OPM Releases 2011 SES Survey Results

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By on May 29, 2012 in Current Events with 9 Comments

The Office of Personnel Management recently released the results of the 2011 Senior Executive Survey. The survey is designed to gather information about the strengths and challenges within the SES from its members.

The survey had a 65% response rate from eligible executives. Some of the highlights include:

  • Pride in SES and Accountability for Results – An overwhelming majority of executives: take pride in being members of the SES (94%); feel a great deal of personal accomplishment (93%); and feel they are held accountable for achieving results (92%).
  • Long Career Tenure and Experience – A majority of the respondents: were appointed to the SES from a Civil Service position (86%); have worked for the Federal Government for more than 20 years (64%); have been an SES member for 1 to 10 years (72%); and will be retiring within 1 to 5 years (57%).
  • Developmental Opportunities – The survey indicates the majority of executives feel their developmental needs are met (70%) and take advantage of developmental opportunities (77%). Significantly more executives in 2011 are engaging in a variety of developmental activities compared to 2008, including a 360-type assessment (a 15% increase), developmental advice from a mentor (a 9% increase) and formal executive coaching (a 12% increase).
  • Continued Challenges in Dealing with Poor Performers – Respondents indicated they feel agencies struggle to deal effectively with poor performing executives (only 28% feel their agency deals effectively with executives who perform poorly).
  • Mixed Review of Pay for Performance – While most executives believe SES pay should be based on performance (92%), a much smaller percentage of executives believe pay for performance promotes better organizational performance (43%).
  • Decline in Satisfaction with Pay and Recognition – The percentage of positive responses to questions regarding executive pay, awards, and recognition were significantly lower in 2011 than in 2008, which is unsurprising given the Federal pay freeze.

Some of the less favorable responses were among the following:

  • Less than 40% felt pay and benefits are helpful in recruiting and retaining high quality SES members
  • Only 29% felt pay distinctions are meaningfully different among executives
  • Only 28% feel their agency deals effectively with poor performers
  • 43% believe SES pay for performance promotes better organizational performance

The survey results also covered mobility among Senior Executives and include a breakdown of the agencies with the highest response rates and breakdown of responses to each question across individual agencies.

Some of the agencies with the highest response rates to the survey were OPM, Transportation, Education, Treasury, and GSA. Among the lowest were OMB, Army, and Navy.

You can view or download the full survey results document below.

2011 OPM SES Survey Results

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.