Statement by Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero
Press Release · Thursday, September 2, 2010

Washington, DC

On the rankings of Federal Agencies in the Employee Viewpoint Survey

This week the Partnership for Public Service released its “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” rankings. The rankings are based on the results of the 2010 Employee Viewpoint (FedView) Survey, which was administered to Federal employees by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management earlier this year. While our results were poor – the National Archives was tied for the lowest ranking large agency in the Federal government -- there are several positive signs that the National Archives is moving in the right direction. Most importantly, after a concerted campaign by the agency, 82% of Archives employees participated in the survey---the highest response rate in the entire government and 20 percentage points higher than the response rate at the National Archives in 2008. This indicates that employees do care about the agency and believe that their opinion counts.

In my first public speech to staff nine months ago, I made a commitment to improve employee morale. I take job satisfaction very seriously and I want NARA to be the greatest place to work. Throughout my nine months as Archivist, I have been on a listening tour, visiting 21 Archives facilities around the country to meet staff and to talk to them about their work and ways that we can make the National Archives a better place to work.

In June I appointed a team from across the agency to draw up a blueprint for change that will transform the way we are organized to do business in an effort to make us more efficient and effective both internally and externally. The team’s first draft was made available to staff this week. Throughout the process I have asked staff for input and will again be looking for comments on this draft.

This week I sent all Archives employees a follow-up survey asking for suggestions on ways that we can improve our work environment, including communication, leadership, diversity and training and development. Within the first day, we had received 342 responses. I see this as a very encouraging sign because it demonstrates to me the investment that employees have in the institution and the knowledge that I am listening and committed to improving morale.

At the end of June, I established an Employee Viewpoint Survey Task Force to monitor and suggest ways to implement the ideas and suggestions that are coming in as a result of the survey.

The National Archives has 3200 employees in 44 sites across the country, with varying work conditions and functions and ranging in size from 6 employees in Anchorage, AK and 16 in Grand Rapids, MI to 850 in St Louis and over 1,400 in the Washington, DC metro area. The state of employee satisfaction is not uniform across this diverse population; in many places we score substantially above the government-wide average, and in others we score below. I want all of our employees, regardless of where in the agency they work, to feel valued and have pride in this agency. We are on the path to change. We won’t fully achieve it this month or even this year, but I am determined that we will become an agency that is seen by its employees as a great place to work.

David S. Ferriero
Archivist of the United States

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