Federal employee job satisfaction under Trump, under Biden

Federal employee unions have criticized the Trump administration for its executive orders aimed at improving accountability and integrity within the federal workforce.

The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal labor union, said the Trump administration’s policies would “paralyze”, “purge” and “dismantle” the federal workforce.

But as is often the case, the views of trade union elites often do not align with those of the grassroots they are supposed to serve.

According to the Office of Management and Budget’s annual federal employee views survey, overall federal employee satisfaction has increased under the administration of then President Donald Trump and has already fallen under the administration of President Joe Biden. .

Overall employee satisfaction increased by 8 percentage points between 2016 and 2020. In the first year of Biden’s administration alone, from 2020 to 2021, overall federal employee satisfaction plummeted by 5.3 points.

This overall satisfaction score is an average of three questions asked to employees who asked them: “All things considered, how satisfied are you …” with your job, your salary, and your organization?

Some of the biggest improvements under Trump and the subsequent decline under Biden have been in the areas that unions use to justify their existence. For instance:

These survey results might seem surprising and counterintuitive as the federal workforce is highly democratic. (The Hill reported that 95% of federal employee contributions to presidential candidates in 2016 went to Hillary Clinton. (This is based on Federal Election Commission records of contributions of $ 200 or more.)

But the reality is that responsibility and integrity are good for all workers, regardless of their political leanings.

The Trump administration’s federal workforce executive orders prioritized performance over mandate, provided flexibility for managers to discipline and remove federal employees, established an inter-agency working group to improve employment relationships, prohibited federal employee lobbying at taxpayer expenses and limited the amount of time federal government employees could spend working for their unions instead of doing the work they are paid for.

The alarming claims of the American Federation of Government Employees argued that those changes would deprive federal workers of their rights, silence the voices of federal employees, and “do nothing to help federal workers do their jobs better.” But the exact opposite is true, as evidenced by changes in federal employee ratings.

Noteworthy is the fact that federal employees consistently report the lowest satisfaction with responsibility for poor results. In 2016, only 29% of federal employees said steps were taken to deal with a shoddy actor who can’t or doesn’t want to improve. While this has improved along with actions to improve accountability, current responses show that nearly 60 percent of federal employees believe there is little or no accountability for poor performance.

This is almost certainly the consequence of an excessively cumbersome and lengthy process required to fire a federal employee (or even to issue an “underperforming” review). Instead of spending a year or more and countless hours trying to impose responsibility on bad performers, most federal managers simply give up and the taxpayers, along with that individual’s colleagues, have to bear the brunt of their indolence.

This would never have been tolerated in the private sector.

Representative Chip Roy, R-Texas, recently introduced the Public Service Reform Act aimed at improving accountability. Despite important safeguards, such as whistleblower discrimination and retaliation cases, the Public Service Reform Act would make it easier for agencies to address misconduct and remove underperforming and recalcitrant employees, so agencies can better perform their duties. their missions.

Greater responsibility helps create environments where employees feel valued and can thrive.

This in turn translates into better and more effective governance for all Americans.

At the end of the day, a federal government that operates more efficiently and with greater accountability is better for both federal employees and federal taxpayers.

Many of Trump’s executive orders were pushing the federal government towards greater efficiency and accountability. Bills like the Public Service Reform Act would advance these benefits by putting better policies into practice.

But Biden’s nullification of Trump’s measures puts the elite of federal employee unions above the workers they serve and the taxpayers who are forced to finance them. This is hurting federal employee morale and costing taxpayers.

The Heritage Foundation’s plan for reorganization includes dozens of recommendations on how policymakers could reverse course and build on the Trump administration’s start towards a more efficient and effective federal government, including how it could create a more efficient and competitive civilian service. .

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