Where is the 2020 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey?

In a letter to OPM's acting director, Rep. Gerry Connolly presses for answers on why the annual federal employee survey is missing in action.

Are you wondering why you haven’t received the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey yet this year? If so, you’re not the only one concerned.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., believes the Office of Personnel Management has engaged in an “apparent mishandling” of the 2020 survey, he wrote in a letter Wednesday to acting OPM Director Michael Rigas.

The annual survey, administered first in 2002, measures the perceptions of the federal workforce on its experience, satisfaction and engagement in working with agencies and organizations. OPM then provides the data to federal agencies to inform and build upon their existing personnel management strategies. That data is also used by the Partnership for Public Service to develop its annual Best Places to Work in the Federal Government list, which tracks things like the federal government’s struggle to create a culture of innovation.

Typically, the FEVS is sent to federal employees around mid-year. For instance, last year’s went out in mid-May. But in 2020, the survey has yet to be sent out, now delayed twice by Rigas and OPM — and without reasonable notice or evidence for doing so in the most recent case, according to Connolly.


“For a second time this year, OPM has abruptly postponed the administration of the FEVS, providing conflicting and contradictory reasoning for the need to do so,” wrote Connolly,  chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations. “It is concerning that OPM would, without reasonable warning or justification, delay the FEVS for a second time. Views of federal employees should never be ignored, especially during a time of crisis.”

When OPM first delayed the survey in March during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Connolly’s subcommittee supported that decision, noting “the delay would improve the federal government’s ability to understand how the pandemic was affecting employee engagement,” he said in his letter. Instead, OPM would commence the survey on July 13, it told the Government Operations Subcommittee.

But then, “on July 9, 2020, one business day before the survey was scheduled to be released into the field, you sent a memorandum as Acting Director of OPM and ex officio Acting Chair of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council (CHCOC) indicating that the survey would be postponed, again, until September 14, 2020,” Connolly writes to Rigas. “But this time, you did not provide reasonable notice or evidence-based justification for the delay.”

Connolly has requested Rigas and OPM to deliver any “documents, emails, and other information” on why the latest delay occurred. The chairman also asked the officials to brief the subcommittee on what they’re doing to ensure the FEVS will launch Sept. 14.

It is law that the federal government must conduct an annual survey on employee satisfaction and perceptions on agency performance, Connolly explains. “It is concerning that OPM would, without reasonable warning or justification, delay the FEVS a second time. Views of federal employees should never be ignored, especially during a time of crisis, a sentiment OPM officials agreed with at their May 6 briefing with Subcommittee staff.”

Billy Mitchell

Written by Billy Mitchell

Billy Mitchell is Vice President of Community and Content and Editor in Chief of FedScoop and DefenseScoop. He leads an award-winning team of reporters in providing breaking news and analysis on the ways technology is transforming the operations and services of the federal government and U.S. military. Prior to joining Scoop News Group in early 2014, Mitchell embedded himself in Washington, D.C.'s tech startup scene for a year as a tech reporter at InTheCapital, now known as DC Inno. After earning his degree at Virginia Tech and winning the school's Excellence in Print Journalism award, Mitchell received his master's degree from New York University in magazine writing while interning at publications like Rolling Stone.

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