Online extra | DHS needs to win over some employees

In OPM survey, leadership, IT and workplace fairness seen lacking

Homeland Security Department
employees as a whole hold relatively low opinions of their department's
performance in several respects, according to an Office of Personnel Management

In key areas covered by the OPM
survey, employees' attitudes were more negative that those of workers at other
federal agencies, according to the Government Accountability Office, which
conducted the survey for OPM. The survey, conducted in 2004 and released last
year, covered all DHS employees and was not limited to IT workers.

These survey results reflect the
answers of 10,475 DHS employees who responded to the survey, and are compared
with the answers across 16 large civilian agencies, including DHS.

Specific survey questions and
employee responses included:


Have a high level of respect for the
department's senior leaders:

DHS: 39%

Average of 16 other large agencies: 50%

Rate the performance of their
supervisors as fair to very poor job:

DHS: 44%

Other agencies: 35%

Said the department's senior
leaders do not maintain high standards of honesty and integrity:

DHS: 22%

Other agencies: 14%

Said DHS leaders do not generate
high levels of motivation and commitment:

DHS: 51%

Other agencies: 35%


Reported that they had access to
electronic learning and training materials from their desk:

DHS: 51%

Other agencies: 71%

Said that they used technology, such
as an intranet or shared networks, to do their jobs:

DHS: 69%

Other agencies: 86%

Said they and their fellow workers
use IT to gather and share knowledge:

DHS: 76%

Other agencies: 81%


Said DHS is an average, below average or
one of the worst employers:

DHS: 62%

Other agencies: 44%

Said the department had prepared its
employees properly for potential security threats:

DHS: 60%

Other agencies: 72%

Said they knew how their work
related to their agency's goals and priorities:

DHS: 78%

Other agencies: 83%

Said they believed they could
disclose any suspected violation of a law, rule or regulation without fear of

DHS: 40%

Other agencies: 48%

Said the department's workforce
has the job-relevant skills and knowledge to carry out the organization's

DHS: 64%

Other agencies: 73%

Said arbitrary action, favoritism
and partisan political coercion are not tolerated at DHS:

DHS: 33%

Other agencies: 47%

Said they believe that promotions in
their work unit are not based on merit:

DHS: 52%

Other agencies: 36%

Said that, in their work unit, no
steps were taken to deal with employees who performed poorly and could not or
would not improve:

DHS: 50%

Other agencies: 41%

Said that high-performing employees
in their agency were promptly recognized:

DHS: 17%

Other agencies: 43%

The survey results appeared as part
of the Federal Human Capital Survey that the Government Accountability Office
conducted on behalf of OPM. The margin of error of the results was plus or minus
one percent at a standard 95 percent confidence level.

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