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A House committee wants to know how a small agency improved morale

Members of a House committee want to know how an agency known for having a problematic work environment significantly improved its employee satisfaction in the latest viewpoint survey.

The Chemical Safety Board, for several years, has had job satisfaction levels far below other agencies of the same size, and in 2015, CSB Board Member Manuel Ehrlich acknowledged at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing that the agency had morale issues that needed to be addressed.

However, in the 2017 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, the agency — which has fewer than 100 employees — had the greatest increase in global satisfaction scores among other small agencies.

“In light of the committee's prior investigation of the problematic work environment at the CSB and to promote a productive federal workforce, the committee seeks to learn more about the CSB's efforts to improve employee satisfaction,” two committee members wrote in a letter to Vanessa Allen Sutherland, chair of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

The members asked Sutherland to supply the committee with all documents related to FEVS dating back to 2016, communications and activities by any workplace improvement committee and other documents related to employee survey results and findings.

In related news, Sutherland announced last week that she will be resigning from the board next month.

“I am saddened to leave the wonderful mission and incredible work of the CSB,” she said in a statement, adding, “…I am absolutely certain that this team, and future hires, will both excel in execution and outshine our prior efforts. I’m fortunate to have been a part of the work.”

Reader comments

Fri, Aug 3, 2018

They changed the FEVS rating system and this agency just happened to show how badly it was broken to make it look better for agencies...

Wed, Jul 25, 2018

Federal Soup | Your Federal Career & Benefits Explained FEND Almanac Benefits Guides Newsletters Forum Blogs Online Education Pay Benefits Employee Policy TSP Financial Planning Retirement News Jobs Login Subscribe A House committee wants to know how a small agency improved morale survey. I would suggest that these supposedly smart people begin with reducing the number of inept self-serving gender biased individuals because they pull down large salaries and do nothing more than take bogus travel, do little work and are absent from the office ( and they do not take annual leave). They are some of the worlds greatest backstabbers one can find.

Tue, Jul 24, 2018 Serge CA

I agree with one of the responders that even if we input negative responses to the questions, especially about management, nothing happens. Our morale is still low and if management gets results of how people responded to the survey, we get treated worse. So, all indications is that management is the cause of low morale.

Tue, Jul 24, 2018 mm

One factor they might want to look at is leadership changes in the past 2 years. One bad hi-level manager can wreak havoc on morale.

Tue, Jul 24, 2018

Most of these workplace surveys, especially by recognized experts like Gallup, are incredibly accurate. The reason most are useless is a tendency of leadership in the low rated organization to recognize that they have met the enemy and he is them. They spend months trying to "understand the meaning of the data/results from the survey" when they are intuitively obvious to even the casual observer. Leadership is the problem.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
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