DHS Employee Survey Shows Higher Satisfaction at FEMA

DHS Employee Survey Shows Higher Satisfaction at FEMA
By Daniel Fowler, CQ Staff
Those who work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency are slightly more satisfied with their jobs than employees in the Homeland Security Department overall, a new department survey says.

According to the 2007 Employee Survey, 61 percent of the 1,273 FEMA employees who completed the survey reported overall satisfaction with their jobs, compared with 58 percent of 65,753 employees across the department who completed it.

FEMA also ranked ahead of DHS overall in the three other main indices. FEMA employees viewed leadership slightly higher than DHS employees overall (49 percent to 48 percent); were more likely to believe the DHS culture promotes improvements (50 percent to 44 percent); and DHS has the talent to accomplish organizational goals (51 percent to 49 percent).

“While the survey results are encouraging in some areas, they show we still have work to do to ensure that FEMA is creating a positive work environment, investing in its people, improving its processes and communications and continuing to build the nation’s pre-eminent emergency management and preparedness agency,” FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison said in a statement Friday.

In addition to an overall report, the department also released more specific results for 13 components/agencies including FEMA.

“The survey is not the end point in the process — it’s the beginning,” DHS spokesman Larry Orluskie said. “You don’t just do a survey and you’re done. The next thing to do is to create action plans on how to make things better.”

Compared with the Office of Personnel Management’s 2006 Federal Human Capital Survey, DHS showed improvement to the extent employees hold leadership in high regard (up from 46 percent) and in the extent employees think DHS culture promotes improvements (up from 42 percent). DHS remained constant in the extent employees think the department has the talent to accomplish organizational goals and in job satisfaction.

But the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents employees in each of DHS’s 22 agencies, wasn’t impressed.

“As the union which represents employees at the agency, including employees at [the Transportation Security Administration], it comes as no surprise that morale remains low at the Department of Homeland Security,” said union President John Gage.

“DHS must take steps to improve conditions for its employees across the board. That includes increased funding for staff and resources and granting full bargaining rights to TSA employees.”

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