Blanchard’s tool purports to help agencies more effectively develop its leadership, improve the workplace culture and cut back turnover. A release from Blanchard estimates the federal government loses 19,000 work years annually, based on the company’s data that disaffected employees take three more sick days than do satisfied ones.
News of Blanchard’s tool comes as federal officials are slated to release the results of the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey next month. Wilson said to expect a downward trend.
“This is the first assessment being taken since the shutdown,” he said. “From my discussions that I’ve had — many on a daily basis — with the senior executives in the agencies, the morale, the engagement piece has gotten so tough … that they’re really asking for something more on that front-end side.”